I have a question:

He seemed ___ very tired last week.
A.to feel B.to felt C.to have felt D.to be feeling

The answer is D. Will you please tell me the diffenrence between A and D? Thanks.
1 2
Well, of the four choices, B. is automatically out. to-infinitive verbs do not carry tense: "to felt" is made of up a past tense verb 'felt'. The correct form for B. would be "to have felt", which is C. And that's out too, because if you look at the time sequence, "last week", it's specific and the present perfect "have felt" is not compatible with adverbs expessing specific time. So, both B. and C. are out as your question implies. Now, A. is also out because 'seems', a linking verb, links a to-infintive verb, "to feel" with "tired":

A. He seemed to feel tired.

to-infinitive verbs express an event as having not taken place yet, whereas -ing verbs express an event as having already taken place, so if we add -ing to the bare infinitive, we get "to be feeling", which is D.

D. He seemed to be feeling tired.

'to be feeling tired' means, the event took place.
'to feel tired' means, the event hasn't yet taken place.

All the best,

Thanks a lot
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Actually, "last week" is compatible with "seemed", which is not in the present perfect tense, so there must be a different reason why C is wrong.

"He seemed to have been confused last night", for example, is perfectly correct. Isn't it?

I wonder if the verb "feel", a 'private verb', is involved in the explanation of why C is wrong.
Greetings. Your example sentence is fine. Please note, though, that,

"last week" is compatible with simple past verbs, but it's not compatible with present perfect verbs.

EX: *I have seen him last week.

You've made an excellent point regarding the verb "seem". I believe "seem" requires a linking verb as it's object, and not just any linking verb at that, as *"seemed to felt" shows, but some form of the verb BE. (Note, forgive me for changing the pronoun "He" to "You". The ungrammaticality is more obvious that way.)

*You seemed to have felt tired last night. 'felt' is a linking verb, but not a form of BE.

You seemed to have been confused last night. ('been')

You seemed to be feeling tired last night. ('be')
I would (tentatively) parse the problem slightly differently:

1. She read the letter again. He seemed from the words on the page to have felt some grief when his mother died; but who could be sure.

OK. So can we substitute a noun of physical feeling for ‘grief’?

2. She read the letter again. He seemed from the doctor’s account to have felt merely very tired, at first; only later did the chest-pains begin.

Seemingly. Can we now introduce a specific adverbial time-phrase comparable to ‘last week’?

3. He seemed from the doctor’s account to have felt merely very tired, that Tuesday; only in the morning did the chest-pains begin.

(I would say, by the way, that although ‘last week’ wouldn’t be ok with a present perfect verb, it would be ok with a perfect infinitive:

4. He is supposed to have visited his father last week.
5. He ought to have gone last week, but he didn’t.

I think too that ‘seem’ is ok with a non-linking verb:

6. He seemed to like writing extremely long posts on English Forums.)

So if ‘seemed’ + ‘perfect infinitive’ + adverb of time + physical feeling is permissible, there must be something else wrong with C.

Looking again at A and C:

7. He expected to feel very tired last week [but didn’t].
– fine.

8. He seemed to feel very tired last week.
– not comfortable; ‘last week’ implies a lengthy, continuous state of feeling; we want to make the verb continuous (= D). Yet:

9. He seemed to feel very tired at about 6o/c, doctor; then it seemed to pass.
– fine.

So perhaps with A, the problem isn’t grammatical, but semantic.

10. He seemed to have felt very tired last week =
11. Last week, he seemed to have felt very tired.

i.e. last week, we inferred that ‘he’ had, at some point previously, felt ‘very tired’! Does the sentence strike us as not permissible simply because its meaning is so remote? Cf:

12. Last week, he seems to have felt very tired.

This is fine: we’re talking about our past perception of his feeling tired; not our past perception of his having previously felt tired.

So perhaps the problem in both A and C is one of meaning, rather than grammar.

PS: All of which is the long way round to CJ's 'private verb', via Casi's progressive.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
The p's have it.

Could you please also explain: You seem to drive/to be driven too fast. I have to ask you to slow down.
AnonymousYou seem to drive
You are driving the car.
AnonymousYou seem to be driven
Somebody or something is driving you. But you are not a car or anything like it, so this makes no sense.

The car seems to be being driven might be possible, however, but it's too awkward even to think about.

The thread header contrasts 'to do' with 'to be doing', and yet your examples make a different contrast. Maybe you'd like to recast which examples you want to ask about.

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