1

Sentence : Witnesses on ground reported seeing flames coming from one of the plane's engines.

I could see the above sentence in ndtv news application. Could you someone please explain whether this sentence is correct ? Because I would think the sentence should be as below ,

Witnesses on ground reported ARE seeing flames coming from one of the plane's engines.

5
  • 4
    No. It's correct, according to *reporters' standards. Compare 'Witnesses reported seeing flames.' It's the same sentence structure as 'Witnesses remembered seeing flames.'// *The omission of 'the' from 'on the ground' is an example of 'headlinese'. Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 12:43
  • 1
    Definitely not are seeing. The formal (as distinct from reporters') version would be reported that they had seen flames... Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 13:24
  • Headlinese. That's a great word.
    – Mr Ethernet
    Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 13:57
  • @Kate Bunting CED doesn't flag the 'report seeing' usage (it includes an example of this form) as not being formal. Longman likewise. And I'd not add an (informality / colloquial / slang ...) caveat for the usage either. Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 14:17
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that it was colloquial. I was just picking up on your 'according to reporters' standards' and pointing out a more formal version. Commented Dec 2, 2019 at 16:15

1 Answer 1

2

The original sentence is correct (although it might be missing a "the"):

Witnesses on the ground reported seeing flames coming from one of the plane's engines.

You asked if the sentence is missing the verb "are". It isn't.

"Are" would be the present tense, and this statement is about something that happened in the past. They reported (past tense of 'report') it. The word "seeing" is only in the present tense because you can use the present tense when you describe events as the occured in the past.

The same sentence could be rendered using entirely past tense:

Witnesses on the ground reported that they saw flames coming from one of the plane's engines.

Or, if the reports were still coming in, it would be possible to speak in the present tense:

Witnesses on the ground are reporting that they can see flames coming from one of the plane's engines.

OR

Witnesses on the ground report they are seeing flames coming from one of the plane's engines.

You must log in to answer this question.