Why doesn't the following text include a '-ing' clause? for example, "she saw him winking his eyes"(=she saw him. He was winking his eyes). When should I use a 'present simple' clause instead of a 'continuous' clause?

"Why was I forgotten?" Mary said, stamping her foot. "Why does nobody come?"

The young man whose name was Barney looked at her very sadly. Mary even thought she saw him wink his eyes as if to wink tears away.

"Poor little kid!" he said. "There is nobody left to come."


"See" is a verb of perception, and these can be followed by a present participle, or (as above) a bare infinitive. There are sometimes slight changes in meaning.

"I saw him wink." Suggests a single event whereas "I saw him winking." Suggests repetition.

In the above example, either could have been used, and the author's choice to use an infinitive is mostly a matter of style.

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