I want to learn how easy the verb APPEAR lends itself to the usage of itself with a participle. For example,

His speech appeared worrying.

What you wrote at first appeared worrying—but it probably must not be.

The above ones are OK, I think. Would these work?

Marvel appeared reading the book.

Lucy appeared going somewhere.

Sahar appeared going home.

  • 1
    In the last three sentences it should be "appeared to be" Oct 1, 2021 at 15:02
  • I know that they should be that way, the question is why?
    – user1425
    Oct 1, 2021 at 16:09
  • yes there is grammatical explanation for that. I will try to explain it later in an answer. In the meantime let me find out if I have any old answer for this. Oct 1, 2021 at 16:28
  • Here you go: ell.stackexchange.com/a/87989/3463 Oct 1, 2021 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


Appear, like seem, look, sound, feel, can be followed by an adjectival complement, but not an -ing clause.

They can sometimes be followed by a noun phrase, but only in certain cases, eg look a mess, seem a nice man, but not look a melon or seem a car.

If you ask why these restrictions apply, I'm afraid that the whole of the answer is "Because that's how Modern English is".

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