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    #1

    a question from me

    Dear native experts,

    I felt something crawl up my arm.
    We felt the ground give way under our feet.

    Are the sentences above correct? What does the present tense of the words in bold mean above? does it indicate "a completed state"?

    Thank you very much again.

  1. mayita1usa's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: a question from me

    First of all - yes, these sentences are correct.

    Second - wow, what a great question! And I have no idea what the answer is!...

    My first thought is that the verbs come from the deep structure of the sentences somehow, and the present tense must be related to the use of feel as well, but I can't put it all together at the moment.

    I hope someone else out there can answer this!

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: a question from me

    Quote Originally Posted by panicmonger View Post
    Dear native experts,

    I felt something crawl up my arm.
    We felt the ground give way under our feet.

    Are the sentences above correct? What does the present tense of the words in bold mean above? does it indicate "a completed state"?

    Thank you very much again.
    It's not the present tense; it's the bare infinitive, which is invariant. If it were the present tense, it would be "something crawls; ground gives way"

    I felt something crawl up my arm.
    I feel something crawl up my arm.
    I will have felt something crawl up my arm.
    I used to feel something crawl up my arm.
    etc.

  3. mayita1usa's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: a question from me

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    It's not the present tense; it's the bare infinitive...
    Again, wow - if I ever learned that term in my linguistics classes, it's been long forgotten!
    Under what circumstances is the bare infinitive used? (Is there a 'nutshell' answer to that question??)
    Thanks!

  4. Raymott's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: a question from me

    Quote Originally Posted by mayita1usa View Post
    Again, wow - if I ever learned that term in my linguistics classes, it's been long forgotten!
    Under what circumstances is the bare infinitive used? (Is there a 'nutshell' answer to that question??)
    Thanks!
    I don't have a list of places it's used, but
    - always after a modal verb: "I can do that, I will do that; I may do that" No other form is used after a modal. * I can doing ..., * I can done ... Wrong.
    - With main verbs of sensing, as above 'feel': I saw him run down the road; I heard her sing to her sister; (The present participle can be used here to).
    - After a negative "do"; 'I didn't see her; I don't know that;
    - After positive 'do' in questions: 'Do you know?", Did you see..."
    - other places

  5. Newbie
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    #6

    Smile Re: a question from me

    As you may or may not know already, an infinitive is simply a verb in its un-conjugated form. A bare infinitive is much the same, however it lacks the preposition "to."

    In the case you have mentioned above, the bare infinitive is used because of a previous statement of sensory perception. Felt, smelled, saw, heard, etc. In these sentences, the subject perceives the actions of a direct object. In your case "I felt it crawl up my arm," where it serves as the direct object.

    The use of a bare infinitive in these cases implies the finality of the event perceived.


    In the case of other uses of the bare infinitive, there are only a few cases in which it is used. Unfortunately, I cannot form a complete list myself. I'd suggest a good search on the internet for uses of the bare infinitive.

  6. mayita1usa's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: a question from me

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    - With main verbs of sensing, as above 'feel': I saw him run down the road; I heard her sing to her sister; (The present participle can be used here to).
    "Sensing" verbs is what I was groping for earlier... Thanks!

    As for these...
    - always after a modal verb: "I can do that, I will do that; I may do that" No other form is used after a modal. * I can doing ..., * I can done ... Wrong.
    - After a negative "do"; 'I didn't see her; I don't know that;
    - After positive 'do' in questions: 'Do you know?", Did you see..."
    ... Of course I know the concept, I just wish the grammar book publishers (or linguists) would agree on what to call them! "Bare infinitive" is neat and descriptive - unlike what you find in books that call them "base verbs", "simple infinitives", or just plain "infinitives" (which is quite misleading).

    I could just see my students' heads exploding if I changed my terminology to "bare infinitive" after all this time...

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