"I rode backward and forward, waiting for the the Driffields, and presently saw them come."
In the above sentence, why didn't the writer use "coming" instead of "come"?
"...and presently saw them come". -correct - one -time action [ I simply noticed their arrival]
"...and presently saw them coming". - correct -continuous action [ I saw them coming - I can say more about their arrival: details, which way they came, etc.]
Certain sense verbs take an object followed by a gerund or a bare infinitive. The use of the gerund states or indicates a continuous action while the use of the bare infinitive indicates a one-time action. Your sentence does not need any continuous action verb form because the author says he presently [at once, unexpectedly]saw the Driffields come - they are already here.
Thanks, Teia for patiently explaining to me. By the way, the author (who is a British) had used "presently" in the sense to mean "soon". But would this make any difference?
You are most welcome! We are here to help one another. I might be wrong when I try to explain something but my sixth sense tells me - quite often- that I should, at least, try.
I`ll try to explain it some other way:
He saw them coming = He saw them while they were coming [ continuous action]
He suddenly / immediately saw them come = He saw them when [the exact time when] they came [one-time action]. - he did not see anything else but exactly -the time- when they arrived, no further details , as for example which way they came , etc.
I am not sure if presently makes any difference here in this context; my opinion is that presently means here suddenly or unexpectedly:
I suddenly saw them come = I saw them exactly when they appeared/ came near/arrived, and not before that time. Furthermore, suddenly cannot be used here with a continuous verb tense, because it implies a sudden notice of the situation:
He suddenly/ unexpectedly fell down the stairs.
He suddenly/ unexpectedly burst into tears.
Additionally, suddenly means occurring without transition from the previous form, state, etc.; abrupt: a sudden turn; quickly and without warning; "he suddenly stopped ".
The question is :
Can we use suddenly in :They suddenly made a turn ? Yes, we can. , but can we use suddenly in :
We were suddenly making a turn? No, we can`t. Why? The answer is : because suddenly implies no transition, it means quickly, abruptly, without premeditation,etc.
Conclusion: presently behaves as suddenly does. Don`t you think so? It`s just an opinion. You can contradict me or agree with me. It`s your turn now.