Which verb form is correct?

They saw that lady broke it last year


They saw that lady break it last year

closed as off-topic by user3169, LMS, JMB, Andrew, Adam May 15 '18 at 2:53

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions asking for someone to find and correct errors or improve the phrasing are considered requests for proofreading and are off-topic. Please edit your question to focus on something in particular that you are unsure about; if that's not possible, see websites for proofreading instead." – user3169, LMS, JMB, Andrew
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


If "they" actually witnessed the act of breaking, then you should use:

They saw that lady break it last year

This is because "saw" puts "them" into the past tense, but "break" is present, so it implies they were actually there at the time.

The second option "they saw that lady broke it last year" does not necessarily mean that "they" witnessed the breakage. Because "broke" is in the past tense it could imply that "they" merely became aware of the breakage afterwards.

For example:

I saw President Trump went to Switzerland.

This could mean that you "saw" this retrospectively, perhaps that you read about it in a newspaper. Whereas...

I saw President Trump go to Switzerland.

... would imply that you actually saw him leave.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.