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parousia
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Postby parousia » 2005-05-03, 22:24

Yes, I think I understand what you're talking about...

I perceive almost no difference between <saw him fall> and <saw him falling>. <saw him falling> may convey just a little bit more of a sense of immediacy, but that's all. I asked another native speaker here and got the same response. So, you can say

David fell down the steps. Rachel saw him falling.
David was walking with a stick. Rachel saw him walk across the road.


and convey exactly the same meaning. Perhaps a linguist could explain the difference (if any!). :roll: The only idea I have is that because one form will always be shorter than the other (syllable-wise), a speaker may opt for one over the other to modulate the rythm of his expression.

Geez, what kinda grammar d'ya have? :?

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Postby Dardallion » 2005-05-04, 12:30

[quote="parousia]
The expression We're looking to (somebody/something) + infinitif means that you're relying on somebody/something to do something. You're counting on them.
[/quote]

Totally right, except the infinitive is 'to help' not helping, so the phrase should be,
'we're looking to you to help us'
'helping' is many things, but in this situation I would say it is the verbal noun.

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Postby Dardallion » 2005-05-04, 12:36

parousia wrote:Yes, I think I understand what you're talking about...

I perceive almost no difference between <saw him fall> and <saw him falling>. <saw him falling> may convey just a little bit more of a sense of immediacy, but that's all. I asked another native speaker here and got the same response. So, you can say

David fell down the steps. Rachel saw him falling.
David was walking with a stick. Rachel saw him walk across the road.


and convey exactly the same meaning. Perhaps a linguist could explain the difference (if any!). :roll: The only idea I have is that because one form will always be shorter than the other (syllable-wise), a speaker may opt for one over the other to modulate the rythm of his expression.

Geez, what kinda grammar d'ya have? :?


Well, if you say 'I saw him fall', the emphasis is on the fact that he fell, not on the act of falling. If you say 'I saw him falling', the emphasis is on the act of falling, and the thing that matters something that happens during the time he is falling.

Another emphasis, shown by varying degrees of stress when spoken, could be that if you say, 'I saw him fall', it is important that you saw it, while in the other sentence it matters only that he fell.

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Postby paruha » 2005-05-04, 14:01

parousia wrote:Geez, what kinda grammar d'ya have? :?

an Oxford one


It's something like what Dardallion expained. :)
Защо да харчим пари, които нямаме, за да купим неща, които не са ни нужни, така че да впечатлим хора, които не харесваме?

I don't even remember what standard deviation is.
BezierCurve: It's some important part of sadistics, I believe.

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Postby parousia » 2005-05-04, 14:47

Dardallion wrote:
parousia wrote:The expression We're looking to (somebody/something) + infinitif means that you're relying on somebody/something to do something. You're counting on them.

Totally right, except the infinitive is 'to help' not helping, so the phrase should be,
'we're looking to you to help us'
'helping' is many things, but in this situation I would say it is the verbal noun.



I don't know what you're referring to. Where do you see "helping" used or discussed?

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Postby parousia » 2005-05-04, 15:06

Dardallion wrote: Well, if you say 'I saw him fall', the emphasis is on the fact that he fell, not on the act of falling. If you say 'I saw him falling', the emphasis is on the act of falling, and the thing that matters something that happens during the time he is falling.

Another emphasis, shown by varying degrees of stress when spoken, could be that if you say, 'I saw him fall', it is important that you saw it, while in the other sentence it matters only that he fell.


mmm... nope.. I don't perceive this difference. Sure, the speaker could intend to make such a distinction, but I don't think this difference is inherent in the structure of the locution or established by usage. (But of course you're welcome to PROVE me wrong! :D Please do! Maybe Paruha's Oxford "grammar" will persuade me...) It seems more likely the distinction will come from stress put on certain words, and of course, context.

Paruha wrote:an Oxford one


What is the title? I'd be interested to know what it has to say. Is it long? Could you post what it says?

