watch someone <ride><riding> away

  • Forero

    Senior Member
    Hello, everybody,
    I have read the discussion with intense interest. There were many view points and compelling examples concerning the question under discussion. I'd like to make a little explanation.
    Not every verb can be used for the bare infinitive and participle with the verbs of perception.
    In event of bare infinitives the so-called verbs of accomplishment and achievement are preferable. The verb of either accomplishment or achievement are two terms in semantics .
    For example,
    I noticed her drop a pencil. (achievement)
    They saw him catch a ball. (achievement)
    They watched the Browns paint the fence. (accomplishment)
    A complete situation was observed in every example above.
    In event of participles the co-called verbs of activity are preferable.
    For example,
    The council camp's guides watched the next shift of their colleagues arriving. (activity)
    When a participle is used, the action is ongoing at the time of perception.
    Therefore, the sentence 'Scarlet watched the twins ride away' could not be written with a participle.
    The verb 'ride' is a verb of activity, but adverb 'away' transforms it into a verb of accomplishment.
    These are important concepts, and I have been tempted to say something similar in this thread, but:

    In English, most verbs operate in more than one way, and I suspect that the boundaries between verbs of perception and other verbs may depend on what construction is being discussed.

    I would never say "I noticed her drop a pencil", because "notice" does not work that way in my variety of English. Is "notice" a verb of perception?

    Both "Scarlet watched the twins ride away" and "Scarlet watched the twins riding away" are valid sentences.

    "Watch" and "see" use the bare infinitive construction differently. "Scarlet watched the twins ride away" and "Scarlet saw the twins riding away" are very similar in meaning because "watch" implies attention to the action.

    Sentences like "Scarlet watched the twins riding away" have multiple interpretations because "the twins riding away" can have various meanings:
    • the meaning I think we mean to be discussing in this thread, something like "the twins as they rode away", or
    • a meaning in which the participial phrase restricts the meaning, for example "the twins who rode away" or "the twins who had been riding away", or
    • a meaning in which "riding" is a gerund rather than a participle, as in "the twins' riding away" = "the riding away that the twins did".
     

    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    These are important concepts, and I have been tempted to say something similar in this thread, but:

    In English, most verbs operate in more than one way, and I suspect that the boundaries between verbs of perception and other verbs may depend on what construction is being discussed.

    I would never say "I noticed her drop a pencil", because "notice" does not work that way in my variety of English. Is "notice" a verb of perception?

    Both "Scarlet watched the twins ride away" and "Scarlet watched the twins riding away" are valid sentences.

    "Watch" and "see" use the bare infinitive construction differently. "Scarlet watched the twins ride away" and "Scarlet saw the twins riding away" are very similar in meaning because "watch" implies attention to the action.

    Sentences like "Scarlet watched the twins riding away" have multiple interpretations because "the twins riding away" can have various meanings:
    • the meaning I think we mean to be discussing in this thread, something like "the twins as they rode away", or
    • a meaning in which the participial phrase restricts the meaning, for example "the twins who rode away" or "the twins who had been riding away", or
    • a meaning in which "riding" is a gerund rather than a participle, as in "the twins' riding away" = "the riding away that the twins did".
    Yes, it is. In both, the UK and USA usage, as far as I know.
    An example of such use from literature: A middle-aged lady had noticed her come in and walked over to her. (Jim Miller, 2012)
    I noticed them come in. (Oxford dictionary) .
    In this sentence the adverb 'away' is obviously used in meaning ''to or at a distance from somebody/something in space or time', which obviously forms the verb of accomplishment.
    Maybe, you keep in mind such adverb as 'out of sight'?
     
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    Forero

    Senior Member
    Yes, it is. In both, the UK and USA usage, as far as I know.
    An example of such use from literature: A middle-aged lady had noticed her come in and walked over to her. (Jim Miller, 2012)
    I noticed them come in. (Oxford dictionary) .
    It sounds "off" to me, but I'll let others speak for themselves.
    In this sentence the adverb 'away' is obviously used in meaning ''to or at a distance from somebody/something in space or time', which obviously forms the verb of accomplishment.
    Maybe, you keep in mind such adverb as 'out of sight'?
    Obviously?

    You are missing at least one meaning of "away" that fits the sentence in question: "from this or that place". "Out of sight" has the same ambiguity.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    It sounds "off" to me, but I'll let others speak for themselves.Obviously?

    You are missing at least one meaning of "away" that fits the sentence in question: "from this or that place". "Out of sight" has the same ambiguity.
    Perhaps it is an AE/BE thing. "I saw him come in" is quite normal for me, possibly more often with additional information, like "I saw him come in an hour ago but I haven't seen him since then".

