See them neglected vs. See them being neglected


Senior Member
"My son sees nothing wrong with these "chores," and I'm afraid to say anything because I know my daughter-in-law will cut me off from the kids. What's sad is my son allows it. Am I crazy? Please help. ― DESPERATE GRANDMA ON THE EAST COAST

DEAR DESPERATE GRANDMA: You're not crazy; you're a caring grandmother who can't stand seeing her grandchildren neglected. Now pick up the phone and call Childhelp. The toll-free number is 800-422-4453."

In "you're a caring grandmother who can't stand seeing her grandchildren neglected", is "being neglected" omitted to "neglected" or is "being neglected" different from "neglected" as "being" means the action is continuing at the time of the speech?

  • Pertinax

    Senior Member
    you're a caring grandmother who can't stand seeing her grandchildren neglected

    Outside the context provided by the desperate grandma, I find this response ambiguous. Does it mean that the children are seen as neglected (e.g. dirty, hungry) or as being neglected (e.g. unsupervised)? The contrast is between the state and the process which gives rise to the state.

    The ambiguity is even sharper in:
    I saw the children injured.
    I saw the children being injured.
    Child protective services: Yes?
    Grandmother: My name is Mrs. Jones and I have grandchildren. I see how their parents deal with them. I can't stand seeing them neglected.
    CPS: Can you be a bit clearer? Are you referring to their state or the process that gives rise to that state?
    Grandmother: Can I get back to you on that? I'll have to consult my linguistics tutor, Mr. Pertinax. :)
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    Desperate grandmother: What say you, Pertinax?

    Pertinax (guffawing): "Emperor" Pertinax to you. You're as neglectful as your son, allowing yourself to be fobbed off by that. What would you say if the police refused to investigate a dead body unless you could determine murder or manslaughter? And talking of bodies, that Benny fellow needs to be taught a lesson for writing you into a script like that. I want to see him being hanged - but released after a few seconds.

    Guard (standing to attention): Certainly, Sir. But remember that this is one of those pesky grammarians who think nothing of eliding "being".

    Pertinax: Ah, yes, of course. Correction - I'll see him hanged instead. May God have mercy on his soul. :D
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