Hit or pick

Yama, given your more more recent suggestion, I would go with:

5:  I saw a bird eat a worm.

I would also accept these, in order of preference:

6:  I saw a bird eating a worm.
7:  I saw a bird biting a worm.
8:  I saw a bird bite a worm.

DocV

Hi, Yama,

Of course, I agree with Doc V's answer above. I just would like to draw your attention to the source of your question. Have you read Unit (5) in our new curriculum? It is about the poet "Emily Dickinson". Our workbook refers to one of her poems called “A bird came down”.

A bird came down the walk:         

He did not know I saw;
He bit an angle worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw.

So, according to our curriculum, the answer to your question is: bit.

Ahmed,

Thank you for bringing attention to the source material.  "Bit" is indeed correct in the context of the poem.  But when "I saw" is added to the sentence, as in Yama's examples, "bit" is incorrect.

The poetry of Emily Dickinson has no business being in an ESL textbook.  She is hardly an example of proper English grammar!  The most recognizable feature of her poems is her eccentric punctuation and capitalization.  That poem, as she wrote it, actually goes like this:

A Bird, came down the Walk -
He did not know I saw -
He bit an Angle Worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,

And then, he drank a Dew
From a convenient Grass -
And then hopped sidewise to the Wall
To let a Beetle pass -

He glanced with rapid eyes,
That hurried all abroad -
They looked like frightened Beads, I thought,
He stirred his Velvet Head. -

Like one in danger, Cautious,
I offered him a Crumb,
And he unrolled his feathers,
And rowed him softer Home -

Than Oars divide the Ocean,
Too silver for a seam,
Or Butterflies, off Banks of Noon,
Leap, plashless as they swim.

I've never heard anyone else say "bit [something] in halves", or "cut ... in halves" or "tore ... in halves".  We say "in half", or, much more rarely, "into halves".

DocV

Doc V posted:

A Bird, came down the Walk -
He did not know I saw -
He bit an Angle Worm in halves
And ate the fellow, raw,

[. . .]

I've never heard anyone else say "bit [something] in halves", or "cut ... in halves" or "tore ... in halves".  We say "in half", or, much more rarely, "into halves".

That is rather unusual, I agree. I wonder, though, if Emily Dickinson perhaps had in mind repeated bites. If she had used "bit an Angle Worm into halves," I would have understood one bite that severed the worm at its center.

worm

But with "bit an Angle Worm in halves," the sense I get is that the bird bit it thus, and then bit each half of the worm thus, and perhaps each quarter of the worm thus, before ingesting it. Compare:

(9) I broke the stick in halves and gave a section of it to everyone present.

That seems possible to me -- unusual, but possible.

emily

Assuming my iterative reading of "bit an Angle Worm in halves" works, the correct answer to Yama's question would be (3) if Yama deleted one of the "t"s. Answer three should read "biting," not "bitting":

3'-I saw a bird biting a worm in halves.

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