With verbs like "seem, appear", one sometimes uses an adverb to express how something appears ("she looked well"), at other times an adjective ("he seemed angry"). How did the Romans do it, specifically with the verb videri?

I was trying to say, "it seems good (to me)", in this site's chat, referring to an expression, and I was uncertain whether I should use a neuter adjective agreeing with the indeterminate subject or an adverb.

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    The "bene"/ "bonum" conflict was aired in Q: latin.stackexchange.com/q/4444/1982. The excellent adaption of Cicero's "quod male cecidit" = "what has turned out (fallen) badly" to give, "res bene cadent" = "things will turn out well" (by cnread) favours "bene". My attempt to use "bonum" in "omnia bona erunt" was assassinated by Unbrutal_Russian as "all the goods will be there"/ "all [neuter items] will be of good quality. This is one of my favourite Qs. Hope it helps!
    – tony
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 10:58
  • @tony: Thanks for the link! It is indeed relevant, as it also has esse, another potential copula.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 13:02
  • "Well", as in "she looked well", is an adjective ("she looked healthy"), not an adverb (unless you mean that she had a thorough look for something).
    – fdb
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 13:40
  • @fdb: I think that is a bit of a simplification.
    – Cerberus
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 14:53
  • @fdb: This was the quality of debate enjoyed on the earlier Q.
    – tony
    Commented Apr 22, 2020 at 7:53

2 Answers 2


To express the (apparent) quality of something, only adjectives can be coupled with videri.

A few examples from Cicero, respectively De Officiis and Brutus:

Cum igitur id, quod utile videtur in amicitia, cum eo, quod honestum est, comparatur...
Thus, when what seems useful in friendship is compared with what is virtuous...

[...] **qui eum sententiis, qui suffragiis adeptus est, is mihi et honestus et honoratus videtur.*[...]
I consider honourable and respectable who achieves it [honour] through approval and election.


According to Pock. Ox. Lat. Dict. "videtur" = "it seems good". Therefore, "videtur mihi" = "it seems good to me".

Also, Allen & Grrenough p.375(b): "The dative of the person who sees or thinks is regularly used after videor, seem:-"

"videtur mihi" = "it seems (or seems good) to me";

"videor mihi perspicere ipsius animum" (Fam. IV 13.5) =

"I seem (to myself) to see the soul of the man himself.)

This may not be exactly what you have asked for; but, perhaps, it obviates the "bene"/ "bonum" debate, referred to in Comments.

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    videri means "it seems good" on its own only when used impersonally to introduce incidental propositions with ut or si, and certain infinitive propositions (e.g. they must not contain themselves an impersonal verb). Commented Apr 20, 2020 at 15:28
  • @Vincenzo Oliva: The request was for, among other things, "it seems good (to me)". The A & G example of this did not offer any disqualifications of its use. Why do you think that is?
    – tony
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 11:51
  • Here is a link to that page. You can see that the line videtur mihi is general, not taken from any particular context, unlike the others such as the one with videor you mention. That's why it is translated with the parenthetical "or seems good": which one it is depends on the sentence it is in. Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 13:20
  • @Vincenzo Oliva: How would you say "It seems good to me"? I like your answer. It ends the "bene"/ "bonum" debate. Your counsel would've been welcome on the earlier Q. How are things in Calabria?
    – tony
    Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 15:40
  • 4
    Res hic in Calabria satis bona videtur mihi. Commented Apr 21, 2020 at 18:37

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