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ESL forum > Grammar and Linguistics > seems to be?    

seems to be?

Jennings Teacher
Korea, South

seems to be?
In the grammar textbook my school is using it says that when using the phrase "seems to be" the "to be" can be taken out. Example: "He seems to be rich." => "He seems rich."
However the book also lists the example: "All they want from us seems to study and go to a good college."
This second example sounds odd to me with out the words "to be".
Is it correct? If it is not correct in the second example, why?

8 May 2009      


woooo.  makes me shudder.  Of course it is wrong and your instincts are correct. 

8 May 2009     


err... wait a moment, thinking...

with the "to" in there you MUST add "to be"
all they want from us seems to be to study...

without the "to" maybe it �s ok:

All they want from us seems study and to go to a good colleage.�

8 May 2009     

Carla Horne
United States

It is really wrong. Which company publishes your textbooks? Just curious.


8 May 2009     


Seems = appears to be something so it can be used on its own. Grammatically I�ve no idea (far to early in the day) but I�d say, �It seems that all they want from us is�����, seems to be better. (Seems a better way of saying it.)

8 May 2009     

United States

Hi there!   First, your instincts are correct.
In the examples you provide, I see three things.
1.  The "to be" can be removed if it precedes an adjective.  For example,  he seems to be rich/He seems rich, or She seems to be tired/She seems tired, or English seems to be confusing/English seems confusing.  (In fact, it doesn �t seem it, it truly is!!)Wacko
2.  When followed by a noun or verb, the "to be" is absolutely, positively necessary.
Yes:  She seems to be crying.   NO:  She seems crying.
Yes:  He seems to be a doctor.   NO:  He seems a doctor.
3.  Finally, in your second example, the only correct way to say it (using seems AND to be) is "All they want from us seems to be to study and to go to a good college."  It means that they want us to study and go to a good college.  The form I provide includes a lot of the word "to,"  (both as part of the infinitive form of the verbs and the preposition form) and it �s wordy and inconvenient, but that �s the only way for it to be (heh heh)grammatically correct.
Hope this helps!  Oh, and I�m worried about this book you�re using giving such bad advice...!
Your American friend,

8 May 2009     

United States

Jennings Teacher  hate to say this but I have found several of the textbooks with major grammatical errors here in Korea.  I am in Busan and they have a region textbook for testing and within 10 minutes of looking over the testing material found several mistakes, some simple other straight out mistakes.   I am always having to rego over the materials before class to check for those mistakes.  Some of the mistakes comes from the translator they use here which also is the same issue going the opposite from English to Korean. 
Some corrections ideas:
It seems to me all they want us to do is study, and go to a good college.
All they want from us seems to study, and to go to a good college.
hornec on the publisher depends on the school, but some are International publishers.  Each school has say so on which textbooks they use even though the each region usually picks 4 or 5 books for that region leaving it to the school with the final decision.  That does make me wonder when looking over the region curriculum on what the students are suppose to know by each grade.

8 May 2009     

United Kingdom

zoemorosini provides a nice explanation that I �d agree with.

roneydirt gives one (almost correct) good example of a way to rewrite it, but the other is not correct:
Correct: It seems to me THAT all they want us to do is (TO) study and (TO) go to a good college.    (I think those additional TOs may be dropped in speech but should be present for grammatical completeness, as zoemorosini says.)
Not correct:
All they want from us seems to study, and to go to a good college.   (This implies something like the following: If they wanted a dog, that dog would study - i.e. not the people doing the wanting.)

8 May 2009     

United States

I agree with evl422 (nice explanantion Zoe!)

9 May 2009     

Jennings Teacher
Korea, South

Thanks, everyone~
Sorry, my thanks comes so late, but I have just now figured out how to find the answers to these messages after they are no longer in the list of new posts. hehe I like to think of my self as technologically challenged rather than computer illiterate.
Especially thanks to zoemorosini...  now I think I can explain it to my students.

1 Aug 2009