I have doubts on the usage of "seem".

Is "It seems a nice house" valid? Therefore "She seems perfection" gramatically correct?

Usually "seem" is followed by a "to"- It seems to be a nice house, She seems (to be) perfect. But I read "seem perfection" in a book.

1 2
It's true you don't have to use "to be" after "seem".

I would rather say "the house seems nice", and "she seems perfect", but I you can see, I'm not a native, so you'd better wait till a native gives her/his opinion on this.
Thank you very much, pieanne; I too hope someone would give me a firm answer on this one.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
(x) He seems a scholar. (o) He seems to be a scholar.
(o) He seems a great scholar. (o) He seems to be a great scholar.
(o) She seems happy. (o) She seems to be happy. [o happier]
(x) She seems single. (o) She seems to be single. [x more single]
(o) It seems perfection. (?) It seems to be perfection.

I don't know why they are so.

"It seems a nice house" is fine. (Here the speaker has an air of reserving judgement; whereas "The house seems nice" is more positive.)

"She seems perfection" is fine too, but literary.

Could anyone give us any info about when or where we could delete "to be" from <seem to be+ complement word>?

Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
I'm struggling to find a "rule" here, Paco! Cf. these common phrases:

1. That seems to be the case.

2. That seems to be true.

3. That seems likely.

4. That seems like a good idea.

5. That seems a good idea.

6. She seems a nice girl.

7. It seems quite easy.

8. It seems to be someone else's hat.

9. It seems the best thing to do.

All I can say is that "she seems (to be) perfection" would seem unusual in either form!

Hello Mr P

Thank you for the kind reply and I am sorry for bothering you with this problem. I myself thought a bit about it and looked for any hints to solve it in my grammar books, but the efforts ended rather in vain. Although even CGEL didn't mention anything about it, one of my E-J dictionaries says something as follows.

[1] When the complement is a gradable adjective, "to be" can be omitted. But the adjective is un-gradable, we cannot delete "to be". Thus:
(EX-1) The house seems (to be) big. (EX-2) The house seems to be two-storied.
[2] In the case a noun is the complement and when it is modified by a gradable adjective, "to be" is often deleted. But otherwise, noun complements mostly require "to be".
(EX-3) It seems (to be) a big house. (EX-4) It seems to be a two-storied house.
[3] When the case when the noun is an abstract noun implying some gradable quality, "to be" can be omitted exceptionally.
(EX-5) It seems (to be) nonsense. (EX-6) It seems (to be) perfection.
(EX-7) Time's pace is hard that it seems (to be) the length of seven years.
(EX-8) It seems (to be) years to me since I have seen you.
(EX-9) It seems (to be) simplicity itself.

I don't know what literature the dictionary editors found these rules in, but when I checked them googlily, they seems to be in good agreement with actual uses as a whole. But there are some cases where I cannot get why "to be" can be deleted.
(EX-10) As to Hawaii, it seems a foregone conclusion that annexation will be recommended.
(EX-11) It seems merely a waste of men and money to prolong the struggle.

Anyway what I am puzzled at is why the gradability of complements is related to the deletability of "to be". Have you any idea about it?

It puzzles me too.

But I take off my hat to your "googlily".

Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
Show more