I heard my life <be><being> told

Discussion in 'English Only' started by russian80, Mar 13, 2016.

  1. russian80

    russian80 Senior Member

    Russian
    You may have heard A Song They Won't Be Playing On The Radio by Molly Nilsson. I doubt this song will ever be considered the pinnacle of the English poetry, but it makes use of a passive simple (rather than the passive continuous) infinitive in object+bare infinitive complementation.

    Now, what would be your thoughts on the following:

    I heard the tea be served
    I saw him be beaten
    I noticed him be administered the painkiller
    We observed her be instructed
    I watched them be fed
    We had him be admitted to the hospital
    She let us be taken photos of
    We made him be regarded as an expert
    I have known John be accepted there regularly
    She helped you be taken to the hospital

    I understand that the continuous I saw him being beaten would be much more common.
     
  2. RedwoodGrove

    RedwoodGrove Senior Member

    California
    English, USA
    The past continuous would be much preferred as the normal way of expressing all of the above. As you point out, it's a form of poetry.
     
  3. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    I disagree - the first five examples would indeed be more normal with "being", but the second five don't work. The seventh example is a poor sentence with either form.
     
  4. RedwoodGrove

    RedwoodGrove Senior Member

    California
    English, USA
    I watched them be fed
    We had him be admitted to the hospital
    She let us be taken photos of
    We made him be regarded as an expert
    I have known John be accepted there regularly
    She helped you be taken to the hospital

    I'll accept I was wrong about these sentences. How would you write those so that they seem normal?

    I watched them being fed
    We had him admitted to the hospital
    She let us be taken photos of
    We made him to be regarded as an expert
    I have known John to be accepted there regularly
    She helped you to be taken to the hospital
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2016
  5. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    UK
    English - England
    We had him be admitted to the hospital
    She
    let us be taken photos of have our photos taken
    We made him be regarded as dissembled that he was an expert.
    I have known John be accepted there regularly. :tick:
    She helped you be in your being (when you were is better) taken to the hospital
     
  6. russian80

    russian80 Senior Member

    Russian
    I am amused that the last 6 examples of sentences that I created were considered as "poetry" by "Cagey, moderator"! :)

    It could be possible that Cagey's account was hacked by <-----Inappropriate comment removed by moderator (Florentia52)----->who for some mysterious reason wanted to make me feel a great English poet!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 14, 2016
  7. Cagey post mod (English Only / Latin)

    California
    English - US
    My apologies. :oops:

    I read your opening paragraph too quickly. :oops: I thought you were saying that the lines that followed were from that song -- although they did look like lines from a rather uninspired song, I admit.

    My apologies. As they were not quotation, I have reinstated them.

    Cagey, moderator.
     
  8. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    Yes. The simple form does occur after verbs of perception, but it is rather unusual or literary. I think it also has a perfective feel, in comparison with the imperfective/continuous feel of the continuous form.
     
  9. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    Texas
    English - US
    I'm not familiar with that sentence, but this one works for me:
    I have known John to be accepted there regularly.
     
  10. russian80

    russian80 Senior Member

    Russian
    You mean,

    I saw him be beaten = I saw him beaten = I saw him when he had been beaten
    I saw him being beaten = I saw him as/while he was beaten
     
  11. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    I mean in "I saw him being beaten", being beaten is a film, but in "I saw him be beaten", being beaten feels more like a photograph! One has duration, the other is a result.
     
  12. russian80

    russian80 Senior Member

    Russian
    "I saw him be beaten" = "I saw him having been beaten" ?

    Besides, what is the probability (in %) of
    "I saw him being beaten" = "I saw him while I was being beaten"
    "I saw him having been beaten" = "I saw him after I had been beaten"
     
  13. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    It only makes sense to talk about percentages in the context of a specific study with stated assumptions and measurement techniques. But in normal conversation or reading, the chances of a native speaker interpreting those two sentences in the way you suggest is close to 0%.
     
  14. russian80

    russian80 Senior Member

    Russian
    Well, I believe it also depends on the intonation. What if we put a little pause before "being beaten" (not necessarily resulting in a comma) and say it with a rising intonation?
     
