"I saw him jump."

 

Q:

Can you explain this sentence: "I saw him jump." "Jump" is clearly a verb and yet it doesn't follow the rules for verbs because its subject is in the objective form. So what is "him jump"? Simply a noun phrase? Please help because this is driving us nuts. The grammar books we have don't cover this anywhere.

lswanson
[email protected]
Posted 20 February 2003
A:

Betty Azar, in Understanding and Using English Grammar, 3rd ed. (Pearson Education, 1999), p. 336, says:

Certain verbs of perception are followed by either the simple form (the infinitive form without "to") or the -ing form of a verb.

In the sentence "I saw him jump," the main verb is "saw," the object of the verb is "him," and the simple form of the verb that follows the verb of perception (in this case "saw") is "jump."

Other sentences like this from the same explanation are:

I saw my friend run down the street
I heard the rain fall on the roof.

 

(To see a related comment,

"See somebody DO something vs.

see somebody DOING something," click here.)

 

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