1) Думаю, люди бывают совершенно разными.

=??? People can be totally different (vary from person to person) sometimes.

{vs}: 2) Думаю, люди могут быть совершенно разными.

{vs}: 3) Думаю, люди могут оказаться совершенно разными (по своим ...).

I assume the 1st sentence with "бывать" means something along the lines of "to each his own", but how does it compare with the 2nd and the 3rd?

As an aside: Do "бывать" and "оказаться" always take the instrumental case, just as "быть" does?

  • #1 is totally generic, #2 implies some pre-selection of people, #3 focuses on contrast between positive pre-selection and divergent outcome.
    – Alexander
    Jul 5, 2018 at 21:07

2 Answers 2

  1. Люди бывают совершенно разными. People are totally different.

  2. Люди могут быть совершенно разными. People can be totally different.

  3. Люди могуг оказаться совершенно разными. People may turn out to be totally different.

The first is a neutral opinion. The second is a supposition. The third shows how unexpected things can be. Yes, the instrumental case is required.


Люди бывают совершенно разные:

There are totally different kinds of people.

Люди бывают совершенно разными:

People can behave totally differrent [in different situations].

Люди могут быть совершенно разными:

People [suitable for that job] can be totally differrent.

Люди могут оказаться совершенно разными:

People may turn out to be incompatible (with each other. [e.g. in a marriage])

or (unexpectedly) not suitable for some task.

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