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Thread: saw him climb

  1. Key Member
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    #1

    saw him climb

    1) I saw him climb the wall.
    2) I saw him climbing the wall.

    Let us say the wall was 12 feet high and I saw him climb the last 3 feet. So I see him get to the top, but I don't see him start his climb.
    Which sentence could I use?

    I'd go with '1', but wouldn't consider '2' wrong. It might give the impression that I did not see him get to the top.

    ======================

    3) I saw him write a letter.

    4) I saw him writing a letter.

    Let us say I saw him write the final ten sentences of a hundred-sentence letter. Which sentence could I use?

    In this case, I would choose '4', but I do find it very unclear in this context. It doesn't indicate in any way that I saw him finish the letter.

    Gratefully,
    Navi.
    Last edited by navi tasan; 02-Apr-2017 at 07:17.

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: saw him climb

    I saw him getting to the top of the wall.
    I saw him finishing the letter.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #3

    Re: saw him climb

    Thanks Matthew,

    Yes, those sentences are perfect, but the question was which of my sentences could be used in te given contexts. I am trying to figure out the difference between the two different 'constructs', not for the perfect way to express those ideas.

    Gratefully,
    Navi.
    .

  4. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: saw him climb

    A simple answer is that 1) and 3) work well to imply that you saw the whole action, and 2) and 4) only part of the action.

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5
    I am not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: saw him climb

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    A simple answer is that 1) and 3) work well to imply that you saw the whole action, and 2) and 4) only part of the action.
    However, few if any readers will notice the distinction the writer thinks s/he is making.
    I am not a teacher.

  7. jutfrank's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: saw him climb

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    However, few if any readers will notice the distinction the writer thinks s/he is making.
    I'm not sure what you mean. Why not? Wouldn't every native speaker notice this difference? By the writer, do you mean navi tasan?

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    #8

    Re: saw him climb

    Reviewing the sentences, I've changed my mind. The first of each pair of sentences implies that the viewer sees the complete action; the second doesn't tell us whether the viewer saw the whole thing.
    I am not a teacher.

  9. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: saw him climb

    1. I saw him climb the wall and get over it.
    2. I saw him climbing the wall and falling back down.

    I think they are possible.
    I am not a teacher.

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