(1) I saw him enter the building.

(2) What I saw was him _________ the building.

I'd like (2) to mean basically the same thing as (1). Can "enter" (infinitive) be entered in the blank? (No pun intended.)

Or should it be "entering" instead?

  • Entering. – Kevin Sep 8 '17 at 1:51
  • @Kevin But if you enter "entering" there, the meaning is now slightly different from (1) in that I didn't saw the entire act of him entering, but I only saw a part of his act of entering. I mean, with "entering" (2) would mean (1') I saw him entering the building, not exactly (1). No? – JK2 Sep 8 '17 at 2:05
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    I saw him enter and I saw him entering are very slightly different, yes, but if you want a form of enter, the ONLY one that fits on that blank is entering. – Kevin Sep 8 '17 at 2:36
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    Enter is okay there. The -ing form is more common, though. – Arm the good guys in America Sep 8 '17 at 3:03
  • In the comments none is seen using that past form of 'be', "was" . Why?? – Barid Baran Acharya Sep 9 '17 at 9:52

Looking at this example both answers are correct, however:

when you say "What I saw was him enter the building" - you mean that you saw the whole action of him entering the building.

by using present continuous "What I saw was him entering the building" - you simply imply that you only saw part of the action.

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