- For Teachers
"I saw girls wearing stockings."
Does this sentence have two possible meanings?
1) I saw girls who was wearing stockings.
2) I saw that girls were wearing stockings.
I am sorry about the lame example and I know that we should consider context first and we can figure out right meanings usually but I would like to know if it is possible that the sentence can be used for different meanings. Thank you as usual and have a good day.
Thank you and is it possible to understand "I saw them(girls) wearing stockings"?
What sort of context do you have in mind?
Things can be made to mean all sorts of things.
I saw girls who were barefoot and girls wearing stockings.
A: What did people wear there?
B: I didn't really notice.
A: Did they get dressed up much?
B: Hmmm. I did see girls wearing stockings, so I guess maybe.
We don't plop down next ot someone and say a sentence and run away. Sentences take their meaning from context. It's the same with your question about people working on the streets.
A: Will these damn roads ever get better?
B: I think so - I saw people working on the streets just last night.
A: What is the city like?
B: Busy all the time!
A: Even at night?
B: Yes! I saw people dancing at night. I saw people eating at night. I even saw people working on the streets last night.
Last edited by Rover_KE; 12-Oct-2012 at 15:20.
I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.
I think I understand what you mean.
Your interpretations could be as follows:
I saw girls [wearing stockings].
Those words in the brackets (the participle clause) function as a postmodifier, which describes the noun 'girls'.
So, it could be rewritten as "I saw girls [with stockings on/who were (in the process of) wearing stockings/who had stockings on].
I saw girls wearing stockings.
The so-called 'see (or other verbs of perception) + object + -ing form' construction is used here.
So, it could be rewritten as something like "I saw (some) girls, and they were in the process/middle of wearing stockings."
It is an interesting but difficult question, the answer to which I don't know.