Gerund

English grammar questions, answered by Alan

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Brahman
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Gerund

Post by Brahman » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:37 am

I remember that the following sentences are fine in formal register:

1. I heard Jamie's singing in the bath.

2. They remember the cast's rehearsing for days.

I was, however, told that the following types of sentences with pronouns like "someone" and "something" are incorrect; now, I do not remember the reasons. Could someone please tell me what the reasons are? I appreciate it:

3. The witness saw someone's running away.

4. We could smell something's burning.


Thank you very much

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Alan
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Re: Gerund

Post by Alan » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:11 am

The rule is that verbs of perception (see, hear, smell, notice, etc.) govern a direct object complemented by either an infinitive or a present participle (heard HIM sing/singing), depending on the degree of completeness of the perceived action (infinitive = complete, participle=partial). Thus #1 is also incorrect, or at best, highly unnatural.

'Remember' however is not a member of the same syntactic group, and therefore, in formal usage, can take a gerund construction as object.

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