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Is here any difference in phrases below:

  1. I saw him having crossed the road.
  2. I saw him cross the road.

  3. I saw him do it.

  4. I saw him having done it.

Are these phrases interchangeable?

1 Answer 1

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"I saw him having crossed the road" is not grammatical English. You could say:

Having crossed the road, I saw him.

Which means "After I crossed the road, I saw him." But even that is a bit awkward. In short, 2 and 3 are grammatical and 1 and 4 are not. You can say:

I saw that he had crossed the road.

This emphasizes that he has finished crossing the road, but now it's no longer clear that you were watching while he was crossing.

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  • Ok, is it possible to say: I saw him having been given the lesson. ? thanks
    – Jane
    Oct 28, 2017 at 16:19
  • No, that's ungrammatical. You could say "I saw him being given the lesson" or "I saw him receiving the lesson".
    – mamster
    Oct 28, 2017 at 16:57
  • 1
    Are you wondering about how to emphasize that you saw a completed action versus an action in progress? To go back to the original example, "I saw him crossing the road" implies that you saw him in the process of crossing but didn't necessarily didn't see him finish crossing. "I saw him cross the road" implies that you saw him finish crossing. In conversation, however, those two expressions are mostly interchangeable.
    – mamster
    Oct 28, 2017 at 17:00
  • @mamster, It should be 1 and 4 is ungrammatical and 2 & 3 are not, right?
    – dan
    Oct 28, 2017 at 23:23
  • Yes, sorry! Will edit.
    – mamster
    Oct 29, 2017 at 4:02

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