In the song イドラサーカス sung by 鏡音{かがみね}リン, there is the line, 「青{あお}い空{そら}が汚{よご}れて見{み}えますか?」I translated it using て as the present continuous. "Can you see the blue sky becoming dirty?" Is my translation right and, if so, why would you say 見{み}えます? Wouldn't you conjugate 見{み}ます using ます form?


The verb you are seeing is 見える, which means either "to be visible" or "to seem/appear/look". te-form + 見える usually means the latter, "to appear to (have) ~" or "to appear as if ~".

  • 彼が若返って見える。
    He looks as if he has gotten younger.
  • まるで時間が止まって見える。
    It appears as if the time stopped.
  • 青い空が汚れて見えますか?
    Does the blue sky appear to be dirty (to you)?

You're confusing 見る (to see) with 見える (able to see / to be seen). Similarly there is 聞く (to hear) and 聞こえる (to be able to hear / to be heard).

I have a hard time describing the differences, but luckily there is another answer here.

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