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Important notice

Good news! We have updated our writing tools. Writing Tips and The Canadian Style have been combined to create a new tool called Writing Tips Plus.

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To begin your search, go to the alphabetical index below and click on the first letter of the word you are searching for.

appear, seem

When they express an internal condition or a state of being, appear and seem can be used interchangeably in many situations.

  • As a couple, they appear (or seem) to bring out the best in each other.
  • Lucien appeared (or seemed) upset by the reporters’ questions.
  • Cory appears to be young but seems to be intelligent (or seems young but appears intelligent).

However, when the verb show up or arrive can be substituted, use appear.

  • The bomb squad appeared (showed up) moments after the 911 call.
  • When the coach didn’t appear for practice, the team wondered what had happened.