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Imagine a 12 years old boy who facially e.g. looks 18 years old. Which one of the following sentences sounds more natural in English:

  • He seems older than his age.
  • He appears older than his age.
  • He appears to be older than his age.
  • He looks older than his age.
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    I would think seems can apply to behavior and maturity, not just looks, so I think looks and appears are the more fitting verbs for the situation you describe. – J.R. Oct 17 '16 at 15:14
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He looks older than his age.
He appears older than his age.

describes your situation with certainty by the observer

He appears to be older than his age.

describes your situation with possibly some uncertainty or reservations

He seems older than his age.

describes more his actions and behavior than just visually how he looks.

  • Thank you very much, Peter. Your response has been really helpful so far, but to make it a bit more clear for me, could you possibly let me know what did you exactly mean by: "describes your situation with possibly some uncertainty or reservations"? It is a bit ambiguous for me. :) – A-friend Oct 22 '16 at 15:01
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    "It would appear to be..." has the meaning of "it looks like from the outside", the uncertainty comes from knowing how something looks is not necessarily how something is. There are several sayings which get used: "do not to judge a book by it's cover", "looks can be deceiving" or "all that glitters is not gold". – Peter Oct 22 '16 at 19:46
  • But it was exactly what I used to think about the verb "seem"! Then how can I differentiate these two from one another? Could you please help me with this one too and then make your posts an answer? :) – A-friend Oct 23 '16 at 6:50

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