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    • Join Date: Mar 2007
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    #1

    Please help

    Dear teachers,

    What is the difference between I saw him cross the road & I saw him crossing the road? Please help.
    Last edited by hsb; 06-Apr-2008 at 12:27.

  1. banderas's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Please help

    Quote Originally Posted by hsb View Post
    Dear teachers,

    What is the difference between I saw him cross the road= from one side to the other (accomplished)


    & I saw him crossing the road?=in the middle of the road, on her way across ( in the process of)

    Please help.


    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 57
    #3

    Re: Please help

    Dear banderas,
    Thanks for your reply but i still dont get it.Here is a another example which i find difficult to understand.

    I heard him say that.& I heard him saying that. I request you to please help me once again.

  2. stuartnz's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: Please help

    Quote Originally Posted by hsb View Post
    Dear banderas,
    Thanks for your reply but i still dont get it.Here is a another example which i find difficult to understand.

    I heard him say that.& I heard him saying that. I request you to please help me once again.

    As a native speaker, and not a teacher, my reaction to both the examples you post is that there is no discernible difference in real-world usage. There may be some difference in prescribed usage in the minds of some grammarians, but if you stopped the mythical "man on the street" and he happened to be a native English speaker, I am confident that his answer would likely be the same as mine: "To all intents and purposes they mean exactly the same thing".

  3. banderas's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Please help

    Quote Originally Posted by hsb View Post
    Dear banderas,
    Thanks for your reply but i still dont get it.Here is a another example which i find difficult to understand.

    I heard him say that= He said something(past simple) .(I Heard the complete action from beginning to end.
    I heard him sing (from when he started until he finsihed)

    heard him saying that= he was saying something (past continous) and I heard this (when he was in the process of saying something)
    I hear him singing (he is singing now).
    I heard him singing (I heard when he was sinbging)

    Sometimes the difference is not important and you can use either.
    I've never seen him playing basketball or I've never seen him lay basketball.
    Both are fine.

    .
    s

  4. banderas's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Please help

    Quote Originally Posted by stuartnz View Post
    As a native speaker, and not a teacher, my reaction to both the examples you post is that there is no discernible difference in real-world usage. There may be some difference in prescribed usage in the minds of some grammarians, but if you stopped the mythical "man on the street" and he happened to be a native English speaker, I am confident that his answer would likely be the same as mine: "To all intents and purposes they mean exactly the same thing".
    What would you do if you saw someone killing a cat?
    If I saw someone killing a cat I would prevent it.

    What would you do if you saw someone kill a cat?
    If I saw someone kill a cat I would be shocked (and sad because I could not prevent it) and I would call police immediately.

    When I came home I saw children sleeping. not sleep
    Listen to the birds singing! not sing
    The missing person was last seen walking along the High Street. not walk High Street

    Sometimes the difference is not important and sometimes it is, in fact.


    • Join Date: Mar 2007
    • Posts: 57
    #7

    Re: Please help

    Dear banderas,
    Thanks for your reply. Dose your example "If I saw someone kill a cat "means that I only saw a dead (killed) cat & not the actual action of killing by some one? If yes then I think I have understood it completely.
    Thank you once again for your help.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #8

    Re: Please help

    Quote Originally Posted by hsb View Post
    Dear banderas,
    Thanks for your reply. Dose your example "If I saw someone kill a cat "means that I only saw a dead (killed) cat & not the actual action of killing by some one? If yes then I think I have understood it completely.
    Thank you once again for your help.
    It is subtle.

    By saying If I saw someone kill a cat I would be shocked , you are indicating an event that is unstoppable and unpleasant.

    By saying If I saw someone killing a cat I would prevent it., you are indicating that the event is happening, but that there is a chance of stopping it.

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