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Saturday, May 30, 2009

to me it seems?

An anonymous commenter left this on my recent post hierarchy of english adjectives:

Is either of these more correct.
It seems to me.....
To me it seems.....

Short answer:
"it seems to me..." is more correct, if you're talking about the name of this blog. Otherwise they are both OK.

Long answer:

I'm not an expert on the English language, any more than I am on anything else I post here. Don't take my word as the final word.

The standard form of the phrase is "it seems to me...." In English, most sentences follow the SVO(Subject-Verb-Object) pattern. The subject here is "it", whatever "it" is. The verb is "seems", meaning this is the way it appears, even if it really isn't so. The prepositional phrase "to me" is an indirect object, the person who is affected by the seeming. The sentence usually concludes with a dependent clause that begins with the word "that" and explains what "it" is.

The phrase "to me it seems..." is an example of inversion of word order for emphasis. In the standard sentence order, "seems" appears before "me", therefore the emphasis is on the seeming, that is, the uncertainty of what follows. Inverting the word order puts the focus on "me", emphasizing the personal nature of what follows.

That's how I understand it. Fellow language nerds, what do you say?

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