saw him climb

Status
Not open for further replies.

navi tasan

Key Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
Persian
Home Country
Iran
Current Location
United States
1) I saw him climb the wall.
2) I saw him climbing the wall.

Let us say the wall was 12 feet high and I saw him climb the last 3 feet. So I see him get to the top, but I don't see him start his climb.
Which sentence could I use?

I'd go with '1', but wouldn't consider '2' wrong. It might give the impression that I did not see him get to the top.

======================

3) I saw him write a letter.

4) I saw him writing a letter.

Let us say I saw him write the final ten sentences of a hundred-sentence letter. Which sentence could I use?

In this case, I would choose '4', but I do find it very unclear in this context. It doesn't indicate in any way that I saw him finish the letter.

Gratefully,
Navi.
 
Last edited:

Matthew Wai

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2013
Member Type
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
I saw him getting to the top of the wall.
I saw him finishing the letter.
 

navi tasan

Key Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Member Type
Academic
Native Language
Persian
Home Country
Iran
Current Location
United States
Thanks Matthew,

Yes, those sentences are perfect, but the question was which of my sentences could be used in te given contexts. I am trying to figure out the difference between the two different 'constructs', not for the perfect way to express those ideas.

Gratefully,
Navi.
.
 

jutfrank

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
A simple answer is that 1) and 3) work well to imply that you saw the whole action, and 2) and 4) only part of the action.
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
A simple answer is that 1) and 3) work well to imply that you saw the whole action, and 2) and 4) only part of the action.

However, few if any readers will notice the distinction the writer thinks s/he is making.
 

jutfrank

VIP Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Member Type
English Teacher
Native Language
English
Home Country
England
Current Location
England
However, few if any readers will notice the distinction the writer thinks s/he is making.

I'm not sure what you mean. Why not? Wouldn't every native speaker notice this difference? By the writer, do you mean navi tasan?
 

GoesStation

No Longer With Us
Joined
Dec 22, 2015
Member Type
Interested in Language
Native Language
American English
Home Country
United States
Current Location
United States
Reviewing the sentences, I've changed my mind. The first of each pair of sentences implies that the viewer sees the complete action; the second doesn't tell us whether the viewer saw the whole thing.
 

Matthew Wai

VIP Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2013
Member Type
Native Language
Chinese
Home Country
China
Current Location
China
1. I saw him climb the wall and get over it.
2. I saw him climbing the wall and falling back down.

I think they are possible.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top