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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
      • China
      • Current Location:
      • China

    • Join Date: Mar 2008
    • Posts: 189
    #1

    to be seen

    A famous Chinese grammarian says:
    "There is nothing to see." means "Nothing is worthy of seeing.".
    And, "There is nothing to be seen." means "People can see nothing."
    Is that true in today's English?
    And according to his, "I knew it was there, but there was nothing to see.
    " should be "I knew it was there, but there was nothing to be seen.
    ".
    I know both are acceptable. But I wonder which is better.
    Thanks many.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #2

    Re: to be seen

    Quote Originally Posted by norwolf View Post
    A famous Chinese grammarian says:
    "There is nothing to see." means "Nothing is worthy of seeing.".
    And, "There is nothing to be seen." means "People can see nothing."
    Is that true in today's English?
    And according to his, "I knew it was there, but there was nothing to see.
    " should be "I knew it was there, but there was nothing to be seen.
    ".
    I know both are acceptable. But I wonder which is better.
    Thanks many.
    There is nothing to see = There is nothing that is worth looking at
    There is nothing to be seen =
    There is nothing visible

    I knew it was there, but there was nothing to see/to be seen = I knew that something should be/was in a particular place, but it was not visible.

    Both are acceptable and which is better will depend on the fuller context in which the sentence is used.

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