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  1. #11
    Pedroski is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Gerund or no gerund after verbs of perception

    After a few weeks, they began to smell the body decomposing under the floorboards.
    'decomposing' here is a Postpositive adjective, not a verb.
    The decomposing body under the floorboards, that's what they smelt! POO!

    ?The body decompose under the floorboards. No!
    The body decomposes under the floorboards. It decomposes, not it decompose!

    Decompose is the present tense of, well, decompose. Can't be an adjective.

  2. #12
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Gerund or no gerund after verbs of perception

    Quote Originally Posted by Filip View Post
    Hello there,
    I was wondering wether you have to use a gerund after verbs such as
    'see', 'hear', 'watch', 'notice' etc...

    So which ones would be the better prhases:

    "I saw him run into that house"
    vs
    "I saw him running into that house"

    "Did you hear him talk about last night?"
    vs
    "Did you hear him talking about last night?"

    "Suzan watched her mother make breakfast"
    vs
    "Suzan watched her mother making breakfast"

    When I checked the internet, I found that it seems to be correct to use
    both these forms, but I would like to make entirely sure.

    Thanks in advance for your responses
    FYI: None of these -ing forms are gerunds: they are all participles!

    The construction is [[V(perception)+[D.O.+participial postmodifier]].

  3. #13
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Default Re: Gerund or no gerund after verbs of perception

    People confuse these gramatical terms because they are partly uniform.
    When it comes to an -ing form, before I decide between them, I ask myself the question: What function do they serve?

    Gerunds act as nouns and occupies nominal territories in a sentence.
    Participles, on the other hand modify nouns, and are therefore adjectival in nature.

    We also use the term participle to refer to lexeme:
    The past participle of "work" is "worked", and the present participle form is "working". Besides, we often identify V-ing forms as gerunds. It is not surprising therefore that we often mix them up.

  4. #14
    philo2009 is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Gerund or no gerund after verbs of perception

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    People confuse these gramatical terms because they are partly uniform... It is not surprising therefore that we often mix them up.
    No, I suppose not. People get confused by all sorts of things. Don't know about you but I find economics utterly baffling! But when it comes to grammar, I find that - as dreadfully immodest as this will sound - I have a clarity of view that is rarely matched.

    I therefore, in general, have little but contempt for those linguisticians (e.g. Pullum et al.) who, finding the effort of applying a few elementary analytical procedures apparently too much trouble, choose to give up ever attempting to distinguish the gerund from its participial homomorph, and instead elect to term both "gerund-participles".

    Come to think of it, adverbs and adjectives can be suspiciously similar, can't they (all that 'walk quicker' versus 'walk more quickly' stuff): why not stop bothering to distinguish them and lump them both into the wonderful new category of 'adverbjetives'? And, while we're at it, prepositions and conjunctions are hardly worth the trouble of telling apart: why don't we just stick 'em all together in one class; we could call it 'prepojunctions' *- wow, another load of silly grammatical quibbling that we'll no longer have to bother with! Pretty soon, grammarians will have nothing left to do but sit around writing Pythonesque treatises such as the 'Cambridge Grammar of the English Language'!!

    No, I think we had better avoid that particular slippery slope and maintain the time-honoured, and syntactically very real, distinction between gerunds and participles for as long as we actually wish to be able to continue writing and speaking the English language correctly!

    (*Incredible as it may seem, Pullum and his cronies have actually taken the first tentative steps toward doing this!!)

  5. #15
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Gerund or no gerund after verbs of perception

    OMG! Did I perpetrate that solecism? Of course it's a participle rather than a gerund. When I insist on distinguishing between them I'm regarded as a stuffy Classicist (because of -ans/-andum etc), and I'm afraid I occasionally succumb to the pressure of students who have been brought up with the one-size-fits-all term '-ing form'. Many apologies!

    b

  6. #16
    Filip is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Gerund or no gerund after verbs of perception

    Allright, so there have been some misunderstandings about what we can
    call a gerund and what we call a participle (and I might have heard some other things I've never heard of before too) and and this has taken this thread to a whole new and advanced academic level.

    Therefore, I think I will ask a more gerund related question that has recently been boggling my mind. I experienced a lot of trouble trying to work out the correct construction in the following example:

    "He admitted having been drinking behind the wheel"
    a) is this a correct construction?
    b) if so, is 'having' in this example a gerund?
    c) if not, how can I change it so that it means the same as:
    "He admitted that he has been drinking behind the wheel"

    There, I think this should put our little thread back on track.

    Thanks in advance for your answers

  7. #17
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Gerund or no gerund after verbs of perception

    a - Fine in Br English, though I believe it may be different for Am Eng....(?)
    b - yes
    c - no need, but your sentence isn't right. It should be either of these:
    "He admits that he has been drinking behind the wheel" (pres./pres. perfect)
    "He admitted that he had been drinking behind the wheel" (past/past perfect)
    (The second of these matches the sentence with the gerund.)

    b

  8. #18
    Filip is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Gerund or no gerund after verbs of perception

    Thank you, BobK.
    if I ever go to America, I'll use the variant with 'that' to be on
    the safe side. But I would like to know why it should be:
    "He admits that he has been drinking behind the wheel"
    or
    "He admitted that he had been drinking behind the wheel"
    and not
    "He admitted that he has been drinking behind the wheel"
    Is it a bit like the rule with reported speech, where you always have
    to use a form that is more past?

  9. #19
    BobK's Avatar
    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: Gerund or no gerund after verbs of perception

    Exactly. If you think about the word 'admitted' it is reported speech.

    b

  10. #20
    Filip is offline Junior Member
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    Default Re: Gerund or no gerund after verbs of perception

    I thought as much Thanks again, BobK.

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