I want to know the difference between the following sentences:

  1. He seemed to be angry.
  2. He seemed angry.

I heard that when I use "to be" in the text like in above sentence, "to be" means "subjective". When without "to be" means objective.

When somebody says "She seemed to be beautiful", It means she is beautiful to someone." When somebody says "She seemed beautiful?, It means that everybody thinks she is beautiful. Is that right?

  • In the first construction, to be seems superfluous, but not wrong. I don't see the distinction. In the second example, seemed beautiful is a strange construct. What did the speaker think? If he is describing the reaction of others, he needs to indicate "to whom". Still, the to be seems unnecessary. – bib Jan 29 '13 at 3:42
  • possible duplicate of I think him to be about 50 or I think he is about 50? – FumbleFingers Jan 29 '13 at 17:33

Both can be correct, but the second seems to show more of a continuous state. "He seemed to be angry" doesn't sound like he is regularly angry but "He seemed angry" could mean that his anger has lasted for a while. For instance, "he seemed to be nice" could describe that he was nice on a particular occasion. "He seemed nice" could mean he was nice on a particular occasion but it could also mean that whoever is saying it thinks that the person could be generally nice.


There is no difference at all. "to be" in "He seemed to be angry" does not achieve much, so it is mostly shortened. But some people are very quick at interpreting differences.

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