Consider these two variations:

  1. Every morning, tourists can see soldiers raise the national flag in the square.

  2. Every morning, tourists can see soldiers raising the national flag in the square.

What are the differences?

Which sounds more natural?

  • See is a sense verb, and they have their own special syntax. In particular, see, hear, and feel, among others, can take either infinitive complements (I saw him leave) or gerund complements (I saw him leaving) grammatically. There's no difference in meaning, and no difference in formality; it's all speakers' choice. Nov 9 '19 at 16:28
  • The difference here has been covered before, so I'll stick to a 'comment'. Sense verbs (see, hear, feel; watch [but not notice, film, observe]) can take either a bare infinitive or a present participle complement. The bare infinitive gives more the sense of a completed action ('I saw him fall'), while the participle complement brings the durative aspect of what is/was being watched etc into focus ('I saw him falling'; 'I love to hear them practising'). Nov 9 '19 at 16:30
  • @tchrist (1) Couldn't find them in a swift search. (2) Is it best to amalgamate all these? (3) Have you developed an easily searchable duplicate database? Nov 9 '19 at 16:46
  • @EdwinAshworth I'd say that the first linked duplicate has an answer worthy of canonicalization for these types of questions, and the second one worthy of beatification. :)
    – tchrist
    Nov 9 '19 at 17:54
  • @tchrist There's already a St John Scholasticus. Nov 9 '19 at 18:14