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  1. #1
    LiuJing is offline Member
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    Default I saw the car began to swerve.

    I was taught to say: I saw the car begin (or beginning) to swerve .

    However, is 'I saw the car began to swerve' also correct English, if someone argues 'saw' is followed by an object clause?

  2. #2
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Default Re: I saw the car began to swerve.

    The "began" is that sentence is incorrect. It could be the result of a typing mistake or an error in grammar.

    EDIT: Thanks Bob!
    Last edited by Barb_D; 25-Jan-2011 at 18:43.
    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.

  3. #3
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: I saw the car began to swerve.

    No you're not, Barb.

    b

  4. #4
    balakrishnanijk is offline Member
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    Default Re: I saw the car began to swerve.

    What about 'I saw him cross the road' and 'I saw him crossing the road'? You could also say:
    I saw that he crossed the road.
    If a 'that construction' is possible with 'see', the second sentence should also be considered correct. It makes perfect sense.

  5. #5
    LiuJing is offline Member
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    Default Re: I saw the car began to swerve.

    Quote Originally Posted by balakrishnanijk View Post
    What about 'I saw him cross the road' and 'I saw him crossing the road'? You could also say:
    I saw that he crossed the road.
    If a 'that construction' is possible with 'see', the second sentence should also be considered correct. It makes perfect sense.
    No. I don't think native speakers approve the sentence structure saw + that clause.

    That said, however, I did hear people say: I don't see that will happen.


  6. #6
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: I saw the car began to swerve.

    Quote Originally Posted by balakrishnanijk View Post
    What about 'I saw him cross the road' and 'I saw him crossing the road'? You could also say:
    I saw that he crossed the road.
    If a 'that construction' is possible with 'see', It is the second sentence should also be considered correct. It makes perfect sense.
    Whose second sentence? There's no 'that' in LiuJing's. I saw him began to swerve is just wrong.

    'I saw that he began to swerve' is grammatically correct, but most unlikely in reality. 'I saw that he was beginning to swerve' would be more likely, although most swerves last only a split second (so that once you begin to swerve you swerve!), so it would sound better with a different verb: 'I saw that he was beginning to deviate', for example. 'I saw that he had begun to swerve' is also possible, but unlikely for the same reason - the impermanence of swerving!

    b

  7. #7
    LiuJing is offline Member
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    Default Re: I saw the car began to swerve.

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Whose second sentence? There's no 'that' in LiuJing's. I saw him began to swerve is just wrong.

    'I saw that he began to swerve' is grammatically correct, but most unlikely in reality. 'I saw that he was beginning to swerve' would be more likely, although most swerves last only a split second (so that once you begin to swerve you swerve!), so it would sound better with a different verb: 'I saw that he was beginning to deviate', for example. 'I saw that he had begun to swerve' is also possible, but unlikely for the same reason - the impermanence of swerving!

    b
    Can we omit 'that' to make it like: I saw he (his car) was beginning to swerve?

  8. #8
    BobK's Avatar
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    Default Re: I saw the car began to swerve.

    Quote Originally Posted by LiuJing View Post
    No. I don't think native speakers approve the sentence structure saw + that clause.

    That said, however, I did hear people say: I don't see that will happen.
    As I said in my last post, saw + that clause. is fine.

    But even if it wasn't, your example wouldn't disprove it, as the 'that' is a pronoun and not a conjunction. You might also hear 'I don't see that that will happen.' There, the first 'that' is a conjunction, and it's almost always pronounced with a /ə/ sound. The exception would be when there is contrastive stress, as in: 'I didn't say that [pronounced /­Št/] that would never happen, I just said I doubted whether it would' - not very likely, as you'd be more likely to hear 'I didn't say it definitely wouldn't happen' or something of the kind. But it shows what I mean by 'contrastive stress'.

    b

    PS In answer to your last, yes you could. 'I saw he was beginning to swerve' is fine.
    Last edited by BobK; 25-Jan-2011 at 15:57. Reason: Added PS

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