" They watched how a kite fly"

Amika

Member
Thai
HiI saw this sentence from the school text book, telling about the Wright brothers." They watched how a kite fly" I wonder why they used fly instead of flew.Thank you.
 
  • Scholiast

    Senior Member
    Greetings

    I am afraid your textbook is wrong. "They watched how a kite flies" would be correct, or "They watched how a kite flew".

    The authors of the textbook were offering what is called a "hypercorrection", using a subjunctive ("fly") where it is not needed.

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    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    You can watch something without wondering how it works. The sentence with "how" says they are studying what the kites do when they fly and trying to understand the process. They are not just watching.
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    HiI saw this sentence from the school text book, telling about the Wright brothers." They watched how a kite fly" I wonder why they used fly instead of flew.Thank you.
    I suspect that this may be an exercise in tense shifting.

    They watch how a kite flies:tick: - all in the present.
    They watched how a kite flew:tick: - tense shifted with the main verb.
    They watched how a kite flies:tick: - tense not shifted because this is an eternal truth (kites always fly in the same way).

    With eternal truths, like the laws of science, there's no need to shift, and not doing so emphasises the eternal nature of the truth.
     
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