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  1. #1
    englishhobby's Avatar
    englishhobby is offline Senior Member
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    Default Mothers like to watch their children eat / eating and play / playing.

    The problem I've come across is whether it's possible to use the infinitive in this sentence? It seems to me that yes, it's possible, but I need an explanation of this use. Normally grammar books (I needn't give a special title, just almost all of them) say that one should use an ing-form in situations like that, when the accent is on the continuity of an action (because mothers enjoy watching the process of eating, playing etc. Or one can't use an infinitive here?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. #2
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Mothers like to watch their children eat / eating and play / playing.

    Eat is OK and suggests the whole process/meal.

  3. #3
    englishhobby's Avatar
    englishhobby is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Mothers like to watch their children eat / eating and play / playing.

    Thank you, Tdol. But I just can't undestand why one should want to suggest the whole process here, I can't think of a context (for the sentence in question) where the whole process would be important, usually mothers just enjoy looking at their children. I just can't feel this difference.

    And if I say "I like to see her dance" will it mean only "I like to see how she dances from beginning to the end"?
    Last edited by englishhobby; 20-Feb-2013 at 15:57.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  4. #4
    Odessa Dawn's Avatar
    Odessa Dawn is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Mothers like to watch their children eat / eating and play / playing.

    ***NOT A TEACHER***

    This might help.

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