Basic English Vocabulary SEEM English seems difficult sometimes. But if you get the right explanations, it's not that hard after all! In this lesson, we'll look at the verb 'seem'. I'll teach you what it means, and how to use it properly. After the lesson, take the quiz:

Hi, again. I'm Adam. Welcome back to Today's lesson is about the verb "seem", okay? And this was requested by Sheila from Indonesia on our Facebook page. If you want to make any requests for lessons, please ask.

Today, we're going to look at the verb "seem". Now, this is a verb that creates a lot of problems for students because it's not an action verb and it's not a "be" verb. It's somewhere in between, okay? Actually, we call this a "state verb", but I'll explain that again after.

So for example, you've heard this sentence, "You seem happy." Or, "you seem upset." What does that mean? Does that mean that you are happy or that you are upset? Maybe. I don't actually know. This is just what I think. Or, "He seems to be a pilot." It means, "I think he's a pilot, but I don't know." So basically, "seems" means something looks like something or it feels like something but it's not necessarily true. It's probably true because that's the image or the impression that we have, but we don't know for sure if this is what that is or the situation is true. Okay? So it's something that you think but you're not sure about. It's more like an opinion or even a guess. Okay? So that's the hardest part about "seem" because it's not saying something is or isn't. It's something maybe.

What's the difference between "you seem happy" and "you are happy"? "You are happy" means -- this is a declarative. This is true. This is the case. This is the situation. "Happy" describes "you". "You seem happy" means you're smiling, but maybe you're very sad and you're just hiding it. Or maybe you're very, very -- you seem very calm, but you're really upset, right? So "seem" -- all that "seem" means is the appearance, nothing else. It's not true. It's not untrue. Okay? We're going to look at a couple more examples, and you'll have a better idea of what I'm talking about.

Okay. So let's look at something else now. Remember I said that "seem" is a state verb. What does that mean? It means you can never use it with an -ing. You can never say, "He is seeming nice" or, "She is seeming to be" -- something else. Right? So it's never used as an-ing. That's one thing.

If you want to talk about a particular quality of somebody -- like, you want to talk about something specific. Not about the person, maybe about what the person does. So, "She seems to be good at her job." In this case, you must add the "to be". Before, we wanted to use a noun after "seem", so we used "to be". Now, we are using an adjective, but you still have to use "to be" because I'm not describing "her". I'm describing a quality of "her". Okay. So that's the main thing.

Now, I said you can never use "seem" with-ing. But here, you're looking at this word and going, "What's going on? There's an-ing." But there's also an-ly. This is an adverb, adverb that is telling you something about the adjective. So let's look at these three sentences.

"He is nice." If I said, "He is nice", is he nice? Yes. This is just stating a fact. It's a declarative sentence. If I say, "He seems nice", is he nice? Maybe, but probably. Okay? But this one is a little bit tricky. If I say, "He seems nice", he's probably nice. If I say, "He is seemingly nice", what does that mean? It's a little bit tricky. It means he is acting nice, but he's not really nice. Tricky, isn't it? "Seemingly nice" means he's putting on this impression, but there's a reason he's putting it on. He's not really nice. He's just pretending to be nice.

So you have three different sentences, and "seems" and "seemingly" -- completely different meanings, completely different idea behind them. Okay? So it's a little bit tricky.

"He seems nice." "He seems to be good at his job." "He is seemingly nice." Three different ways of using the verb "seem". Remember; we use it like an action verb, "he seems", "she seems", but never with-ing. Okay? So like an action verb for the "S"s, but it's like a "be" verb because there's no action. It's just a situation. Okay.

Again, if you want to get more examples, go to I have a quiz there that will hopefully help you. And if you have any questions, write them in the comments. See you next time.