I saw her cross the street. I saw her crossing the street.[both cross and crossing are object complements]

I wonder if the 'lying' in the sentence "I saw a small deer lying down in the middle of the road." is used as an attributive usage as an adjective modifying a small deer or it could be an object complement?


1 Answer 1


I saw her [cross the street].

I saw her [crossing the street].

No: although "her" is the object of "saw", "cross the street" and "crossing the street" are not object complements. They are non-finite clauses functioning as complement of "saw".

I saw a small deer [lying down in the middle of the road].

Here, the bracketed participial clause is modifying "small deer" in noun phrase structure. The meaning is similar to the relative clause in "I saw a small deer that lay down in the middle of the road".

  • [that was lain] should be [that was lying]. In my culture, the subject(here object) of 'cross/crossing' is her, so we learn cross/crossing is an object complement(bare infinitive or present participle) in case of the verbs of perception like see, hear, watch, feel, etc.
    – gomadeng
    Dec 27, 2022 at 20:23
  • @BEBYGONES I don't know what you mean by "my culture", but in English grammar, "crossing the road" has no overt subject. "Her" is the syntactic object of "saw" but only the understood (semantic) subject of the subordinate clause. Object complements are either adjective or noun phrases, not clauses.
    – BillJ
    Dec 27, 2022 at 20:37
  • I learned that 'a clause must have one subject and one verb' in my culture. My culture means in our country.
    – gomadeng
    Dec 28, 2022 at 8:36
  • 1
    Non-finite clauses are almost always grammatically subjectless, though they have a semantic (undertstood) subject. "Cross/crossing the street" is a non-finite clause.
    – BillJ
    Dec 28, 2022 at 12:40
  • A matter of grammar 'terms'. Yeah, I understand your explanation now.
    – gomadeng
    Dec 28, 2022 at 19:06

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