An ELU post gives this example to illustrate the usage of "turn out"

His painting turned out beautifully.

which makes me think about this one

His painting turned out to be beautiful.

I guess there might be a tiny difference between 2 of them though I really don't know what it is.

1 Answer 1


Turned out beautifully means that the net effect is very good. The painting may or may not actually be beautiful. Maybe the painting is of something unpleasant, but the effect of the painting is very dramatic or technically well done.

An example of such might be Guernica by Picasso. This is an abstract painting of a bombing attack on the homonymous town in Spain by the NAZIs just before the start of WWII. The painting is exceptionally effective. One might say that this painting "turned out beautifully" even though the subject in the painting is quite emphatically not beautiful.

In contrast "his painting turned out to be beautiful" indicates that the painting depicts something beautiful.

                    Guernica by Picasso

Similarly, "his painting is unpleasant" would mean that looking at the painting is not a good experience. The subject in the painting might be pleasant, or not. The reason the painting is unpleasant might be due to the subject, or it might be due to the technical aspects being poor. So a poorly executed painting of a pleasant subject could be unpleasant. However, a painting of an unpleasant subject might produce an unpleasant experience. Or it might result in a desirable, if emotional, experience. Guernica is again an example. The bombing of a town is horrendous. But people seek out the original of this painting through quite a lot of effort. So it must be, in some sense, a rewarding experience.

Though it is not necessarily the case that people would call looking at this painting pleasant, many people will call it rewarding. There are many religious subjects that would probably qualify under this. A Crucifixion is a horrendous death. But there are many paintings by classic artists that depict such, of Jesus and of saints, and these paintings are sought out for viewing by many people.

There are lots of examples of experiences people would ordinarily call unpleasant, that they seek out in the right circumstances. Falling a distance of 100 meters, for example, would ordinarily be something people make serious effort to avoid. But at the right carnival ride, they might actually enjoy it.

  • Thanks for your explanation. Does "painting is of something unpleasant" mean "painting is unpleasant"
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 5, 2020 at 3:34
  • @WXJ96163 Not necessarily. It's the same idea, just in the other direction. Also, thank you RubioRic, your edit is appreciated.
    – puppetsock
    Mar 5, 2020 at 14:29
  • Would you please explain a bit more about "the other direction"?
    – WXJ96163
    Mar 5, 2020 at 14:36

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