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    #1

    why the -ing form?

    The suspect was seen leaping into a car and speeding off.

    This sentence comes from Macmillan (leap). I wonder why it doesn't read
    'The suspect was seen to leap into a car and speed off' since the whole action was seen from its start to its finish.

    Thank you very much.

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    #2

    Re: why the -ing form?

    Quote Originally Posted by joham View Post
    The suspect was seen leaping into a car and speeding off.

    This sentence comes from Macmillan (leap). I wonder why it doesn't read
    'The suspect was seen to leap into a car and speed off' since the whole action was seen from its start to its finish.

    Thank you very much.
    Gerunds are often used when the action is real, concrete or completed:

    The suspect was seen leaping into a car and speeding off. - completed action.

    Infinitives are often used when actions are unreal, abstract, or future:

    I stopped to smoke.
    (I was doing something else, and I stopped; the smoking had not happened yet.)

  1. rewboss's Avatar

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    #3

    Re: why the -ing form?

    Actually, in this example, both constructions are possible and mean the same thing. Certainly, if somebody was seen to leap into a car, it's clear from the context that the action is not abstract or future, so the difference isn't important.

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