    I agree, the "riding away" example means moving in a direction taking her to a greater distance from me, not the "location that is at some distance". Someone can be standing next to me and begin to walk away, while I can say about a person who is on holiday in Spain "He is away this week but will be back next week". Quite distinct meanings of the same word.
     

    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    Obviously?

    You are missing at least one meaning of "away" that fits the sentence in question: "from this or that place". "Out of sight" has the same ambiguity.
    The rest is semantics. And set theory in grammar. An example of which is in JulianStuart's remark.
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    ) Nothing cryptological. You have applied an analysis that is very similar to that used in the analysis of the merits of the adverb group.
    We don't use "cryptological in this context.

    I simply pointed out that "away" has two distinct meanings and that the one used in the "riding away" example is the one involving motion, while it seemed to me (and Forero, I think) that you considered it to be a complete movement to a distant location (the "accomplishment (i.e completion)" rather than the "(time-consuming) process")
    In this sentence the adverb 'away' is obviously used in meaning ''to or at a distance from somebody/something in space or time', which obviously forms the verb of accomplishment.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    Perhaps it is an AE/BE thing. "I saw him come in" is quite normal for me, possibly more often with additional information, like "I saw him come in an hour ago but I haven't seen him since then".
    I have no problem with seeing someone come in; the problem I have is with the verb "notice" as in "I noticed her come in":confused: or "I noticed him come in an hour ago but I haven't noticed him since then.":confused:
    ) Nothing cryptological. You have applied an analysis that is very similar to that used in the analysis of the merits of the adverb group.
    This is even more puzzling. Walking away happens at the moment of departure and does not require reaching any goal. Walking away might be seen as an instantaneous accomplishment, but there is nothing wrong with saying "I noticed her dropping a pencil", "They saw him catching a ball", "They saw the Browns painting the fence", or "Scarlet saw the twins riding away".
     
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    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I have no problem with seeing someone come in; the problem I have is with the verb "notice" as in "I noticed her come in":confused: or "I noticed him come in an hour ago but I haven't noticed him since then.":confused:

    ) I should cocoa, even If Oxford dictionary could not convince you, it's beyond me to carry all before you. Sorry.
     
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    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I simply pointed out that "away" has two distinct meanings and that the one used in the "riding away" example is the one involving motion, while it seemed to me (and Forero, I think) that you considered it to be a complete movement to a distant location (the "accomplishment (i.e completion)" rather than the "(time-consuming) process")


    It's all about the meaning of adverbs. Usually it is explained in the context in case of doubt. In the case under discussion, what matters is that the adverb 'away' has a more general meaning that is 'to or at a distance from somebody/something in space or time'.
     

    Forero

    Senior Member
    It's all about the meaning of adverbs. Usually it is explained in the context in case of doubt. In the case under discussion, what matters is that the adverb 'away' has a more general meaning that is 'to or at a distance from somebody/something in space or time'.
    The meaning of "away" comes from its origins in Old English: "on [the] way [from a place]". What makes the definition you are quoting workable is the "from" part, since "away" always means "away from someone or something". The "at" part of the definition goes with static verbs, like "stay", and the "to" (= "toward") part goes with verbs of motion, like "go". It is never about completion or destination.

    In fact, adding "away" after "go" makes the predicate in question less likely to be about completion than it would be without it.
     

    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The meaning of "away" comes from its origins in Old English: "on [the] way [from a place]". What makes the definition you are quoting workable is the "from" part, since "away" always means "away from someone or something". The "at" part of the definition goes with static verbs, like "stay", and the "to" (= "toward") part goes with verbs of motion, like "go". It is never about completion or destination.

    In fact, adding "away" after "go" makes the predicate in question less likely to be about completion than it would be without it.


    Any modern high-quality dictionary offer more than ten senses for the adverb 'away'. From the point of usage the most frequent is the sense about which you speak. Though, I, with my explanation, paid attention to the semantical characteristic of the adverb and some general principles of the grammar behind such syntatctic constructions. If you are having such stance on the issue, I can't manage it in any way. Possible discussion on the issue could take a long time. Such discussion is for the papers of some special periodicals. This place is not for possible discussion, as it seems to me. In any case I have no intention of expanding on it here.
    With sincere respect for your attitude and interest in the question.
     
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    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I'm confused again. We use the bare infinitive when we saw the whole action and 'ing' when the action was in progress, like in:

    I saw her eating a banana. (action in progress)
    I saw her eat a banana. (the whole banana was eaten)

    right?


    So, now, this Canadian had trouble with the Internet while doing a livestream, all the viewers were waiting for more questions to be answered, and he said "It's probably fun for you to watch me sit here all puzzled." The 'sitting' was clearly in progress and would continue, so why didn't he say "It's probably fun for you to watch me sitting here all puzzled."?

