Are they both right? What are the similarities and differences? Also, what's this phenomenon called?
I exemplify with design as the noun, but please feel free to cite better examples.

Source: p 116, History of England from the Fall of Wolsey ..., Volume 8, By James Anthony Froude

The Queen of England if trusted as a friend may and will do what she will never contract or bargain to do or submit to be pressed to do. It is a tickle matter to provoke sove-reigns to determine their succession.
' Wherefore, good my Lords,' Cecil concluded, ' think hereof, and let not this your negotiation which is full of terms of friendship be converted into a bargain or pur-chase ; so as while in the outward face it appears a design to conciliate these two Queens and countries by a per-petual amity, in the unwrapping thereof there be not found any other intention but to compass at my Sove-reign's hands a kingdom and a crown, which if sought for may be sooner lost than gotten, and not being craved may be as soon offered as reason can require. (1564)

Source: p 29, A Letter from a Gentleman in Scotland to His Friend in England, ..., By Charles Leslie

Or would the Govern-ment of each Part of Great Britain he the more weak[e]ned, by giving an equal Capacity to all the QUEENS Subjects to Act for her Service, when Necessity shall require ? Otherwise it appears as a design to raise the Power of England, and to enlarge the Interest of it to our Disadvantage, by denying us the Privilege, which Reaon and Justice give us an equal Right to. (1708)

  • Please remove the extraneous hyphens from your quotes. This practice, particularly when repeated, can lead to "consistently low quality questions over time." If you are going to ask about lengthy passages, at least take the time to clean up the quotes before you post them. Also, there should be no blank space before a question mark.
    – J.R.
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 9:10
  • 2
    I do not see anything amiss here. As serves its usual function of "in the form of/ as if it were, " which is needed in the second case but not the first.
    – Kris
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 10:31
  • 3
    Appear still takes this kind of complementation today, but it's quite rare. It would be considerably more common to insert to be between appear and its NP complement. See Biber et al 1999 p.446.
    – user230
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


Both are right, but neither is very common today, at least in the U.S. The more common construction would be "appears to be [NOUN]." If you wanted to avoid the "to be" and make a construction a little more like this one that would still sound natural today, something like "seems a design" would work, though you could not say "seems as a design."

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