Reply to "The past participles of intransitive verbs"

In Sentence 1,

I'm sad to see the flowers WITHERED AWAY

... WITHERED is an adjectival complement.

If you say

"” I'm sad to see [that] the flowers HAVE withered away

...you have a different sentence structure. Here you have a main verb SEE and a noun clause direct object with the full verb HAVE WITHERED. WITHERED is a past participle, not an adjectival complement.

2. "I'm sad to see the flowers WITHERING AWAY" is grammatically correct. It describes an ongoing process without a conclusion.

3. Sentence 3, "I'm sad to see the flowers WITHER away" is about an action that reaches a conclusion but does not focus on the endpoint of the action.

When you use the bare infinitive as complement to a verb of seeing, hearing, feeling, etc. you describe the action as a whole; when you use the present participle you focus on the action in progress.

If you saw someone CROSS the road, s/he reached the other side; if you saw the person CROSSING the road, there's no indication that s/he reached the other side.

That's why you would be more likely to say

I saw you EATING a watermelon at the company picnic

...than

"” ?I saw you EAT a watermelon at the company picnic

Marilyn
×
×
×
×