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Can one say

a. In front of you, you see a man destroyed.

b. In front of you, you see men destroyed.

if the intended meaning is

c. In front of you, you see a man/men who has/have been destroyed.... a destroyed man/destroyed men.

?

The sentences could mean

d. If front of you, you see a man/men get destroyed.

But could they be used if the 'destruction' is over and done with?

My feeling is that they could be used in poetry with that meaning.

Many thanks.

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  • I have nothing to add to JeezLouise's answer, but wanted to mention that I've seen this form used in various places, often as a bit of an artistic flourish.
    – Upper_Case
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 19:15

1 Answer 1

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Yes.

In front of you, you see a man destroyed.

This can mean:

In front of you, you see a man who has been destroyed.

indicating that the destruction has taken place in the past.

Actually, it only means that the destruction has already taken place. If the destruction is currently taking place, one would say a phrase more like the following:

In front of you, you see a man being destroyed.

In front of you, you see the destruction of a man.

This is because in the sentence "In front of you, you see a man destroyed", destroyed is an adjective, thus meaning that whatever has caused the object (man) to become destroyed has already taken place; similarly, if you say that you are seeing "a man asleep", it means that the man has already fallen asleep.

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