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Which of the following sentences is grammatical:

  1. The boss could not believe what he saw yesterday morning when he entered the office.
  2. The boss could not believe what he was seeing yesterday morning when he entered the office.

I know that see is a stative verb, but can’t believe what I’m seeing or something like that is used fairly often too. I hope someone can help me out.

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marked as duplicate by MrHen, FumbleFingers, Mari-Lou A, medica, Mitch Jun 26 at 17:26

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
You may find useful: english.stackexchange.com/questions/5904/… –  Josh61 May 11 at 12:15
    
Neither is ungrammatical. There may be differences of nuance between them, however. –  tchrist May 12 at 21:20
    
@Josh61: I don't know if you also closevoted when posting that link, or if someone else followed it and decided to post the first closevote. I've just cast the second closevote, but it's made unnecessarily confusing for me because there's no "Possible duplicate of..." comment. I assume this is because the system doesn't auto-generate one with the standard text if the relevant link already appears in an existing comment. I trust you can see what I'm getting at, before I run out of space in a comment... –  FumbleFingers Jun 25 at 21:24
    
@FumbleFingers - hi, sorry for late answer. I did not close vote when I posted the link. Can't tell if someone else followed. I agree that an auto-generate message of possible duplicate might help. Something to be put to the attention of new mods I think. Thanks for raising the issue. –  Josh61 Jun 26 at 16:14

2 Answers 2

Sentence 2 is conversational and is made grammatical by the inclusion of quotation marks thus-- "The boss could not believe what he was seeing yesterday morning when he entered the office." Context after all determines the parameter of grammatical license in all languages.

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Why would quotes make it more or less grammatical? –  MrHen Jun 25 at 18:13

2nd one

The state of your boss was "could not believe what he was seeing" yesterday.

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