I looked up the word "picture" in the dictionary and it is usually said "Picture someone doing something". Shouldn't the word "engaged" be "engaging" in the following sentence?

Perhaps you’re obsessively picturing him engaged in drunken coitus with another woman.

This line was said by Sheldon Cooper, who hardly ever makes grammatical mistakes, so I am pretty sure it is grammatically correct what he said, but I don't know why he said "engaged" instead "engaging". Please highlight the difference. Thanks.

  • The continuous tense won't make it ungrammatical in such sentences. However, here, 'engaged' looks better. What bothers me more is the use of the adjective 'drunken' with that noun following. Never heard "drunken ...." before! Thus, I'd write it: "Perhaps you are obsessively picturing him drunken engaged in coitus with another woman." – Maulik V Sep 23 '15 at 7:48
  • Is it only correct for the verb "engage"? What if I chose a different verb? "Picturing him having lunch" v's "picturing him had lunch"? – Ghaith Alrestom Sep 23 '15 at 7:57
  • According to Longman Dictionary, you can say " drunken party/orgy/brawl etc a party etc where people are drunk: Tom got into a drunken brawl (=fight) in a bar." – Ghaith Alrestom Sep 23 '15 at 7:59
  • Strange. Drunken party is okay, but this is new to me. Thanks – Maulik V Sep 23 '15 at 8:01
  • Yes, this seems to be a special case for 'engage'. That's why I said in such sentences as you give examples of '...having lunch' etc. – Maulik V Sep 23 '15 at 8:11

'engaged in' in this context means he is in the act of doing it, as opposed to 'engaging in' where he could be just starting

  • I have never heard of that. Would it work for other verbs? – Ghaith Alrestom Sep 23 '15 at 7:46
  • he is submerged in the water -- he is submerging in the water – Barrie van Boven Sep 23 '15 at 7:49
  • or the man is dead --- the man is dying – Barrie van Boven Sep 23 '15 at 7:50
  • "the man is dead --- the man is dying " I don't see how that sentence is related to my sentence? are you saying that "dead" is as "engaged, and "dying" as "engaging" ? – Ghaith Alrestom Sep 23 '15 at 7:53
  • dead referring to a state (just as engaged in) and dying referring to the road leading to that stage (dying) – Barrie van Boven Sep 23 '15 at 8:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.