“He sees her take…” or “He sees her takes…”?

He sees Sophia hurriedly take a syringe and inject it into Alex’s forearm.

He sees Sophia hurriedly takes a syringe and injects it into Alex’s forearm.

Which one correct? Up to my knowledge, the first is correct and the second is wrong.


The construction you are probably looking for is

He sees Sophia hurriedly take a syringe (…).

Your other proposal, “he sees her takes …”, is definitely grammatically impossible, because the -s final on takes requires a third person subject, but the verb takes cannot have a subject here (the pronoun her cannot be a subject, it has to be she).

The general form is:

  • a verb expressing perception (“sees”)
  • a subject performing an action (“Sophia”)
  • the action, with the verb in the infinitive without “to” (“hurriedly take a syringe”)

The subject who performs the action is, grammatically speaking, a complement of the verb of perception. Therefore, if it is a pronoun, that pronoun is in the complement (sometimes called accusative) form, not in the subject (nominative) form.

He sees her hurriedly take a syringe.

The meaning of this sentence is that he sees the action as a whole. It is also possible to use the gerund instead of the infinitive, with a different meaning: the action is seen while it is ongoing.

He sees her taking a syringe.

This means that he sees her while she is taking the syringe. He doesn’t see the whole act, just a part of it. It is usually implied that he sees enough to identify the action: ”he sees her taking a syringe“ implies that from what he sees, he can tell that she is taking a syringe.

Another grammatically correct, but rarer sentence, is:

He sees that she takes a syringe.

The context where this sentence can be correct is different though: the present simple indicates a habitual action. This sentence means that he sees something that allows him to deduce that she habitually takes a syringe (under certain circumstances that are implicit from the context).

The verb can also be in the present continuous:

He sees that she is taking a syringe.

The meaning is close to “he sees her taking a syringe”, but the use of a separate clause makes it clear that from what he sees, he can conclude that she is taking a syringe. In fact, it is possible that he doesn’t see the action itself, but he sees something that implies that she is taking a syringe.

All this could apply to any other verb of perception: see, watch, hear, feel, …

Source : Link , Question Author : T2E , Answer Author : Gilles ‘SO- stop being evil’

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