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Hi guys

1. We say "I saw him run across the road." What I'm puzzled by is why the verb is not 'ran' when the preceding verb 'saw' is in the simple past tense? Is there any reason for this irregularity?

2. We also say "I saw him running across the road." Is there any difference in meaning between the first and this sentence?

3. The number 40 is spelt 'forty'. Is there any reason why the 'u' has disappeared?
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Hello, Yoon Liat!

It is not an irregularity. The verb "see" is followed by either an infinitive or by an -ing form.

If you say "I saw him run across the road", you saw him actually reach the other side of the road, you saw the whole action. If you say "I saw him running across the road", well, you just saw him in the process, and you didn't necessarily see him reach the other side of the street.

I have no idea about the "u" of "forty", sorry!
I saw him run = you saw the whole of the process
I saw him running = only a part of it did I see
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Yoong Liat,

You can't say I saw him ran..., because ran is Past tense => Finite form=>Predicate. A predicate always requires a subject. In your sentence, the only subject is I and its predicate is saw.

Run is a verbal (Infinitive). You can try other verbals in its place: I saw him run over by a car; I saw him crossing the street; (comp.) I saw him unhappy.

Regards,

Slava
InchoateknowledgeI saw him run = you saw the whole of the process
I saw him running = only a part of it did I see
I can't disagree with you - I'm not sure. However, I would suggest another interpretation:

  • I saw him run... - I saw that he meant to be on the opposite side of the street;
  • I saw him running... - I saw what he was doing, but for why...


  • Just a guess,

    Slava
Hi Slava,
I don't think the distinction is whether or not you knew his reason for running. I saw him running represents a still photo; I saw him run is a complete film. If you get what I mean.

Yoong Liat asks why four (and fourteen) but forty. There's no real explanation. Like all the other anomalies in English spelling it's the result of the fact that when printing was introduced into England there were still no clear ideas about how to spell words, how to represent certain sounds etc. and standard spellings seem to have been established by compromise with no clear logic.
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I do agree with you, J Lewis Emotion: smile
I see Jonathan. I thought there could be a semantic pattern.

Thanks again
Pieanne wrote: "I have no idea about the "u" of "forty", sorry!" I will pose the question again in the hope that someone can give me a reason: Why is 'forty' spelt without a 'u'?
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