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Postby paruha » 2005-05-04, 17:03

parousia wrote:
Paruha wrote:an Oxford one


What is the title? I'd be interested to know what it has to say. Is it long? Could you post what it says?

Oxford Practice Grammar with answers, but don't have the time at the moment to post what it says.
Защо да харчим пари, които нямаме, за да купим неща, които не са ни нужни, така че да впечатлим хора, които не харесваме?

I don't even remember what standard deviation is.
BezierCurve: It's some important part of sadistics, I believe.

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Postby Dardallion » 2005-05-07, 21:32

parousia wrote:
Dardallion wrote:
parousia wrote:The expression We're looking to (somebody/something) + infinitif means that you're relying on somebody/something to do something. You're counting on them.

Totally right, except the infinitive is 'to help' not helping, so the phrase should be,
'we're looking to you to help us'
'helping' is many things, but in this situation I would say it is the verbal noun.



I don't know what you're referring to. Where do you see "helping" used or discussed?


Sorry - I thought I remembered it from the exercise, but maybe it was 'assisting'. Either way it ended in ~ing which makes it either a gerund, a participle form, or a verbal noun, not an infinitive, which, depending on if it is full or simple, will respectively be 'to assist' or 'assist'.

parousia wrote:
dardallion wrote:Well, if you say 'I saw him fall', the emphasis is on the fact that he fell, not on the act of falling. If you say 'I saw him falling', the emphasis is on the act of falling, and the thing that matters something that happens during the time he is falling.

Another emphasis, shown by varying degrees of stress when spoken, could be that if you say, 'I saw him fall', it is important that you saw it, while in the other sentence it matters only that he fell.


mmm... nope.. I don't perceive this difference. Sure, the speaker could intend to make such a distinction, but I don't think this difference is inherent in the structure of the locution or established by usage. (But of course you're welcome to PROVE me wrong! Please do! Maybe Paruha's Oxford "grammar" will persuade me...) It seems more likely the distinction will come from stress put on certain words, and of course, context.


Of course, lets bare in mind differences in dialect. In my native British English, the distinction is as above, but perhaps in the USA it's different.
In language there can be no proof, it's all about popular perception. It is, in the words of Bill Brsyon, 'more of a fashion than a science'.

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Postby parousia » 2005-05-07, 22:16

Dardallion wrote:
parousia wrote:
Dardallion wrote:
parousia wrote:The expression We're looking to (somebody/something) + infinitif means that you're relying on somebody/something to do something. You're counting on them.

Totally right, except the infinitive is 'to help' not helping, so the phrase should be,
'we're looking to you to help us'
'helping' is many things, but in this situation I would say it is the verbal noun.



I don't know what you're referring to. Where do you see "helping" used or discussed?


Sorry - I thought I remembered it from the exercise, but maybe it was 'assisting'. Either way it ended in ~ing which makes it either a gerund, a participle form, or a verbal noun, not an infinitive, which, depending on if it is full or simple, will respectively be 'to assist' or 'assist'.


That's Ok, but the sentence in the exercise was:
We're looking to you to assist us.
"to assist" is an infinitive.

By the way, a gerund IS a verbal noun.
See http://www.tiscali.co.uk/reference/dict ... 82139.html
(It's a UK reference :wink: )


Dardallion wrote:
parousia wrote:
dardallion wrote:Well, if you say 'I saw him fall', the emphasis is on the fact that he fell, not on the act of falling. If you say 'I saw him falling', the emphasis is on the act of falling, and the thing that matters something that happens during the time he is falling.

Another emphasis, shown by varying degrees of stress when spoken, could be that if you say, 'I saw him fall', it is important that you saw it, while in the other sentence it matters only that he fell.


mmm... nope.. I don't perceive this difference. Sure, the speaker could intend to make such a distinction, but I don't think this difference is inherent in the structure of the locution or established by usage. (But of course you're welcome to PROVE me wrong! Please do! Maybe Paruha's Oxford "grammar" will persuade me...) It seems more likely the distinction will come from stress put on certain words, and of course, context.


