Learn English – What are the differences between “seems not” and “doesn’t seem”


Are the following sentences correct?

He seems not to want to help us


He seems want to help us.

Is it correct if I use "seem" in a negative sentence? Which role does "seem" play?

Is there any difference in meaning between:

  • It seems not working for me.
  • It doesn't seem work for me.
  • It seems not to be working.

Please tell me the differences between the three of them and in which situation I can use them.

Best Answer

I don't think they are correct, close and understandable but not how a native English speaker would say it, I would say

  • "He seems to not want us to help" and
  • "He seems to want us to help"

negative questions are usually confusing so I'm not sure I can help you there.

  • "It seems to not be working for me"
  • "It doesn't seem to work for me" would be the same meaning.
  • "It seems to not be working" would also be the same though applied to 'it' not just you working 'it'.

I think the difference is perhaps when spoken rather than written sometimes people miss/slur ot half say things as there is a lot more context.