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Néanmoins, le blockchain semble (être) en passe de devenir l’une des technologies les plus puissantes et les plus adaptées.

This question extends to a similar expression "semble (être) sur le point de X" for instance, but I have seen or heard native speakers around me include "être" almost as often as they drop it.

Which makes me wonder which is more common in speech as well as in writing? I mean, when "sembler" is followed by a prepositional phrase "en/sur/etc ..."?

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I think it strongly depends on whether the speaker consider that the expression includes être. It you consider it's a verbal semi-auxiliary être en passe de, then semble être is correct, if you consider it's an adverbial construction en passe de, then you wouldn't include être because it's entirely redundant with sembler.

Clearly the variation indicates usage is not settled on this issue.

  • Hi. What do you think of: "Tu as l'air d'être sur le point de faire" vs "Tu as l'air sur le point de faire"? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Aug 25 '17 at 19:57
  • It's a little harder to assess it because I don't lean either way on être en passe de, but on sur le point de I lean strongly toward dropping the être, but that seems the less popular usage. It might well depends on how hardline you are about "omit needless words". – Circeus Aug 27 '17 at 3:35

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