The examples in the title and the following ones are expressed from the dictionaries:

  • imagine someone/something to be/do something

    1. She imagines herself to be very charming.
    2. I had imagined her to be older than that.
  • imagine (someone + adjective/noun)

    1. I can imagine him really angry find someone/something + adjective/noun
    2. We found the beds very comfortable.
  • find someone/something to be/do something

    1. They found him to be charming. Hold somebody/something + adj
    2. They hold me responsible.
  • Often followed by to + verb

    1. We hold these truths to be self-evident…

Are the followings right grammatically?
1) She imagines herself very charming. (without “to be”)
2) I had imagined her older than that. (without “to be”)
3) I can imagine him to be really angry. (with “to be”)
4) We found the beds to be very comfortable. (with “to be”)
5) They found him charming. (without “to be”)
6) They hold me to be responsible. (with “to be”)
7) We hold these truths self-evident… (without “to be”)

If they are right, what is the difference in meaning. nuance or feeling etc. between (with “to be”) and (without “to be”)?

For your reference, my grammar book (“Advanced grammar in use”) explains about “seem”:

Before a noun we include “to be” when the noun tells us what the subjest is, but often leave it out when we give our opinion of the person or thing in the subject. We tend to leave out “to be” in more formal English. Compare: He walked into what seemed to be a cave. (not…. What seemed a cave.) and He seems (to be) a very efficient salesperson.

Is there a relationship between my questions and the explanation from my grammar book?

  • The formatting takes some getting used to. I've helped with re-formatting the first block. Would you mind formatting the rest? It would make it easier to read. Note that if a number followed by a dot, e.g. "1.", gets formatted as part of a list, while a number followed by a round bracket, e.g. "1)", doesn't. – Lawrence Dec 13 '17 at 8:52

The words 'to be' denote assumption or future possibility. Without them, you are stating a fact (or, your own fact).

She appears to be positive today (you're assuming she's positive)


She appears positive today (to you, she is positive)

  • Tamara, could you explain that in a lot more detail, please? As it stands, that looks wholly arbitrary. Are there rules behind it? – Robbie Goodwin Dec 16 '17 at 20:12

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