Hi, Neil, and welcome to the Grammar Exchange!

In the sentence "Seeing it grow was wonderful," "Seeing it grow" is a gerund clause that is functioning as subject. To understand why "grow" can't have the third-person singular present "-s" ending, you need to understand perceptual verb patterns.

You can see something grow, and you can see something growing, but you cannot see something grows. Actually, it is possible to use "see something grows" if it is short for "see that something grows"; however, the "that"-clause interpretation doesn't work in your example. ā™£

Neil12345 posted:

So it is the fact it is a perceptual verb rather than the fact it is acting as a noun that allows you to use basic form of grow?

"Grow" isn't acting as a noun. The entire phrase "Seeing it grow" is acting as a noun. Within that phrase, there are two verbs: "see" and "grow." "See" takes the form "seeing" because it is the head (main word and grammatical center) of the gerund phrase (or clause). "Grow" appears in the base form because it is in the perceptual verb pattern [perceptual verb] + [direct object] + [base verb form], which we find in sentences like "(I) saw him cross the street." Surely you wouldn't be tempted to say, *"I saw him crosses the street." Similarly, you can't say, "Seeing him crosses the street was fun." But you can say, "Seeing him cross the street was fun." ā™£

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×