    1578994219142.png
     

    grassy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Sitting, unlike eating, is not action that can be completed, and that's why both forms would mean the same thing here. Also, sit is simpler and therefore better.
     

    zaffy

    Senior Member
    Polish
    OK, thanks, I got it. That's why I said earlier in the thread I did come across the bare infinitive for actions in progress.
     

    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    I'm confused again. We use the bare infinitive when we saw the whole action and 'ing' when the action was in progress, like in:

    I saw her eating a banana. (action in progress)
    I saw her eat a banana. (the whole banana was eaten)

    right?


    So, now, this Canadian had trouble with the Internet while doing a livestream, all the viewers were waiting for more questions to be answered, and he said "It's probably fun for you to watch me sit here all puzzled." The 'sitting' was clearly in progress and would continue, so why didn't he say "It's probably fun for you to watch me sitting here all puzzled."?

    View attachment 37110
    I'm confused again. We use the bare infinitive when we saw the whole action and 'ing' when the action was in progress, like in:

    I saw her eating a banana. (action in progress)
    I saw her eat a banana. (the whole banana was eaten)

    right?


    So, now, this Canadian had trouble with the Internet while doing a livestream, all the viewers were waiting for more questions to be answered, and he said "It's probably fun for you to watch me sit here all puzzled." The 'sitting' was clearly in progress and would continue, so why didn't he say "It's probably fun for you to watch me sitting here all puzzled."?

    View attachment 37110
    This is a case of using the so called 'bare infinitive' with the verbs of senses. There is no difficulty to understand it but one, usual grammar texts don't include any explanation on such morphology. The paraphrase of the sentence ' It's probably fun(ny) to watch me sit here all puzzled' is that 'It's probably funny that you can watch that I am sitting here all puzzled." So, there is no essential differences in syntactic meaning between two grammar constructions, 'watch somebody do something' and 'watch somebody doing something."
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The verb "sit" may mean "the action of sitting down", which takes a few seconds, and "the state of sitting", which is continuous. He sat on the bench is ambiguous.

    I watched him sit on the bench would suggest that I watched him sit down on the bench.
    I watched him sitting on the bench suggests that I watched him while he was seated on the bench, unless he took a long time to lower his behind onto the bench.

    The guy in the video might have said "watch me sitting here", or "watch me as I sit here", if he wanted to stress that it's the sitting that's in progress, but I wouldn't have noticed the difference if I'd heard him speaking. It's not an error.

    It's fun for you to watch me sit here - perhaps he doesn't mean the sitting that's in progress, but that viewers think it's fun whenever he sits there all puzzled.
     

    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    The verb "sit" may mean "the action of sitting down", which takes a few seconds, and "the state of sitting", which is continuous. He sat on the bench is ambiguous.

    I watched him sit on the bench would suggest that I watched him sit down on the bench.
    I watched him sitting on the bench suggests that I watched him while he was seated on the bench, unless he took a long time to lower his behind onto the bench.

    The guy in the video might have said "watch me sitting here", or "watch me as I sit here", if he wanted to stress that it's the sitting that's in progress, but I wouldn't have noticed the difference if I'd heard him speaking. It's not an error.

    It's fun for you to watch me sit here - perhaps he doesn't mean the sitting that's in progress, but that viewers think it's fun whenever he sits there all puzzled.
    It's a usual problem when they analyse such grammar constructions. The answer is simple the meaning of the infinite verbs is just a concept. To understand such grammar construction, nobody needs to take into account the theory of the finite verbs.
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It's a usual problem when they analyse such grammar constructions. The answer is simple the meaning of the infinite verbs is just a concept. To understand such grammar construction, nobody needs to take into account the theory of the finite verbs.
    I don't quite follow you there.

    My intention in posting #69 was to point out that this new example with sit/sitting isn't quite as straightforward as watch someone do/doing or indeed watch someone ride/riding.
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    Standard General American English USA
    I'm confused again. We use the bare infinitive when we saw the whole action and 'ing' when the action was in progress, like in:

    I saw her eating a banana. (action in progress)
    I saw her eat a banana. (the whole banana was eaten)

    right?


    So, now, this Canadian had trouble with the Internet while doing a livestream, all the viewers were waiting for more questions to be answered, and he said "It's probably fun for you to watch me sit here all puzzled." The 'sitting' was clearly in progress and would continue, so why didn't he say "It's probably fun for you to watch me sitting here all puzzled."?

    View attachment 37110

    The idea of sit is an ongoing state. When we sit, it is always in progress until we stand.

