Parecer is a common verb that has as its basic meaning "to seem" or "to seem like." It can also be used in a variety of ways to express opinions or make judgments. It is an etymological cousin of the English word "appear," which can be used in a similar way, as in the phrase "it appears that."
In its most straightforward usage, parecer is used as a way of describing what something is like:
- Un gobierno de unidad nacional parece difícil de lograrse. A national unity government seems difficult to accomplish.
- Lo que parece ser la verdad para nosotros no necesariamente parecerá ser la verdad para otros. What seems to be the truth for us will not necessarily seem to be the truth for others.
- Tengo una chupa que parece de cuero y es de plastiquete. I have a jacket that is like leather and is made of plastic material.
- El agua tibia parece caliente si tocamos primero el agua fría. Lukewarm water seems hot if we feel cold water first.
- Usted no parece saber mucho del trastorno. You don't seem to know much about the disorder.
It is very common to use parecer as an impersonal verb followed by que. The verb that follows is typically in the indicative mood, although the subjunctive mood follows no parecer. The indicative mood is used with parecer in its positive form because it is used to indicate how something is perceived, not to express doubt as "seem" often does in English. An exception would be in a sentence such as "Parece mentira que hayan pasado 15 años" (It seems impossible that 15 years have gone by), because there doubt and/or an emotional reaction is expressed.
- Parece que este enlace está roto. It looks like this link is broken.
- No parece que vaya a llover. It doesn't look like it's going to rain.
- De momento parece que no se sabe nada del lanzamiento del producto en Europa. For now it appears that nothing is known about the product's launch in Europe.
- Parecía que nada podía mejorarse. It seemed like nothing could get better.
- Katrina no parece que tenga frío. Katrina doesn't seem like she's cold.
It is very common for parecer to be accompanied by an indirect-object pronoun to indicate how a particular person (or persons) perceives something to be. This can be one way of conveying opinions, and in many such cases there are better ways of translating parecer other than "seem."
- Me parece que el presidente es un fraude. I think the president is a fraud.
- Me parece que algo no está bien. I feel that something isn't right.
- ¿Te parezco triste? Do I look sad to you?
- ¿Por qué el metal nos parece frío y la lana caliente? Why does metal feel cold to us and wool warm?
- Le parece que está aumentando la actividad sísmica. He thinks that seismic activity is increasing.
- ¿Qué os parece el nuevo iPhone? What do you think of the new iPhone?
- No nos parece que éste sea el momento oportuno. We don't think this is the opportune time.
- Me parecía que no era importante. I didn't think it was important.
In the reflexive form, parecerse can be used to indicate that two or more persons or things are alike in some way:
- Algunas veces nos parecemos a nuestros padres. Sometimes we're like our parents.
- Según los últimos estudios, los animales se parecen a las personas mucho más de lo que imaginamos. According to the latest studies, animals are much more like people than we imagine.
As a noun, parecer usually means "opinion": Es el mejor restaurante a mi parecer en Madrid. In my opinion it's the best restaurant in Madrid.
Keep in mind that parecer is irregularly conjugated, following the pattern of conocer.