I am a native speaker of German, and I often see the English verb find being used like its German cognate finden. For example:

My students and I find your platform very useful and very appealing visually, as well. — Source

This just feels wrong to me. Shouldn’t it be something like:

My students and I find your platform to be very useful and very appealing visually, as well.

Can you use find like that?

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    You can use find like that. Normally, you'd be correct. But find is a member of a class of "small verbs" (including make, get, come, and go) that allow infinitives without to, just like modal auxiliaries do. They're halfway toward becoming auxiliary verbs, and they're pretty bleached of meaning. Oct 19, 2013 at 14:06
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    And you're more likely to be identified as a native English speaker if you use the first variant you cite (but possibly that would be undesirable?) Though 'My students and I find your platform very useful, and also very appealing visually' is probably even more idiomatic. Oct 19, 2013 at 14:55
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    @JohnLawler Eh? OP cites uses with no verb, not with a bare infinitive. I'm having trouble thinking of find with a bare infinitive rather than an -ing form. Oct 19, 2013 at 16:01
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    @StoneyB: Sorry, wrong piece of comment. I meant to say that small verbs also govern to be-Deletion, and that this does come from the (also grammatical) find X to be Y construction, via B-Raising. But I got distracted and mentioned a different peculiarity that wasn't relevant here. Thanks for pointing it out. Oct 19, 2013 at 16:46
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    @JohnLawler: Can you add this information in an answer? It seems to adequately answer the question.
    – MrHen
    Oct 19, 2013 at 17:39

4 Answers 4


According to the Cambridge Grammar of English (p523) under the heading Complex Transitive Complementation:

Many common verbs may be used with a direct object followed by an adjective phrase acting as an object complement.

The GCE includes the example:

We found the garden slightly disappointing.

This corresponds to the OP's first sentence:

My students and I find your platform very useful ...

which is consequently grammatical.

Among the other verbs listed by the CGE that can be followed by a direct object and object complement are: keep and make. CGE examples:

I must keep dad's (sic) dinner warm.

The whole of mankind makes me angry.

  • @Mari-Lou. I interpreted the OP's question Can you use to find like that? as applying to the first sentence, which he or she finds weird (!) and not to the second one. Maybe this could be clarified.
    – Shoe
    Oct 26, 2013 at 9:59
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    I think I may have misinterpreted the OP's question. So I'll make it my own. Is "find + noun + to be" possible and acceptable?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 26, 2013 at 10:00
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    Off the top of my head I suspect that to be is more likely to be inserted if the direct object is a heavy noun phrase whose head is distant from its object complement. So, I find this usage unobjectionable is unproblematic (and for me preferable to I find this usage to be unobjectionable), whereas I find the way that he always tries to gather peas on the top of his fork when eating out very irritating niggles somewhat. But I really think this deserves a question in its own right.
    – Shoe
    Oct 26, 2013 at 10:50
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    I was mostly interested whether this is correct English and not a 'Germanism'. I much enjoyed all the answers and different interpretations. Thanks!
    – phw
    Oct 26, 2013 at 19:17
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    @phw No. It's not a Germanism. English has both versions and there are also other similar cases in English.
    – Kris
    Oct 28, 2013 at 13:02

If your sentence is just :

I find your platform very useful and very appealing visually, as well.

then we can use "to be",

I find your platform to be very useful and very appealing visually, as well.

But, if you are going to include "My students", then

My students and I find your platform very useful and very appealing visually, as well.

is much appropriate.


I'm unconvinced by Edwin Ashworth's suggestion that the first variant is more likely to have you accepted as a native speaker. I find the first variant to be very awkward although I accept that a sizeable proportion of native speakers (though not the majority, I think) will use it.

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    Edwin Ashworth is correct. I was quite surprised when I looked at Google Ngrams to find the second variant virtually unused. Oct 23, 2013 at 14:47

As a native (British) English speaker, I find the first form far more natural, but I might use the second in very formal writing. (And without even thinking about it, I realise that I used the first form in that sentence!)

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