If you are at a bus stop, and see a bus coming, which version would you say, 1 or 2?
- I see a bus come.
- I see a bus coming.
If it is #2, then what does #1 mean exactly?
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I see a bus come.
I see a bus coming.
When you say I see a bus come, it means the bus has already come, and now stopped at the stand. When you say I see a bus coming, it means the bus is on its way to the stop, progressing.
We saw Kim leave the bank.
We saw Kim leaving the bank.
Slight as it is, there is a difference in meaning between those sentences.
In sentence #1, we saw the whole event of Kim's leaving the bank, while in sentence #2, we saw a segment of it. Sentence #2 has a progressive meaning in it. The contrast is same as that between Kim left the bank and Kim was leaving the bank.
From - CGEL page no. 1237
Some other example sentences might be helpful -
I saw him play.
I saw him playing.
In sentence #3, it is meant that I saw his playing throughout the match, while in sentence #2, it meant that I saw his playing for sometime during the match. Something like that.
In the present tense, only the first sentence is correct. However, in the past, both can be correct, but have a different meaning. Here's why:
Using come means that you saw the entire action of the bus driving to the bus stop.
I saw the bus come to the bus stop.
Coming, on the other hand means that at some point in time you saw the bus driving towards the bus stop, but you did not see the entire action. You haven't seen it from start to finish.
I saw the bus coming.
This doesn't necessarily mean they didn't actually see the bus come all the way to the stop, but they're only speaking about a moment in time where they saw that the bus was on its way to the bus stop.
You are at a particular bus stop. You are looking at a particular bus which is coming (i.e. the process is going on).
You describe a 'clear context'. The process of bus coming to the stand.
I see the bus coming.
I see a bus come is not grammatical unless you are speaking in a biblical way. However, that too, I'm not sure!