Of course, lets bare in mind differences in dialect. In my native British English, the distinction is as above, but perhaps in the USA it's different.
In language there can be no proof, it's all about popular perception. It is, in the words of Bill Brsyon, 'more of a fashion than a science'.


Yes, it would be impossible to 'prove' this in the logical sense, but I can imagine someone doing a usage study to come to some conclusions about how the two alternatives are perceived or at least how they are used. I do believe that, sometimes, one is preferred over the other; I just don't know what determines this preference. I would have to look at LOTS of examples. I thought Paruha's grammar could be enlightening.

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Postby paruha » 2005-05-08, 10:11

See it happen:
We saw Trevor plant the tree. (He planted the tree. We saw him do the whole job.)
I watched NIck light a cigarette.
We noticed a young an sit down and order a meal.

See it happening:
We saw Trevor plating the tree. (He was planting the tree. We saw him in the middle of the job.)
I watched Nick smoking a cigarette.
We noticed a young man sitting at the table eating a meal.

When we talk about short action, it often does not matter which structure we use.

See it happen: We can use this structure with the following verbs: feel hear, listen to, notice, see, watch
See it happening: We can use this structure with the following verbs: feel, find, hear, listen to, notice, see, smell, watch



(I skipped some of the examples, but I think they aren't that important)
Защо да харчим пари, които нямаме, за да купим неща, които не са ни нужни, така че да впечатлим хора, които не харесваме?

I don't even remember what standard deviation is.
BezierCurve: It's some important part of sadistics, I believe.

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Postby Dardallion » 2005-05-09, 12:30

Well that's the sort of thing I was getting at, but I was trying to explain it differently, in terms of semantics rather than grammar. Anyway I don't know about what people use more widely.

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Postby paruha » 2005-05-09, 16:14

Dardallion wrote:Well that's the sort of thing I was getting at, but I was trying to explain it differently, in terms of semantics rather than grammar. Anyway I don't know about what people use more widely.

yeah, I know :)
Just parousia asked me to write what the grammar says :)
Защо да харчим пари, които нямаме, за да купим неща, които не са ни нужни, така че да впечатлим хора, които не харесваме?

I don't even remember what standard deviation is.
BezierCurve: It's some important part of sadistics, I believe.

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Postby Dardallion » 2005-05-10, 11:49

By the way, a gerund IS a verbal noun.
See http://www.tiscali.co.uk/reference/dict ... 82139.html
(It's a UK reference :wink: )


No, there is a slight difference:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verbal_noun
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerund

As you can see, a gerund is a kind of verbal noun, but not a verbal noun per sé. I listed the two seperately because I feel they have seperate functions.

The way I see it, if we say the following, we are using a gerund:

Acting on instinct, I ran.

While the following uses a verbal noun:

The action was not well executed.

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Postby parousia » 2005-06-01, 10:39

paruha wrote:See it happen:
We saw Trevor plant the tree. (He planted the tree. We saw him do the whole job.)
I watched NIck light a cigarette.
We noticed a young an sit down and order a meal.

See it happening:
We saw Trevor plating the tree. (He was planting the tree. We saw him in the middle of the job.)
I watched Nick smoking a cigarette.
We noticed a young man sitting at the table eating a meal.

When we talk about short action, it often does not matter which structure we use.

See it happen: We can use this structure with the following verbs: feel hear, listen to, notice, see, watch
See it happening: We can use this structure with the following verbs: feel, find, hear, listen to, notice, see, smell, watch



(I skipped some of the examples, but I think they aren't that important)


Thanks for posting that, paruha. It's helpful. I also queried some linguists, and their explanation, though slightly different, is in line with what your grammar says.

As your grammar suggests, the difference becomes more apparent if you take a long-action verb like "build."

1. I saw them build a house.
2. I saw them building a house.

What the linguists pointed out was that #1 means that you saw them finish while #2 means that you saw them while they were doing it - they might not have finished.

