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    #1

    "I saw it happen..."

    Hi.

    When you write "I saw it happen", why is it not 'happened' instead of 'happen' since the event has already passed?
    Is there a general rule for this, and can you please give me more examples?

    edit: Is 'could' a better word rather than 'can' in the above?

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    #2

    Re: "I saw it happen..."

    Quote Originally Posted by language_fanatic View Post
    hi.

    When you write "i saw it happen", why is it not 'happened' instead of 'happen' since the event has already passed?
    that's why you used "saw", not 'see'. But at the time you saw it happening, it was the present.


    is there a general rule for this, and can you please give me more examples?
    the rule is that, in a construction like this, when there are two verbs denoting a past event, only the first is in the past tense.


    i saw him (run)(running) into the house. (not 'ran')
    i saw him (eat)(eating) breakfast. (not 'ate')
    i helped him find his cat. (not 'found')


    edit: Is 'could' a better word rather than 'can' in the above? you could make a case for "could" being better, in that "could" is very suitable for a polite request.
    2006
    Last edited by 2006; 17-Apr-2009 at 19:16.

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    #3

    Re: "I saw it happen..."

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    2006
    Thanks. What about the following:
    1) I knew he did it on purpose;
    2) I knew he do it on purpose.

    So, the former is grammatically wrong and the latter is right?

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    #4

    Re: "I saw it happen..."

    Is this to do with subjunctive tenses, since you're using 'run' instead of 'runs' and 'eat' instead of 'eats'?

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    #5

    Re: "I saw it happen..."

    Quote Originally Posted by language_fanatic View Post
    thanks. What about the following:
    1) i knew he did it on purpose;
    2) i knew he do it on purpose.

    So, the former is grammatically wrong and the latter is right? no, i overlooked the fact that whether the second verb is present or past tense depends on what the first verb, along with its associated grammar, is.

    i (heard)(saw) him do it. "him" is the object form.

    i think he did it. "he" is the subject of the clause "he did it".
    i am sure he did it.
    i was told he did it.
    2006
    Last edited by 2006; 18-Apr-2009 at 00:56.

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    #6

    Re: "I saw it happen..."

    Quote Originally Posted by language_fanatic View Post
    Is this to do with subjunctive tenses, since you're using 'run' instead of 'runs' and 'eat' instead of 'eats'?
    No, it isn't the subjunctive.
    In the first line below "You", "He" and "They" are subjects, so verb conjugation comes into effect.
    In the second line the corresponding words are objects, so "run" is used in all cases.

    You run. He runs. They run.
    but
    I saw (you)(him)(them) run.

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    #7

    Re: "I saw it happen..."

    Thanks for the explanation.

    Can I generalise it this way: verbs that follow after objects must be a root word?

    Good Lord. I never realised my English is so weak that I can easily get confused even the rudimentary English grammar.

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    #8

    Re: "I saw it happen..."

    Quote Originally Posted by language_fanatic View Post
    thanks for the explanation.

    Can i generalise it this way: Verbs that follow after objects must be a root word? yes, either the root form or the -ing form

    good lord. I never realised my english is so weak that i can easily get confused even the rudimentary english grammar.
    2006

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