I'm confused by the use of these two tenses "I saw him TAKE it" and "I thought he KNEW it" Why I saw him + infinity form verb but I thought he + past tense??

  • Your second sentence is not grammatical as written. It ought to be "I thought he knew it." – fjack Oct 6 '18 at 21:50

These are just the constructions that those particular verbs happen to take.

"Think" takes a "that" clause, which is finite and therefore tensed (the "that" is often omitted):

I thought [that] he took it.

"See" (in this sense) takes a non-finite clause (and if its subject is a pronoun, it is in the oblique case):

I saw him take it.

You can say "I saw [that] he took it", but it has a rather different meaning: something like "I saw something that led me to conclude that he took it, but I didn't necessarily see him actually take it".

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