To make this very clear, suppose you are taking a walk and you walk past a building site. You see your neighbors building a house. You go back home and tell your mother: #2 "I saw them building a house" not #1 "I saw them build a house." #1 would mean that it's over, finished, so you would need to use #2.

Or another example:

#1 I saw Joe walk across the street.
#2 I saw Joe walking across the street.

At the moment that Joe is half way across the street, you pass by in your car. You don't actually see him get to the other side of the street. In that case, you have to say "I saw Joe walking across the street."

It was really difficult for me to see this difference in the beginning for some reason. :?

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Postby Sido » 2005-06-01, 12:58

The French exercise mentioned by Zoroa
http://home.unilang.org/main/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6007
made me remember these exercises !
I tried them some time ago, but was too depressed by the result :( to post.
Today as I made them again I was surprised to make no mistake in the first one (pick or pick up) and with very few hesitations. So finally I guess I grasped it
The second still leaves me puzzled (3 mistakes instead of 5 or 6 two months ago): is there a rule or is this a question of usage ??
The third, like everybody, I found very easy, Beginners' exercise, ( don't be ashamed Parousia, there are Beginners too :wink: )
Two points about the discussion

1 I saw him fall, I saw him falling
like Dardallion and Paruha I would understand it as a perfective-imperfective difference
in russian I would use two different verbs попасть/падать (and maybe the same in Bulgarian Paruha ?)

2 to "pick up a daisy" would mean for me take it from the grass lifting it up with a directional "up"
am I wrong ?
Dépêchons nous d'en rire avant que d'en pleurer!

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Postby parousia » 2005-06-01, 15:49

Sido wrote:I tried them some time ago, but was too depressed by the result :( to post.
Today as I [s]made[/s] did them again I was surprised to make no mistakes in the first one (pick or pick up) and with very few hesitations. So finally I guess I grasped it


If it's any consolation, the first exercise is quite difficult for foreign speakers because it involves a phrasal verb. And REALLY I've seen very advanced, very fluent speakers (like you!) get those two confused. :)


The second still leaves me puzzled (3 mistakes instead of 5 or 6 two months ago): is there a rule or is this a question of usage ??


I didn't make those exercises with a rule in mind. If there is one, I don't know it. I just tried to come up with uses that people seem to have trouble with.

The third, like everybody, I found very easy, Beginners' exercise, ( don't be ashamed Parousia, there are Beginners too :wink: )


Oh, I don't mind making exercises for beginners. :) It's just that I thought even advanced speakers had trouble with those. I used to teach English as a foreign language, and the confusion of adjectives formed with the present and past participles was quite common. Really! But maybe they weren't as advanced as I thought they were. Or you guys are exceptional! :wink:


Two points about the discussion

1 I saw him fall, I saw him falling
like Dardallion and Paruha I would understand it as a perfective-imperfective difference
in russian I would use two different verbs попасть/падать (and maybe the same in Bulgarian Paruha ?)


I don't know Russian or Bulgarian.. :?

2 to "pick up a daisy" would mean for me take it from the grass lifting it up with a directional "up"
am I wrong ?



Oh, I'm not sure what you mean.. If the daisy is still attached to the plant, then you need to say "pick a daisy" (I think cueiller in French.)

But if it's already detached, and you drop it on the ground, and you take it up off the ground, you can say: "I picked up the daisy."

Another example:

The kitten was very cute. It was playing at my feet. I picked up the kitten and put it on the sofa.

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Postby Sido » 2005-06-02, 10:07

parousia wrote:Oh, I'm not sure what you mean.. If the daisy is still attached to the plant, then you need to say "pick a daisy" (I think cueillir in French.)

Yes I meant "ceuillir" and understood "up" in its "spatial vertical meaning", its original sense I believe, and which apparently is completely forgotten in these examples. That's probably was misled me in this exercise. Not knowing the answer, I tried to relate it to this "upward motion" concept, which indeed was not very succesfull :lol:
Dépêchons nous d'en rire avant que d'en pleurer!


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