Chinese Verbs

How to Say “Seem” in Chinese? 似乎 Sihu, 好像 Haoxiang, 显得 Xiande in Mandarin



Chinese Verbs – Seem | 似乎 Sihu, 好像 Haoxiang and 显得 Xiande in Mandarin

Seem in Chinese is 似乎 Sìhū, 好像 Hǎoxiàng显得 Xiǎndé. The meaning of these three Chinese verbs is so close that you can replace one another in most sentences without worrying much about the correct verb to use. They all refer to uncertainty where one cannot be sure of a situation or a fact.

However, to dissect the meaning of the three Chinese Verbs as Seem in Chinese with varying intensity of truth, they have a connotation of the below:-

似乎 Sìhū: Seem to, Seem like, As if
好像 Hǎoxiàng: Look like, As if
显得 Xiǎndé: Appear to be

Seem in Chinese – 似乎 Sihu

When you use feeling or a sixth sense to express an opinion without concrete evidence, you use 似乎 Sìhū. The statement would then be a guess or an assumption.

Learning Chinese seems to be difficult.学中文似乎很难。
Xué zhōng wén sì hū hěn nán.

This problem seems very difficult to solve.

这个问题似乎很难解决。
Zhè ge wèn tí sì hū hěn nán jiě jué.


I have never been to China. After hearing from you, China seems to be a country which one must visit.

我没去过中国。听你这么一说,中国似乎非去不可。
Wǒ méi qù guò zhōng guó. Tīng nǐ zhè me yī shuō, zhōng guó sì hū fēi qù bù kě.


Yesterday, he talked to me in a rather strange manner. Seemed to hint to me something.

他昨天和我说话的语气有点怪怪的,似乎在暗示我什么。
Tā zuó tiān hé wǒ shuō huà de yǔ qì yǒu diǎn guài guài de, sìhū zài àn shì wǒ shén me.


This person seems to look somewhat not right. (Seemingly something to be suspicious about in many different aspects be it character-wise, health or others, but yet not concrete enough to prove the point – your gut instinct.)

这个人看起来似乎有点不对劲。
Zhè ge rén kàn qǐ lái sì hū yǒu diǎn bù duì jìn.



 

Seem in Chinese – 好像 Haoxiang

好像 Hǎoxiàng is a direct translation of Look Like in Chinese but it can also mean Seem in Mandarin. Therefore, It has two meanings in itself.

1) The first definition refers to a similarity in terms of physical appearance. An example:-

You look like your twin brother.
你看起来好像你的孪生兄弟。
Nǐ kàn qǐlái hǎoxiàng nǐ de luánshēng xiōngdì.

2) The second meaning is “look like“, which is equivalent to “seem like” and “as if” figuratively.

Comparing to 似乎 Sìhū, 好像 Hǎoxiàng shows more confirmatory signs in a situation which derives as “look like” and Seem in Chinese.

Seem very interesting!

好像很好玩!
Hǎo xiàng hěn hǎo wán!


Your face is pale. You look like you are sick. (You seem to be sick.)

你的脸色苍白,好像生病了。
Nǐ de liǎn sè cāng bái, hǎo xiàng shēng bìng le.


His attitude of talking sounded as if he were the boss.

他说话的态度好像以为自己是老板。
Tā shuō huà de tài dù hǎo xiàng yǐ wéi zì jǐ shì lǎo bǎn.


Dark cloud all over the sky. It seems/looks like it is going to rain. Bring an umbrella out.

乌云满天,好像要下雨了。带把伞出门。
Wū yún mǎn tiān, hǎo xiàng yào xià yǔ le. Dài bǎ sǎn chū mén.


She does not seem to have a good mood. You go and ask her what happened.

她好像心情不好。你去问她发生了什么事。
Tā hǎo xiàng xīn qíng bù hǎo. Nǐ qù wèn tā fā shēng le shén me shì.



Seem in Chinese – 显得 Xiande

显得 Xiǎndé is Appear to be in Chinese. The English term suggests that it has a strong hint of what claims to be the truth yet, it may not be necessarily so. Appear to be is also Seem to be in Chinese.

Do not confuse this with Appear in Chinese which means “physical presence” and the opposite word is “Disappear“.

You seem/appear to be better than yesterday. (气色 is complexion. Usually, we use this Chinese verb to describe a person in association with health or level of tiredness.)

你今天的气色显得比昨天好。
Nǐ jīn tiān de qì sè xiǎn dé bǐ zuó tiān hǎo.


Doing more exercise will make a person appears to be relatively younger.

多做运动会使一个人显得比较年轻。
Duō zuò yùn dòng huì shǐ yī gè rén xiǎn dé bǐ jiào nián qīng.


Every time I talk to him, he seems unwilling to reply.

我每次和他说话时,他都显得不愿意回复。
Wǒ měi cì hé tā shuō huà shí, tā dōu xiǎn dé bù yuàn yì huí fù.


Among all the students, she seems/appears to be the smartest.

全部学生当中,她显得最聪明。
Quán bù xué shēng dāng zhōng, tā xiǎn dé zuì cōng míng.


Initially, I felt that learning Chinese seems to be difficult. After learning, it appears to be easy.

起初,我觉得学中文似乎很难。学了之后,它却显得很容易。
Qǐ chū, wǒ jué dé xué zhōng wén sì hū hěn nán. Xué liǎo zhī hòu, tā què xiǎn dé hěn róng yì.

 

The last example above shows that you can concurrently use two Chinese Verbs from Seem in Chinese to form one sentence. Check out more Chinese Verbs to Make You Verbal.

 

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