seems like

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birdeen's call

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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.
 

Tullia

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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.
 

birdeen's call

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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"?
 

Tullia

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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
 

philadelphia

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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.
 
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