'I saw your ship blow up' construction ?


Hi, I've heard this sentence 'I saw your ship blow up' in a movie. What kind of construction is this ? The second part where present simple is used seems odd to me. Thanks in advance.
  • se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Sorry I deleted my earlier post while you were commenting on it.

    This structure is explained at the end of this page: http://www.eslgold.com/grammar/verbs_perception.html

    There is a subtle difference between
    1. I heard him leave and
    2. I heard him leaving
    I feel that in 2 the leaving is more imperfective in aspect, and in 1. more perfective in aspect. In other words, in 2. the visual image is the process of leaving, in 1. the point is that he left.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    English UK
    It isn't the present simple, Bartoszz - it's the bare infinitive:
    I saw him go
    I heard him go
    I watched him go

    Different verbs occur with different patterns: some require the -ING form, some require the bare infinitive, some can take both the -ING form and the bare infinitive:).


    Senior Member
    English but my first language was German
    Interestingly, in the original sentence, there are three possibilities

    I saw you ship blowing up (I was watching it as it happened)
    I saw your ship blow up (I was present when it blew up)
    I saw your ship blew up (I read about it in the newspaper/heard about it afterwards)
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