bitten by a dog

Status
Not open for further replies.

navi tasan

Key Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
Armenian
Home Country
Iran
Current Location
United States
1-I saw Harry bitten by a dog.

Can't this sentence mean two things:
a-I saw Harry get bitten by a dog.
b-I saw Harry after he was bitten by a dog. I saw him when he had the bite wound on him, but not the actual biting.

Gratefully,
Navi.
 

probus

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Member Type
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
The potential ambiguity shows why I saw Harry bitten by a dog would not be used by a fluent speaker.

In case a we would say I saw Harry being bitten by a dog, or perhaps getting bitten, and in case b we would use your I saw Harry after he was bitten by a dog.
 

probus

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Member Type
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
To expand on and clarify my earlier reply get bitten is as good as getting bitten or being bitten if you are trying to say you saw it while it was happening.
 

5jj

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Member Type
Native Language
British English
Home Country
Czech Republic
Current Location
Czech Republic
The potential ambiguity shows why I saw Harry bitten by a dog would not be used by a fluent speaker.

In case a we would say I saw Harry being bitten by a dog, or perhaps getting bitten, and in case b we would use your I saw Harry after he was bitten by a dog.
I agree that your suggestions are clearer and more likely, but I do not agree that I saw Harry bitten by a dog would not be used by a native speaker. It would be used by some, and for most it would be intended, and understood to mean only I saw Harry being/getting bitten.
 
Last edited:

probus

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 7, 2011
Member Type
Native Language
English
Home Country
Canada
Current Location
Canada
I suppose it is a difference between AmE and BrE. I don't think you would ever hear I saw Harry bitten by a dog on this side of the pond.
 

SoothingDave

VIP Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2009
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
I suppose it is a difference between AmE and BrE. I don't think you would ever hear I saw Harry bitten by a dog on this side of the pond.

I don't agree. I think it's a possible sentence in AmE.

I also think that if you add a comma, it could mean that you saw Harry who was previously bitten by a dog.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top