    The idea that we see the whole action with the simple form and see part of the action with the progressive form is only a guideline. There is no rule of structure here. A speaker chooses one, in the moment, depending on the speaker's viewpoint of the action.

    It could be that it turns out that most of the time when we use the simple form we see the whole action after a verb of perception and we use the progressive form when we see part of the action after a verb of perception. However, this is a guide. We have to take into consideration the meaning of the verb and the entire context. That said, there is no structure rule here to follow, necessarily. We have to ask ourselves if the sentence makes sense when speaking with learners about whether or not a sentence is correct with this particular topic.

    So, in this case, with this topic, meaning comes first and then structure, which is to say whether or not we choose the simple form or the ing progressive form.
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    The idea of sit is an ongoing state.
    No it isn't. the verb sit may be used for an action or for a state. If I give my dog the order Sit! I usually want him to stay seated, but that isn't necessarily implied by the verb. If my restless dog could speak he might very reasonably say to me, "If you wanted me to stay sitting for half an hour, you should have told me so".
     

    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    My intention in posting #69 was to point out that this new example with sit/sitting isn't quite as straightforward as watch someone do/doing or indeed watch someone ride/riding.
    [/QUOTE]

    Sorry for delay. Agree.It is not of course straightforward as 'watch someone do/doing. ' if the sentence has complements as 'down' after the verb 'sit.' In such a case there is a paraphrase of such a sentence: 'It's probably funny that you can watch that I am sitting down here all puzzled." It is another meaning.
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    Standard General American English USA
    If someone says, "Please have a seat if you would like. I'll be with you in a couple minutes", and the listener accepts the offer, then this person enters a state of sitting, and that state is ongoing until the person stands again.

    I saw him sit on the bench. < He completed the action of sitting on the bench and is now in a state of sitting.

    He has now entered a state of sitting.

    I saw him sitting on the bench. < This means that whoever saw him sitting likely saw him for only part of the time. However, this is not necessarily so. The listener might have watched the person finish the activity of sitting on the bench and then sit on the bench until the person stood up and walked away. We don't know unless we are there.

    "I saw him sitting on the bench, and then he got up and walked away." < Maybe, the speaker saw him at the very start of the sitting, or, maybe, the speaker saw him in the middle of the sitting.

    So whether or not we use the simple form or the ing progressive form after a verb of perception depends on the speaker's viewoint and the context.
     
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    kngram

    Senior Member
    Russian
    If someone says, "Please have a seat if you would like. I'll be with you in a couple minutes", and the listener accepts the offer, then this person enters a state of sitting, and that state is ongoing until the person stands again.

    I saw him sit on the bench. < He completed the action of sitting on the bench and is now in a state of sitting.

    He has now entered a state of sitting.

    I saw him sitting on the bench. < This means that whoever saw him sitting likely saw him for only part of the time. However, this is not necessarily so. The listener might have watched the person finish the activity of sitting on the bench and then sit on the bench until the person stood up and walked away. We don't know unless we are there.

    "I saw him sitting on the bench, and then he got up and walked away." < Maybe, the speaker saw him at the very start of the sitting, or, maybe, the speaker saw him in the middle of the sitting.

    So as to whether or not we use the simple form or the ing progressive form after a verb of perception depends on the speaker's viewoint and the context.
    It seems to be the point. The context can give the clue to understand a nuanced meaning with such construction if we'd want to use it.
     

    Steven David

    Senior Member
    Standard General American English USA
    It seems to be the point. The context can give the clue to understand a nuanced meaning with such construction if we'd want to use it.

    Yes, and I suppose such specificity is very important in courtrooms when listening to witness testimony.

    Were you there the whole time while he was sitting on the bench? Can you tell us how long he was sitting on the bench? Did you see him sit down at the very start?

    This could be very important to someone's alibi.
     

    forgoodorill

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    The idea that we see the whole action with the simple form and see part of the action with the progressive form is only a guideline. There is no rule of structure here. A speaker chooses one, in the moment, depending on the speaker's viewpoint of the action.

    It could be that it turns out that most of the time when we use the simple form we see the whole action after a verb of perception and we use the progressive form when we see part of the action after a verb of perception. However, this is a guide. We have to take into consideration the meaning of the verb and the entire context. That said, there is no structure rule here to follow, necessarily. We have to ask ourselves if the sentence makes sense when speaking with learners about whether or not a sentence is correct with this particular topic.

    So, in this case, with this topic, meaning comes first and then structure, which is to say whether or not we choose the simple form or the ing progressive form.
    :thumbsup::)This is something need to be understood and be part of our learning attitude! Not just take notes!
    Thanks, Steven David!:thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
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