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  1. #1
    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    I saw him do that vs I remember him doing that

    Hello! Why do you think we can use both the bare infinitive and the gerund verb forms after perception verbs (I saw him do that/doing that.), but only the gerund form after remember (I remember him doing (not do) that.)?
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    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: I saw him do that vs I remember him doing that

    I know the difference between remember doing and remember to do, but my question is about a particular structure: subject + verb + object + verb.

    Let's compare the following pair: I want him to do that vs I let him do that.

    There are two different types of relation between the verbs in these sentences: an indirect one (one's wish, being a state of mind, can't be the direct cause of someone else's action) and a direct one (someone did something only after (s)he was allowed to do that). I think this difference determines the presence or absence of to in the S-V-O-V structure.

    Let's consider another pair: I want him to do that vs I saw him do that.

    There are no intermediate links/conditions between the process of perception and the action => no to needed. The only difference between I let him do that and I saw him do that is the direction of causality (someone's action triggers the process of perception).

    Maybe someone has something to say about the difference between see and remember.
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    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: I saw him do that vs I remember him doing that

    Quote Originally Posted by tracy18 View Post
    When you are recounting, you would use "I saw him do that" as you are just talking about a past action. When you are reliving a past event, you would use "I saw him doing that" as you are talking about the past as if it is happening right now.
    Thank you, tracy18! I think the distinction between recounting and reliving correlates with the directness-indirectness distinction in terms of remoteness:
    recounting = remoteness in time vs reliving = immediacy (a past event is 'here and now')
    indirectness = remoteness due to the presence of intermediate links vs directness = an immediate connection between actions
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    Re: I saw him do that vs I remember him doing that

    Sometimes the choice between 'do' and 'doing' depends on how much of the action you saw/heard/etc.
    "I saw him cross the road." I saw the whole thing; he left the pavement on one side, went across the road, and ended at the pavement on the other side. A completed action.
    "I saw him crossing the road." I saw him walking in the middle of the road, apparently going from one side to the other, but I didn't see him on both sides of the road. A part of an action.

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    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: I saw him do that vs I remember him doing that

    I can't see tracy18's reply anymore. Was it deleted?
    Last edited by Alexey86; 22-Jun-2020 at 16:04.
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    Re: I saw him do that vs I remember him doing that

    Tracy18 has been banned. Consequently, all their posts have gone.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    Re: I saw him do that vs I remember him doing that

    Hi Alexey. As you know, I've been away for a while so I've missed this discussion. Let me catch up by starting here:

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    Let's compare the following pair: I want him to do that vs I let him do that.

    There are two different types of relation between the verbs in these sentences: an indirect one (one's wish, being a state of mind, can't be the direct cause of someone else's action) and a direct one (someone did something only after (s)he was allowed to do that). I think this difference determines the presence or absence of to in the S-V-O-V structure.
    Your direct/indirect idea is nice, and I think I can see how you're thinking. I'm not sure I agree, however. How would you explain the (apparent) synonymy between let someone do something and allow someone to do something? Would you see the difference in pattern as evidence of a difference in meaning?

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    Alexey86 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: I saw him do that vs I remember him doing that

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    How would you explain the (apparent) synonymy between let someone do something and allow someone to do something? Would you see the difference in pattern as evidence of a difference in meaning?
    Hello, Frank! I'm really glad to see you again! I wouldn't say these patterns are synonymous. "Let me know if you need anything" isn't equal in meaning to "Allow me to know..." The former doesn't mean asking for permission and considers the hearer the direct source of information, while the latter makes the hearer an intermediate link just allowing to know but not necessarily giving information as such. Even when the meaning is practically the same, such as in "Allow me to/Let me enter the room," the formality of "allow" is a kind of distance in communication that I see as an analog of indirectness.
    Last edited by Alexey86; 29-Aug-2020 at 18:57.
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    Re: I saw him do that vs I remember him doing that

    That's makes sense to me, as long as you remember that sometimes they do mean practically the same thing, e.g: Here, let me hold that for you. / Here, allow me to hold that for you.

    In cases like that, the only difference is that one has a more formal tone.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

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    Re: I saw him do that vs I remember him doing that

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexey86 View Post
    I wouldn't say these patterns are synonymous. "Let me know if you need anything" isn't equal in meaning to "Allow me to know..." The former doesn't mean asking for permission and considers the hearer the direct source of information, while the latter makes the hearer an intermediate link just allowing to know but not necessarily giving information as such.
    Okay, yes, but I was talking specifically about permission, as in your example in post #3.

    Anyway, I've been considering the different patterns used after see/remember as per your main question. This is what I've come up with:

    I saw him arrive
    I saw him arriving

    These sentences are both good and show the difference in meaning nice and clearly: The infinitive expresses a complete action whereas the participle expresses an action in progress.

    Let's now put these in the present tense:

    I (can) see him arrive
    I (can) see him arriving

    The infinitive doesn't work here because it doesn't make sense. Unlike with the first two examples, the moment of utterance is contemporaneous with the action. And since the experience of perception is ongoing at the moment of utterance, there cannot be any sense of a complete action.

    I remember him arrive
    I remember him arriving


    This difference here is identical to the difference in the previous pair. Although the action is in past time, the experience of remembering is happening at the same time as the utterance, and so for the same reason the completion expressed by the infinitive does not make sense.

    We have to remember that episodic memory is really just a special kind of perceptual experience. When we remember past events, we're really just reliving those events in an imagined actuality.

    I hope this explanation makes sense. It does to me, but I'll be happy if anyone can point out where I might have gone wrong.

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