I saw her dance. I saw John eat the cake.

we know that here in this structure we are to use "present tense" of the verb 'dance' and "eat", but what about their being third person "John" and "She" is thrid person, why the verb doesn't take third person "s"?

  • 7
    Not the 'present tense', but the 'bare infinitive' (which is the infinitive of a verb without a preceding 'to'). Sep 4, 2023 at 8:11
  • @MichaelHarvey Thank you man.
    – Shahrooz
    Sep 4, 2023 at 8:22
  • 2
    It is also possible to use the -ing verb form in such constructions. For example: "I saw John eating the cake." This form can be used to indicate that you saw John in the process of eating the cake, but not necessarily finishing it. "I saw John eat the cake", on the other hand, implies that you saw him eat it up.
    – Shoe
    Sep 4, 2023 at 19:16

1 Answer 1


"Eat the cake" is a bare infinitive. Verbs of perception allow the following structure

Subject verb object bare-infinitive

The explicit object of the verb is the understood subject of the infinitive. You'll note that the infinitive has the base form of the verb, it doesn't change for tense or person:

I saw him eat the cake. (not ate)

She hears him say her name. (not says)

You'll notice that the word "him" has the object form, even though it's the understood subject of the infinitive "eat".

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