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There are two sentences

  1. She appears to be stupid.
  2. She appears stupid.

What is the difference between the two sentences?

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There is no difference. This is an example of the syntactic rule called to be-Deletion. It deletes the infinitive of the auxiliary be when it's part of a subjectless complement clause for a number of verbs. Appear is one. – John Lawler Mar 10 '14 at 2:26
Appear in this sense is followed by the infinitive of a verb however when the infinitive is "to be" it can be dropped, particularly in speech. When writing I'd keep the "to be". – user24964 Mar 10 '14 at 2:26
BTW, this has nothing to do with "the meaning of to be". To be has no meaning, since it's just part of the machinery of grammar. – John Lawler Mar 10 '14 at 2:27
Here is a thread mentioning the different usages of 'be'. I'd agree that the auxiliary and copular usages are purely functional, but the existential usage ("I think, therefore I am") is not semantically bleached. Though the meaning may well be confined largely within the realm of psychology. – Edwin Ashworth Mar 10 '14 at 6:04

Isn't , appears stupid- refers to appearing stupid now, and, appears to be stupid- refers to having the supid nature for ever

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