Everyone, I am an English learner. I had a question when I was reading the following article from the publication of Minneapolis FED:

The Affordable Care Act has come under much scrutiny since its passage in 2010. The program recently concluded its second annual sign-up period, and while the ACA continues to see enrollments increase, there are a lot of nuances that make the rollout and impact of this law a bit different in every district state.

I am wondering if the "increase" following "enrollments" is a verb, and whether between the verb "see" and the noun "enrollments" there should have been a "that" that is being ignored for simplicity?

By the way, if I want to revise the phrase to be in the verb + object (noun) structure, is it correct that all I have to do is to remove the "s" from enrollments? In doing so, I think the plural noun "enrollments" is reduced to "enrollment" and becomes an adjective.


  • If it helps, you could replace 'ACA continues to see enrollments increase' with 'ACA enrollments continue to increase.' and it would mean the same thing and probably be a bit clearer. 'to see' give the feeling of watching the enrollments increasing over time, but isn't necessary. Jun 12, 2015 at 23:27
  • Welcome to ELL Stack Exchange! That's a pretty good first question. I see a lot of newer users putting multiple questions in a single post, like you have here. These are related enough I'm not going to vote to close, but questions are more useful for future users if they focus on one specific problem. I'm editing your question a little to improve the formatting.
    – DCShannon
    Jun 13, 2015 at 0:18

2 Answers 2


Yes, 'increase' is being used as a verb. If there are more enrollments over time, then enrollments are increasing, and someone observing this would "see enrollments increase".

If you added a 'that', like so:

...while the ACA continues to see that enrollments increase, there are a lot...

It makes it sound like the ACA is causing enrollments to increase. Right now, I am seeing that this question is answered. Someone observing me answer the question would be seeing this question answered.

To convert to this other structure, you are correct that you would remove the 's' from the end of enrollment. But that's not all. With just that change, we have:

...while the ACA continues to see enrollment increase, there are a lot...

In this sentence, "enrollment" represents the total number of students enrolled, rather than "enrollments" representing individual instances of people enrolling. So, "increase" is still a verb describing what that number is doing.

To make the full switch, you would also need to add an 's' to the end of 'increase':

...while the ACA continues to see enrollment increases, there are a lot...

Now the ACA is is seeing "increases", and the type of increases they are seeing are "enrollment increases".

Other possible phrasings include:

...while the ACA continues to see an increase in enrollment, there are a lot...

...while the ACA continues to see that enrollment is increasing, there are a lot...

...while the ACA continues to see increased enrollment, there are a lot...

  • How about phrasing like this:...while the ACA continues to see enrollments on the increase...? Jun 13, 2015 at 10:55
  • @LucianSava I don't know, that doesn't sound right to me. I would know what you meant. "enrollments on the rise" would be more common. I might throw in a few more words: "continues to see that enrollments are on the rise"
    – DCShannon
    Jun 29, 2015 at 22:18

To answer your original question, "increase" is being used as a verb. If it was an adjective, the phrase would read "see increased enrollments". One could also add "that" in between the verb and noun, yes. It generally isn't used, at least not in present tense (like this). Off the top of my head it could be used with the phrase "see to it that..." (which means "to make sure a specific action gets done"). With "to see", though, it would be used with the past and present perfect tenses ("see that enrollments had increased" and "see that enrollments have increased" respectively). It could possibly be used with the progressive tenses too, but both "see enrollments increasing" and "see that enrollments were/are increasing" would be correct.

That being said, it seems that "that", while possible, is only needed in cases with an auxiliary verb ("to have" or "to be", in our examples so far). Otherwise, it is usually omitted and may in fact sound odd or out of place (albeit still correct).

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