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I've been coming across this weird verb conjugation that seems to happen in some verbs, where you replace る with える, e.g. 見る → 見える。

Is this a different verb form, how does it change the meaning of the verb?

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見る and 見える are separate verbs in the present Japanese language.

You know, 見る is to look at.

見える has a couple of meanings; they also apply to other verbs like 聞こえる, 思える, etc.

  1. possibility.

    ここから東京スカイツリーが見える。

    We can see the Tokyo Sky Tree here.

  2. occurring unintentionally.

    ちょっと見えただけなんだ。君のスカートの中を見ようとしたわけじゃないよ。

    It merely jumped into my sight; I was never trying to see what's in your skirt.

  3. to seem.

    彼はこの時間をとても楽しんでいるように見える。

    He seems to be having a really good time.

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