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    #1

    seems like

    Is the following sentence correct?

    He seems like a mean person.

    I hear this construction sometimes but it sounds incorrect to me.

    I'd really like to hear your opinions about it.

  1. Tullia's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: seems like

    It is correct.

    We tend to use it when we don't want to commit ourselves to saying something about someone, because we don't want to say something that might be wrong.

    "He seems like a nice person, based on what I know of him so far."
    "He seems mean, when you look at how he treated George."

    We don't want to say "He is a nice person" because that's a very concrete statement, and we might be wrong - or because we just don't know for sure that he is yet.

    We use it a lot for being negative about people too; I think that might be because we don't want to insult someone unless we absolutely have to. It seems nicer to say someone just "seems like" a mean person.

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    #3

    Re: seems like

    So it's just as correct as to say "he seems a mean person" or "he seems to be a mean person" or "he seems mean"?

  2. Tullia's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: seems like

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    So it's just as correct as to say "he seems a mean person" or "he seems to be a mean person" or "he seems mean"?

    Yes, it's OK to use a construction like "like" or "as if" after seem, or after the verb look - but oddly enough, we don't use it after appear, yet they are all partial synonyms (although not perfect ones).


    There's a good basic explanation here:

    BBC World Service | Learning English | Learn it

  3. philadelphia's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: seems like

    Quote Originally Posted by birdeen's call View Post
    Is the following sentence correct?

    He seems like a mean person.

    I hear this construction sometimes but it sounds incorrect to me.

    I'd really like to hear your opinions about it.
    *Not a teacher

    "Seem/look/sound/be/feel/etc like" is perfectly correct and very common in spoken English in particular; you could bump into it when you chat on the Internet as well. And as Tullia said earlier, like, as a comparative, is also used not to directly say to someone that s/he is a mean person. Like attenuated the meaning in your phrase for instance.
    Last edited by philadelphia; 24-Aug-2010 at 14:45.

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