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    #1

    he had witnessed his friend steal or stealing

    Can both steal and stealing be used in the sentence? If not, please help me to understand the reason.

    - Elvin is in a dilemma as he had witnessed his friend __________ (steal) a pencil case from the department store.

    Thank you!

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: he had witnessed his friend steal or stealing

    Yes, they could both fit in the blank.

    However, the rest should be either ...

    Elvin is in a dilemma because he witnessed ...
    or
    Elvin was in a dilemma because he had witnessed ...

    Using "is" at the beginning and "had witnessed" next is too much of a backshift.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: he had witnessed his friend steal or stealing

    I don't understand the meaning of "backshift" in the sentence. Please help me to understand. Thanks!

    - Using "is" at the beginning and "had witnessed" next is too much of a backshift.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: he had witnessed his friend steal or stealing

    If you are going to use English tenses correctly, you will need to know about backshifting.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #5

    Re: he had witnessed his friend steal or stealing

    Click on the blue link that ems highlighted in her post, Oceanlike.

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