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    #1

    He saw the plane crash into the sea when its engines failed.

    Hello,
    I am not an English teacher. I study English at a university and I sometimes help out friends with their problems with English.
    Recently I have come across this sentence in a test:

    He saw the plane crash into the sea when its engines failed.

    The objective was to fill in "crash". I know by heart that this is the right answer, but when my friend asks me why this particular form is correct and how she can apply the grammar in the future, I am unable to explain.

    Now, for my hypothesis (forgive me for any mistakes, as I will surely make some):
    The word "plane" is an object here and the word "crash" in its infinite (infinitive?) form is a way to avoid an additional subordinate clause, which would probably look like "plane, which crashed into the sea..." Is this phenomenon called something? How can I explain it to my friend?

    I have done some thinking and realised that this phenomenon seems to be occuring only with sentences where the main verb in the main clause is a verb of "perception" (to see, to feel, to hear), plus to make. I cannot find the cause, unfortunately.

    I will be thankful for any help in the matter.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: He saw the plane crash into the sea when its engines failed.

    No, it's not a short cut for "He saw the plane, which crashed into the sea." or "He saw the plane which crashed into the sea."
    In both of the above cases, he might have seen the plane at a different time from when it crashed into the sea.
    The point is that he was looking at the plane as it crashed into the sea. "He saw it crash/crashing into the sea."
    Someone else can give the details of the grammar.

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    #3

    Re: He saw the plane crash into the sea when its engines failed.

    Yes, of course, he saw the act of crashing. Now I realise that the subordinate clause I described is rubbish :) Thank you

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    #4

    Re: He saw the plane crash into the sea when its engines failed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jigster View Post
    Now I realise that the subordinate clause I described is rubbish. :)
    Please do not use :) as a punctuation mark. If you want to insert a smiley, use the icon.

    • Member Info
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    #5

    Re: He saw the plane crash into the sea when its engines failed.

    Sorry about that.

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