Grammar

Is the sentence: "Ugwu heard him bang the car door and drive away." correct?

If yes, why is the word "bang" and "drive" not in their past tense forms like "banged" and "drove" respectively?

Comments

  • DavidCrosbieDavidCrosbie ✭✭✭
    edited February 6

    @oolobayo840, the verbs see, hear, watch and feel can be followed by a 'clause' with a SUBJECT and the verb form BARE INFINITIVE (i.e. without the word to).

    Since the SUBJECT of bang the car door and drive away is the OBJECT of Ugwu heard we can't use the usual SUBJECT form he. So we use him.

    The wordings
    him bang the car door
    and
    him drive away are NON-FINITE CLAUSES.

    Both banged and drove are FINITE VERB FORMS.
    You would use them in FINITE CLAUSES such as
    as he banged the car door
    and
    as he drove away

    So what's the difference between FINITE and NON-FINITE verb forms?

    FINITE forms are the ones we use in one-clause sentences, and in at least one clause of sentences with more than one. They are all PRESENT or PAST.

    There are three NON-FINITE forms:
    1. TO-INFINITIVE e.g. to bang, to drive
    2. BARE INFINITIVE e.g. bang, drive
    3. ING-FORM e.g. banging, driving

    These are neither specifically PRESENT nor specifically PAST.
    The can't be used in the only clause or the main clause of a sentence.
    They can be used in a sort of clause nowadays called a NON-FINITE CLAUSE — often without an explicit SUBJECT, but with the rest of the clause the same as in an ordinary FINITE clause.

    Note that the ING-FORM is used in various ways, including in a NON-FINITE CLAUSE after see, hear, watch, feel. So we could write:

    Ugwu heard him banging the car door and driving away.

    We prefer the ING-FORM if the verb refers to something that lasts for some time.
    We prefer the BARE INFINITIVE if the verb refers to something that is instantaneous.

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