There are two sentences

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

What is the difference between the two sentences?

  • 2
    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
  • 1
    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
  • 2
    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
  • Although they might mean the same thing, I see a potential distinction in the two. The first would appear to be a judgement or opinion of her based on appearance, while the second one can merely mean that she appears stupid, without actually judging or thinking she is. In other words the first one seems to say "I suspect she's stupid based on what I've seen" and the second one means "She comes off as being stupid (but I don't know if she is or isn't)." The first one seems to have a stronger implication in actually believing she is stupid. – Zebrafish Oct 21 '18 at 6:39

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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