  15. Glasguensis

    Glasguensis Signal Modulation

    Versailles
    English - Scotland
    If you inserted a long pause, definitely equivalent to a comma, your interpretation might occur to a native speaker, but even then we would be unsure which you meant, and more likely we would simply be confused. We would be very unlikely as speakers or writers to express that meaning in this way.
     
  16. Forero Senior Member

    Houston, Texas, USA
    USA English
    No. "Beaten" can describe the same state as "having been beaten", but "having been beaten" does not work in this sentence.

    In "I saw him beaten", "beaten" describes his state. In "I saw him being beaten", "being beaten" describes his state. In "I saw him get beaten", "get beaten" describes an action, with "beaten" as the resulting state.

    "I saw him be beaten" does not quite work, because "be beaten" is not a good description of an action.
     
  17. russian80

    russian80 Senior Member

    Russian
    Ok, what about
    "Being beaten, I saw him" = "I saw him while I was being beaten"
    "Having been beaten, I saw him" = "I saw him after I had been beaten"
     
  18. Englishmypassion

    Englishmypassion Senior Member

    Nainital
    India - Hindi
    Yes, they are correct and have the meanings you have suggested. But without any context, we can't be sure that the two parts in each sentence are logically well-connected.
     
  19. m0nchichi

    m0nchichi Senior Member

    Would it also be right to say ' I saw him getting beat'? I would use 'beaten' in a construction like this " He was beaten by a group of people..."
     
  20. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    No. I'd understand what it meant, but it would classed as slang. :(
     
  21. m0nchichi

    m0nchichi Senior Member

    Why is it slang? What does 'getting beat' mean to you? I asked around and It seems like there are two different meanings that can be understood:

    'I saw him get beaten' = he lost and you saw the outcome

    'I was him getting beat' = he was repeatedly punched by someone or a group of people and you walked past them watching them but you didn't see the outcome. You left before the fight stopped.


    The same applies to the OP's phrases :

    'I saw him be beaten' = the fight was already over and you saw him in the state of being frustrated over his defeat.

    'I saw him being beaten' = you saw the action/process of him losing.
     
  22. russian80

    russian80 Senior Member

    Russian
    Do you seriously mean to say that
    I saw him beaten = I saw him be beaten ?
     
  23. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I don't know who you asked, but you've been given the wrong answer by the sound of it.

    "I saw him get beaten" is fine, with the meaning you've ascribed to it.

    But "I saw him getting beat" is wrong: the past participle of the verb "to beat" is beaten. It would be more idiomatic actually to say "I saw him getting beaten up", but it's grammatically incorrect to use "beat" in that sentence, and if you do it would be classed as slang.
     
  24. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    Serious or not, my comments were about the difference between I saw him being beaten and I saw him be beaten. I did not mention I saw him beaten, which is an unusual, possibly archaic, form.
     
  25. m0nchichi

    m0nchichi Senior Member

    Well since it's slang maybe that's why the people i asked didn't object to it. They have been hearing it all along. And don't forget I'm in the US! I regularly hear people say things that are far from being grammatical(in casual settings).

    Edit:
    Doesn't the past participle need an auxiliary verb? Get beaten wouldn't be right then and it should be was beaten or being beaten as the OP said. Beat is the past tense and describes the action. "He beat him up".
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  26. DonnyB

    DonnyB Senior Member

    Coventry, UK
    English UK Southern Standard English
    Yes: the auxiliary verb there is effectively "get", used as a substitute for "I saw him being beaten up" :)
     
  27. m0nchichi

    m0nchichi Senior Member

    I couldn't find any source that listet 'get' as an auxiliary verb.

    Anyways, I still think if you want to convey that you saw the action you should not use the past participle on its own. As you said "beaten up" makes more sense than just "getting beaten".
     
  28. se16teddy

    se16teddy Senior Member

    London but from Yorkshire
    English - England
    The WordReference dictionary:

    20 The verb get may be used as an auxiliary verb (like be) and be followed by a past participle to form the passive; it means almost the same as "become'':[~ + verb-ed/-en]
    She got married when she was twenty-five.


    Get - WordReference.com Dictionary of English
     

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