None of them noticed a large, tawny owl flutter past the window.

I saw this sentence in the book Harry Potter. I think the sentence should be written as:

  1. None of them noticed a large, tawny owl fluttered past the window.

  2. None of them noticed a large, tawny owl fluttering past the window.

The first one takes "a large, tawny owl fluttered past the window." as a full clause with the past tense applied. And the second one takes fluttering as a present participle describing owl.

Did I get something wrong there?


verbs of sensation:

She saw him run infintive

She saw him running. participle

She saw he ran. reduced clause with finite verb

  • Ok, so all are correct forms then?
    – dan
    Aug 30 '18 at 12:30
  • @dan: noticed an owl flutter is the infinitive form. Aug 30 '18 at 12:31
  • Are the other two sentences I made correct too? I think all of three sentences mean the same.
    – dan
    Aug 30 '18 at 12:38
  • 2
    They don't mean exactly the same thing. There is an aspectual difference between fluttered and fluttering. They're all grammatical, though I think we'd normally find that a large, tawny owl fluttered, FWIW. The weightier the finite subordinate clause, the more likely it is to be introduced with that. But that's just a tendency, not a requirement. And the past perfect there, had fluttered, would be an improvement, IMO. Aug 30 '18 at 12:47

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