I heard my life <be><being> told

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.
 
  • Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    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.
     

    RedwoodGrove

    Senior Member
    English, USA
    but the second five don't work. The seventh example is a poor sentence with either form.
    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
     
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    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
     

    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:

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    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.
     

    russian80

    Senior Member
    Russian
    it also has a perfective feel, in comparison with the imperfective/continuous feel of the continuous form.
    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
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    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
    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.
     

    russian80

    Senior Member
    Russian
    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.
    "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"
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    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%.
     

    russian80

    Senior Member
    Russian
    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%.
    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?
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    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.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    USA English
    "I saw him be beaten" = "I saw him having been beaten"?
    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.
     

    russian80

    Senior Member
    Russian
    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.
    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"
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    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"
    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.
     

    m0nchichi

    Senior Member
    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.
    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..."
     

    m0nchichi

    Senior Member
    No. I'd understand what it meant, but it would classed as slang. :(
    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.
     

    russian80

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

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    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.
    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.
     

    m0nchichi

    Senior Member
    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.
    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".
     
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    DonnyB

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

    m0nchichi

    Senior Member
    Yes: the auxiliary verb there is effectively "get", used as a substitute for "I saw him being beaten up" :)
    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".
     
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