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    • Join Date: Feb 2009
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    #1

    look like or seem

    when use look like or seem?what's the difference?

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      • Canada
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    • Join Date: Jan 2009
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    #2

    Re: look like or seem

    1. to look like <someone or something>. A noun or pronoun (why?). Mary looks like Joanne.
    2. to seem <adjective>. Mary seems happy. The situation seems desperate.

    3. It seems that <clause>. It seems that he has run away.
    4. It looks as though/as if <clause> It looks as though he has painted himself red.

    In addition to the slight differences in grammatical context, as above, you should probably say "looks like" for a physical appearance, and "seems" for a state of mind or for any abstract circumstances. See my examples. But that is not an unbreakable rule; in (3) and (4) "look" and "seem" are basically identical. To say "seem" is a little more formal.

    Instead of "seem", you can say "appear" in all these examples, with the same connecting words. "Appear" is even more formal.

    PS. For (2): "to seem [to be] <noun>" is also possible. He seems to be a good man. He seems a good man. For (1) and (2) the distinction between the physical and abstract is quite strong, I think.
    Last edited by abaka; 02-Feb-2009 at 20:21. Reason: added postscript.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: look like or seem

    ...There's also a colloquial use of 'looks like' to make a prediction:

    It looks like rain. [=It looks as though it's going to rain]
    It looks like there are hard times ahead for small businesses. ... etc.

    Don't use this in an exam. It's quite informal.

    b

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