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Hi,

I had a sentence in the english test book

Who was the first person.................the South Pole?

They give two choice : reaching and to reach

And their answer is to reach

My question is what is the difference between them?

I think all they are equivalent to

Who was the first person who (that) reached the South Pole?

Thanks.
Comments  
I think "reaching" could be interpreted as "who was reaching". The infinitive to reach denotes completed action whereas "reaching" doesn't.

I saw people crossing the river. (who were crossing the river; not sure if they made it to the opposite side)

I saw people cross the river. (they made it to the opposite side)
IvanhrI think "reaching" could be interpreted as "who was reaching". The infinitive to reach denotes completed action whereas "reaching" doesn't.

I saw people crossing the river. (who were crossing the river; not sure if they made it to the opposite bank)

I saw people cross the river. (they made it to the opposite bank)

Hi Ivanhr,

Thanks for your help.

In your sentence :

I saw people cross the river.

Is there two finite verb (saw and cross) in it? Can a sentence have more than one finite verb?

By the way, could you explain to me how to reduce those adjective clause:

I know the girl who lives in that house.

-> I know the girl living in that house.

I know the girl who lived in that house. (she moved last year)

-> ?

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Is there any body who can help me?
Hi James,
I see it like this:
james doI saw people cross the river.

Is there two finite verb (saw and cross) in it? Can a sentence have more than one finite verb?

Yes, to my knowledge, this pattern is grammatical with verbs like "see", "hear", i.e. I heard Mary sing a few times before, she is good.
additional examples:

I see Paul walk / walking his dog everyday when I leave for work. "Walking" yields a higher degree of visuality in the mind that the act was in motion.
Whether bare infinitve or present participle should be used in a given context depends on the author's perception, or interpretation of a situation. In the sentence, "I saw them cross the river" I can depicts this picture such that these people had just completed the river crossing and I caught a glimse of the last person getting out of the water as I emerged from the dense woods. That's one scenario.
I can also say "I saw them crossing the river as / (when) I emerged from the woods".
This paints a clear picture in which the act of their crossing was in progress when you saw them.

"I heard / saw Mary talking to somebogy at the door a few minutes ago" . Present particple (talking) It's more commonly used than bare infintive.

By the way, could you explain to me how to reduce those adjective clause:

I know the girl who lives in that house. - This relative clause is fine

-> I know the girl living in that house. - This is a present particple construction making up the non-finite clasue. This also ok.

I know the girl who lived in that house. (she moved last year) Grammatically, it looks fine. but semantically, it doesn't quite work for me. I would prefer "I know the girl who used to live in that house". If your intention was to mean "she had lived there before but she moved..."

Hope that answered your inquiries...
Hi dimsumexpress,

Your explaination was so clear. That's all I need. Thank you very much.
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james doHi dimsumexpress,
Your explaination was so clear. That's all I need. Thank you very much.

Any time!Emotion: wink