I was reading a story "The piece of string" by Guy de Maupassant, when I read this line:

"Mr. Manana, the harness man saw you pick up the pocketbook."

I read it several times and it didn't seemed correct to me.

I want to ask if picking up would be the correct form to use instead of pick up, or better. Or is it just a difference of American English and UK English ?


The only difference I can see is the matter of completion.

I saw him pick up the book

Indicates that the action was completed.

I saw him picking up the book

Does not necessarily mean that the viewer ever saw the action completed.

The difference is pretty much negligible and comes down to a stylistic choice. Both options are correct.

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The phrases "I saw you pick up the book"

and "I saw you picking up the book"

They both mean essentially the same and they are both correct.

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  • Welcome to the ELL :-). A more in-depth explanation would make this a better answer this way it's more of a comment. – Lucky May 22 '15 at 22:41

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