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On p.2 in the book "Shai & et al. (2004), Understanding Machine Learning: From Theory to Algorithms, Cambridge University Press", I found the following sentence:

That, in turn, increased the chance that the next random food delivery would find each bird engaged in that activity again.

Normally I see either the structure Find + Object + V-infinitive or Find + Object + V-ing but here it's find + object + v-ed. So I was wondering if this is a typo or it's some kind of grammar usage that I haven't known of?

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    "Engaged" is here an adjective, not a verb. The PP "in that activity again" is complement of "engaged", and the AdjP "engaged in that activity again" modifies "bird".
    – BillJ
    Oct 18, 2023 at 12:51
  • This is to be deletion. To be is understood and can be reinserted without changing anything but the number of syllables. That rule normally converts an infinitive VP starting with be into a participle VP, using whatever's left after be. Oct 18, 2023 at 13:46

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You can regard it as "find+object+v-ed". Actually nouns can be modified with a v-ed and it's more like an adjective here,so you can also think it's a "find+object" and the object is modified with a v-ed.

It's how I understand it.

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  • @KillingTime Do you happen to see some other example of this usage? I can't recall seeing it elsewhere.
    – Tran Khanh
    Oct 18, 2023 at 7:39
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    The final term after found+object is often adjectival even if it's an -ing form, such as "He found the book disappointing", "He found the class boring". As for past participle forms, I can find a lot of examples like "You may find yourself overwhelmed by your feelings" where "overwhelmed" is an adjective derived from the past participle. Google also finds a lot of cases like "I found it broken", " If you have ever got to your parked car and found it smashed up...", etc.
    – Stuart F
    Oct 18, 2023 at 11:40
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    Yes, "engaged" is here an adjective, not a verb. The PP "in that activity again" is complement of "engaged", and the AdjP "engaged in that activity again" modifies "bird".
    – BillJ
    Oct 18, 2023 at 13:07
  • @BillJ What about interpreting the sentence in terms of ellipsis, i.e: "would find (that) each bird engaged in that activity again.", where "that" is omitted?
    – Tran Khanh
    Oct 18, 2023 at 15:41
  • @TranKhanh I'm surprised that you approved an answer that is clearly wrong because it suggests that "engaged" is a verb, when it'a actually an adjective!
    – BillJ
    Oct 18, 2023 at 16:54

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