Hello, teachers!

Would you please tell me if these are acceptable or if we should use the bare forms?

1. I'm sad to see the flowers [withered, wither] away.
2. I'm sad to see the flowers [faded, fade] away.
3. I'm sad to see the flowers [shriveled, shrivel] up.

Thank you very much.
Best Regards.
Last edited {1}
Original Post
To answer the question, we must ask: are you watching the flowers undergo a change over time, or are you looking at them at the end of the period of change?

If you are sad as you watch the change taking place, you use the bare infinitive:

1. I'm sad to see the flowers wither away

2. I'm sad to see the flowers fade away

3. I'm sad to see the flowers shrivel up

These are actions.

If, on the other hand, you are talking about seeing the flowers at the end of the process, you say

1a. I'm sad to see the flowers withered away = ("the flowers are withered away")

2a. I'm sad to see the flowers faded away = ("the flowers are faded away")

3a. I'm sad to see the flowers shriveled up = ("the flowers are shriveled up")

Needless to say, these are change-of-state verbs. Sentences 1a, 2a, and 3a are similar to passive statives, in which there is no action but rather a resulting state.

Here are a few more similar utterances:

"” I'm glad to see your mother recovered from the flu

"” I'm happy to see our sales record improved

"” I'm angry to see your overall indebtedness increased

"” I'm happy to see our profits doubled so soon

"” I was surprised to see my watch stopped at 3:33 A.M.

Marilyn
Last edited {1}
First of all, I'm sorry that I wasn't clear.

I wondered if the uses of the past participles are correct or not. Now I've got the answer; they are correct. However, after I read your answer, I have another question. Please help me again with my thoughts.

_______________

Here are my thoughts.

1. completed action, resulting state
You said; I'm sad to see the flowers withered away. (= the flowers are withered away")
I wonder; I'm sad to see the flowers withered away. (= the flowers have withered away")
Which is natural, "are withered" or "have withered"?

2. on-going action
- I'm sad to see the flowers withering away.
I think this is natural, isn't it?

3. bare verb
- I'm sad to see the flowers wither away.
I wondered if this expresses a completed action or more of an on-going action. Now I think it's the action itself. Am I right?
Here is another set of sentences.
I think "I saw him crossing the road" expresses an on-going action, and "I saw him cross the road" expresses the action itself; in this context. the whole action, i.e. more of a completed action. Am I right?

Thank you always.
Best Regards.
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

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