(sentence 1) He saw me happy swimming. (sentence 2) You see me happy working with me.

Without any context, who is the subject of the sentences above? In sentence 1, Who is the subject of swimming? And in sentence 2, who is the subject of working? Do we have to judge the subject according to the sentence? Please, tell me.

  • 1
    Neither of your sentences is really grammatical. They're certainly not idiomatic. But He and You are the subject of the verbs saw and see in your sentences.
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 17:38
  • Then, how about this? 1. He saw me happy who is swimming. 2. You see me happy while working with me.
    – 박용현
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 18:00
  • 1
    I don't know what you're trying to say, but I'll try to help. It should read this way: "He saw me happy while I was swimming." "He saw me happily swimming." Your second sentence, "You see me happy while working with me" is okay, but not great. Maybe, it'd be better if it were, "You notice that I'm happy whenever we are working together." I just don't know what you're saying exactly because the sentences are idiomatically off and ambiguous.
    – Nick
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 18:36
  • It seems your question is not "Who is the subject?" but how to understand the participle clauses, "swimming" and "working with me".
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 19:06

2 Answers 2


Your examples (including in the comment) are ungrammatical or at least awkward.

You can say the following:

You see me happy.

Because it is clear that "happy" refers to "me," it is fine to use this construct in everyday conversation. However, if you add a phrase after "happy," the sentence can become confusing and awkward:

You see me happy while working with me|you. [AWKWARD]

Instead, you can use the adverb happily. Remember to keep the adverb next to the verb it modifies, which is swimming. Either of the following is good:

He saw me happily swimming.

He saw me swimming happily.

You see me happily working with you.

Another good option is to clarify who is happy, like this:

You see that I am happy when I am working with you.

  • 1
    Yeah, I tried to help him out in my comment above, but I had a hard time understanding precisely what he is trying to say; however, I had an idea as to what he is trying in his question. Some of it is ambiguous, however.
    – Nick
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 18:40

These sentences involve an adjective and a participle in a row: I think that the meaning you intend is that the first adjective is valid when the participle clause is true: the omission of the when is theoretically possible but adds to the confusion. Here is the complete first sentence:

You see me happy when I am swimming

If the subject and verb are omitted form the participle clause, we assume that the subject of the participle is the same as the subject of the adjective, so this means the same:

You see me happy when swimming

If the subject is not the same as for the adjective, it is always necessary to specify the subject:

You see me happy when you are swimming

The second sentence doesn't make sene, because without a specified subject we assume me/I, and so this is what it means:

You see me happy when I am working with me.

This clearly doesn't make sense, so I think that the intended meaning requires you to specify the subject, for example:

You see me happy when you are working with me.

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