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I saw Tom got out of the car

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,
I have a question about the usage of "see".

(a) I saw Tom get out of the car.
(b) I saw Tom getting out of the car.
(c) I saw Tom got out of the car.

I believe (a) would be used, but how about (b) and (c)? Do they sound natural?
If (c) is used, does "see" in it have a different meaning than the others?

Thanks in advance.

Hirashin
 

joadbres

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(a) and (b) are both perfectly fine, and natural. Strictly speaking, there is a slight difference. (a) implies that the observer ("I") observed the completed action; i.e., the observer saw Tom completely emerge from the car. (b) only implies that the observer saw Tom at one point while he was in the act of emerging from the car, and did not necessarily see Tom fully emerge. In practice, though, these two sentences are used interchangeably, with the exact same meaning.

Upon first reading it, (c) sounds horribly ungrammatical. After thinking about it a little bit, though, it could be acceptable as a shorthand version of "I saw (that) Tom got out of the car." In this case, as you suspected, "saw" has a slightly different meaning. It means something along the lines of "became aware of (perhaps by reading about it, or perhaps by some other means)". Here are a couple of example sentences using "saw" in this fashion:
- I saw that the Yankees won last night.
- I saw that the sales tax rate will go up again next year.

When teaching Japanese high school students, though, it is simplest to teach that (a) and (b) are both correct, and (c) is wrong.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for the help and advice.
When teaching Japanese high school students, though, it is simplest to teach that (a) and (b) are both correct, and (c) is wrong.
Yes. I'm going to tell them so.

- I saw that the Yankees won last night.
- I saw that the sales tax rate will go up again next year.
Do you also say these?
(1a) I saw on TV that the Yankees won last night.
(1b) I saw in the paper that the Yankees won last night.
(2a) I saw on TV that the sales tax rate will go up again next year.
(2b) I saw in the paper that the sales tax rate will go up again next year.
 

joadbres

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Thanks for the help and advice.
Do you also say these?
(1a) I saw on TV that the Yankees won last night.
(1b) I saw in the paper that the Yankees won last night.
(2a) I saw on TV that the sales tax rate will go up again next year.
(2b) I saw in the paper that the sales tax rate will go up again next year.
Yes, those are all fine, but words like "on TV" or "in the paper" are often omitted from normal speech unless for some reason it is important to let the listener know about the source of the news.
 
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