There is a song written by the songwriter "Saint Mesa" called Fire that includes the line:

I see fire / Come from below

Full lyrics

I am not a native english speaker and I can't understand why it's "come" when my knowledge of English grammar suggests "comes" should be used.

  • It could be dialect. Who is Saint Mesa and where do they come from?
    – mdewey
    Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 15:28

2 Answers 2

  • "I see fire come from below" describes a single event.

  • "Fire comes from below" is a general statement about where fire comes from.

You would probably have understood it better if they'd said "I saw fire come from below", but as an artistic device, the lyrics are written in the present tense, as if the first person is describing what they can see in real-time.


The sentence is correct as it is. See is a verb of perception. Englishgrammar explains that

Hear, see, watch, notice and similar verbs of perception can be followed by object + infinitive without to or object + -ing form.

Sometimes a difference in the use of these verbs with bare infinintive or -ing form can be made.

The infinitive is used after these verbs when we want to say that we hear or see the whole of an action or event. The –ing form is used to suggest that we hear an action or event in progress.

Thus for example:

  • I heard her sing a lovely song. (As I sat listening, she started singing a song and I listened to her until she finished it.)


  • I heard her singing a song as I walked past her room. (When I heard her she was singing a song – she was probably in the middle of her singing. Anyway, I didn’t hear the entire song.)

So in your sentence

I see fire come from below.

fire is the object and it is followed by a bare infinitve. This indicates that the author of the sentence considers the action of come as an event in itself, and is less concerned with its duration.

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