General Question

lessonenglish's avatar

Which is a correct sentence from these two sentences?

Asked by lessonenglish (278points) June 29th, 2010

You seem busy.


You seem to be busy.

Is the meaning of these sentences same? What they indicate?
generally a noun is followed after “to be”. but, in this sentence busy is adjective.According to me both sentences are correct.

If not just tell me the meaning of both.

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31 Answers

jfos's avatar

I’m just guessing here… but maybe adjectives can follow “seem” without “to be.”
—seem tired
—seems gentle

Nullo's avatar

They mean the same thing, though I can’t tell you which is the more correct. In my book, throwing in “to be” adds more uncertainty to your statement—which can be useful if you’re not sure how your recipient will react.

lessonenglish's avatar

@jfos:but,busy is an adjective.

jfos's avatar

Busy is an adjective…

It can also be a verb, but not the way you’re using it.

gailcalled's avatar


lessonenglish's avatar

@jfos :sorry i edited my answer

the100thmonkey's avatar

Both sentences are grammatically correct – “seem” is a copular verb – one which is followed by an adjective rather than an object.

“Seem to be” is therefore unnecessary.

gailcalled's avatar

@jfos: “Busy” can never be a verb, unless I am missing something.

I busy, you busy, we busy?

jfos's avatar


During her flight to Seattle, Gail busied herself with a crossword puzzle.

Edited for better format.

josie's avatar

You seem to be busy is correct. “You seem busy” would be understood by anybody familiar with the language, but to say you seem busy is grammatically meaningless.

gailcalled's avatar

@jfos: Ah, just not in the present tense. Interesting. I will be busying myself with remembering this new concept.

jfos's avatar


Would it be present tense if you said… “On Fridays, I busy myself with schoolwork,”?

Gotta love reflexive verbs…

lessonenglish's avatar

@josie :but generally people say, He seems busy now instead of saying he seems to be busy now.

gailcalled's avatar

@jfos: It is that tense they call “ongoing..” Your example implies that all my Fridays are designated for homework.

The things we take for granted in our own language…..

@lessonenglish: It’s a toss-up. Correct both ways.

lessonenglish's avatar

@jfos @gailcalled : what is the meaning of this sentence then?

The functionality seems to be woking fine.

here working is present continuous of work.

gailcalled's avatar

@lessonenglish: Oh, dear. Neither one makes any sense, I am sorry to say.

Do you mean, “The iPhone is functioning well”? “Functuality” is not a word.

Second sentence is too garbled for me to make a guess. Sorry. (What’s your first language?)

lessonenglish's avatar

@gailcalled :you can consider Iphone instead of functionality. There is only one sentence dear.

gailcalled's avatar

@lessonenglish: You are a dear, also, but I am still not clear about what you mean. So sorry.

lynfromnm's avatar

I thought “busy” was an adverb, not an adjective. It modifies “seem”, a verb. If you say “you are a busy person”, it’s an adjective.

jfos's avatar

In the sentence you mentioned, “busy” modifies “you.”

“Busily” is an adverb.

cazzie's avatar

‘Busy’ (and it’s forms) is a great word. It can be an adjective, an adverb, and a verb…..

The line was busy.

She kept herself occupied with busy-work.

He busied himself by cleaning the garage.

The flowered wallpaper pattern looked too busy.

That woman is such a busy-body.

It’s a great word.

To answer the question…...
EITHER sentence is grammatically correct.

zenele's avatar

@gailcalled Present Simple for Busy, too: Everyday I busy myself with crossword puzzles and sudoku. Sometimes she busies herself with knitting.

(And from Past Simple: In summer, he busied himself keeping the lawn in order.

Edit: Cazzie and I were busily writing at the same time. :-)

ratboy's avatar

Either would seem to work.

gailcalled's avatar

@zenele: “Every day I busy myself with crossword puzzles”...ongoing

Today I busy myself with verb tenses”..simple present tense.

@Cazzie: Why am I chosen to be the bearer of bad tidings? (and its forms). It’s still means it is.

Jeruba's avatar

Both sentences are correct. There is no significant difference between them with respect to meaning.

the100thmonkey's avatar

@lessonenglish: Compare:

My iPhone seems fine.

Structure: determiner (My) + noun (iPhone)] ... copula (seems) ] ... adjective (fine)].

My iPhone seems to be working fine.

Structure: determiner (My) + noun (iPhone)] ... Acting verb (seems)] ... infinitive verb (to be)] ... continuous aspect (working)] ... adverb (fine)].

It’s a lot clearer when you have a wider page than the page limit enforced by Fluther. Monospace fonts help a lot too.

Basically, both sentences are grammatically correct, but the second (“My iPhone seems to be working.”) introduces a verb phrase after the copula, which triggers a continuous infinitive (AKA progressive infinitive) that suggests that the iPhone might not always work, or has not worked on recent occasions.

dc10's avatar

Both are gramatically correct, though without the be in the scentence wouldnt make no difference to it at all. In actually fact if anything suggests uncertainty its the word seem in the scentence actually lol

dc10's avatar

lol that was meant to be actual fact but im tired lmao

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