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I could see it going down the drain.

In this sentence, I want to ask whether "going" is a gerund or "going down" is a phrasal verb.

And is the word "see" modifying "it" or is "going" modifying "it"? Please explain properly because I am a novice.

  • 3
    This is a catenative construction where "going" is a gerund-participle verb heading the gerund-participial clause "going down the drain", which functions as complement of "see". "It" is the syntactic object of "see", and the understood subject of the subordinate clause. – BillJ Apr 29 '18 at 14:30
  • You mean that gerund participle clause is modifying SEE and please explain which one is the subordinate clause – Ahmed Apr 29 '18 at 18:05
  • No: the gerund-participial clause is not a modifier, but a complement of "see". the g-p clause is the subordinate one. – BillJ Apr 29 '18 at 18:09

I see X. X is the object of see. x = "it going down the drain" is a clause that serves as the object of the sentence.

Separately, if we look at the sentence this clause would be based on: "It is going down the drain", we see that "is going" is the verb, and "down the drain" is the object clause "Where is it going? Down the drain."

Putting everything together:

"I see [it going (down the drain)]."

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