seen to be coming out

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joham

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Joined
Oct 30, 2007
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Chinese
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China
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China
In the following sentences, the second one with 'seen to be coming out' sounds a bit strange. Can we omit the 'to be' without changing the meaning of the sentence?

Then something astonishing happened. One day, early in the morning, thin
columns of white smoke were seen to be coming out of the tops of the tall
chimneys of the factory! People in the town stopped and stared.
(Taken from CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY)
 

bhaisahab

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Apr 12, 2008
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Retired English Teacher
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British English
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England
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Ireland
In the following sentences, the second one with 'seen to be coming out' sounds a bit strange. Can we omit the 'to be' without changing the meaning of the sentence?

Then something astonishing happened. One day, early in the morning, thin
columns of white smoke were seen to be coming out of the tops of the tall
chimneys of the factory! People in the town stopped and stared.
(Taken from CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY)

It's fine as it is.
 
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