I know that in the following phrase I must add the letter s to the verb seem when used with third person singular like this:

It seems to me...

But then I see such phrases as

make it seem...

and I'm entirely baffled why the word seem is used without the letter s. Isn't seem used with third person singular here?

Note: English is my third language, but I have a good command of it. Still such peculiarities are perplexing.

  • 1
    Possible duplicate of Make it happen?
    – Laurel
    Commented Jun 10, 2019 at 21:50
  • Let him go, let me do it, let's see, etc. — do these bother you as well? Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 21:25
  • The confusion is probably due to the fact that "it" is both a subject and an object. "It seems to me" and "make it seem" are akin to "he seems to me" or "make him seem", respectively. Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 22:02

2 Answers 2


In your example, the verb form of "seem" in "make it seem" is the so-called "bare infinitive" which is required when you use the word "make" with the meaning "to cause someone to do something".

You can read about this use of "make" here (and lots of other places too).

One of the examples given there is "His mother made him clean his room."

Similarly, the phrase "make it seem" would be part of a longer sentence, maybe something like: "The yellowed paper and the mildew stains make it seem like an ancient document, but it's a forgery." In that example, "The yellowed paper and the mildew stains" is the subject of the sentence. "Make" agrees with that subject, and "seem" is a bare infinitive as discussed in the reference above.

  • 1
    It's not confined to "make" and "let". He saw it fly. He heard her sing. She watched it crash. Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 13:53
  • An instructive contrasting example would be that if you cut "and the mildew stains", then "make", but not "seem", needs an -s: "The yellowed paper makes it seem like ..."
    – zwol
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 16:41
  • it can refer to many things. In the OP's example, it can refer to an underlying situation. For example: You make it [undefined] so easy. The it refers to whatever being discussed. The it in your example is therefore a bit confusing.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 18:34

When using the third person, you would add the s to the word make, not seem.

For example:

You make it seem easy, I make it seem easy. She makes it seem easy, too.

  • 3
    I would add that the phrase is fundamentally different. With “it seems” the verb is “seem”. So “seem” gets the s. With “she makes it seem” the verb is “make” which is why make gets the s. You could use “she seems nice” too.
    – Fogmeister
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 5:50
  • Thanks, @Fogmeister... This is exactly the idea I've got after posting the question
    – enet
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 16:53

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