There is a point in the "choose the correct answer" question that goes like " "The old man ....... to cross the crowded street."
1- has seen
2- has been seen
3- sees
4 - is being seen.

My teacher says that "has been seen" is the correct answer not "is being seen" because "seen" can't come in the present continuous, however, that's on account that "seen" here means "watch". But if "seen" means "helped" or "shown the way" can't it come in the present continuous?

Plus that if "seen" in "has been seen" means watched, then there will be no "to" and the verb "cross" will be instead crossing. But if it also means "helped" or "shown the way" then both of them are right.

So which one is right and why?

  • 1
    We would say "being seen across the street" not "being seen to cross the street". Jan 21, 2020 at 18:49
  • "to see" can be used in the continuous form, but with a different meaning: If you are seeing a doctor or a lawyer, you have an appointment with them, whereas if you are seeing someone, you are involved in a romantic relationship.
    – anouk
    Jan 21, 2020 at 18:51
  • 1
    "My teacher says that (...) "seen" can't come in the present continuous." I vehemently disagree with that. Jan 21, 2020 at 20:08
  • The example sentence is unfortunate because it risks confusion with a quite different usage of the verb "to see', namely that exemplified by the statement "let me see you to the door", meaning "let me accompany you to the door". One might "see" an old man across the road, in the sense of making sure that he safely passes from one side of the road to the other. That is not exactly the same as "see the old man to cross the road" but it is sufficiently close to cause confusion amongst learners of English.
    – JeremyC
    Jan 21, 2020 at 22:57


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