Which of the two expressions is correct? Is there any difference

  • 1
    The latter is a fully correct and acceptable form, and the one I would chose to use. Unnecessary is adjectival or a complement of to be. The former case, which tries to say the same thing, fails because it calls for the adverbial use i.e. unnecessarily. One might argue that the former is simply the latter, with the 'to be' elided, but I find it dissonant.
    – WS2
    Jan 5, 2015 at 11:15
  • ... I agree. But it's the usual analytical quagmire. I find 'The day has turned out fine' preferable to the alternative, and 'The day might turn out fine' less weather-orientated than 'The day might turn out to be fine'. Jan 5, 2015 at 11:25
  • So it is acceptable to use the former in everyday conversation, but in formal occasions, the latter is the way to go?
    – J. K.
    Jan 5, 2015 at 11:30
  • No, the first one is definitely odd. I think because one of the conditions on to be-deletion with turn out is that it should refer to a perceptual category of some sort -- It turned out cool today describes the day, but Going in person turned out unnecessary this morning doesn't describe anything experienced; rather it's an ex post facto conclusion, and that's enough odd to require the full marker. Jan 5, 2015 at 14:48
  • @JohnLawler Yes, the first is odd, and I'd have written it off. But nonetheless Jan 6, 2015 at 1:51

1 Answer 1


This might turn out unnecessary.

This might turn out to be unnecessary.

They're both perfectly fine and grammatical. Some people may argue that the first example is a bit informal. However, here are lots of examples of turn out unnecessary from Googlebooks.

This usage directly mirrors turned out fine and other such common and clearly idiomatic examples. I tend to think the more technical the adjective concerned, the less likely we are to use the first structure. Though, this is just my personal opinion. The theory is somewhat supported, however, by the fact that there are a much greater number of examples of turn out to be unnecessary than turn out unnecessary. Conversely turn out fine is much more common than turn out to be fine.

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