See past tense

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Meaning of see

perceive with the eyes; discern visually.


Word: see /siː/
  • 1. I usually see my parents on weekends.
  • 2. He sees the dentist twice a year for a checkup.
  • 3. She often sees mistakes that others overlook.

Past Simple

Word: saw /sɔː/
  • 1. She saw a beautiful cardinal sitting on the branch early in the morning.
  • 2. I finally saw the mistake in my code after hours of looking.
  • 3. They saw the opportunity to start a new business and decided to go for it.

Past Participle

Word: seen /siːn/
  • 1. The movie has been seen by thousands of fans worldwide.
  • 2. All the documents were seen by the committee yesterday.
  • 3. The artwork has been seen and admired by visitors from all over the globe.

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Bare infinitive

  1. General Truths and Facts. Use when stating facts or truths.
    Example. 'I see what you mean.'
  2. Habitual Actions. For actions that happen regularly or habitually.
    Example. 'She sees her dentist twice a year.'
  3. Descriptions or States. When describing states of being or conditions.
    Example. 'He sees clearly now.'

Past Simple

  1. Completed Actions in the Past. For actions that were completed at a specific time in the past.
    Example. 'I saw a shooting star last night.'
  2. Past States. To talk about states or situations that were true in the past but are no longer true.
    Example. 'She saw the problem differently after the discussion.'
  3. Series of Past Events. When recounting events that happened in the past, sequentially.
    Example. 'He woke up, saw the sunrise, and went for a run.'

Past Participle

  1. Perfect Tenses.
  2. Present Perfect. For actions that happened at an unspecified time before now.
    Example. 'I have never seen anything like it.'
  3. Past Perfect. For actions that were completed before a certain point in the past.
    Example. 'By the time they arrived, I had already seen the exhibit.'
  4. Future Perfect. For actions that will be completed before a specific point in the future.
    Example. 'By next year, she will have seen most of Europe.'
  5. Passive Voice. When the focus is on the action or the object of the action, rather than who or what is performing the action.
    Example. 'The movie was seen by millions.'
  6. Conditional Sentences. In some conditional forms, particularly the third conditional which talks about hypothetical situations in the past.
    Example. 'If I had seen him, I would have spoken to him.'
  7. Using the correct form of 'see' based on these guidelines helps convey the meaning of a sentence more accurately, reflecting the timing and nature of the action or state being described.

Common mistakes

— 01

Incorrect Use of 'Saw

' One common mistake with the verb 'see' is confusing its past simple form 'saw' with its base form. The correct past simple form is 'saw' and not 'seed' or 'seeed,' which are incorrect and do not exist. For example, it's correct to say, 'I saw a movie last night,' not 'I seed a movie last night.' This mistake usually occurs due to misunderstanding the irregular nature of 'see,' where the expected 'ed' ending for regular verbs in their past forms does not apply.

— 02

Misusing 'Seen

' Another frequent error involves using 'seen' without an auxiliary verb, such as 'have' or 'had,' which is necessary for forming the perfect tenses. The past participle 'seen' should not stand alone as the main verb in a sentence to indicate past action. For instance, 'I have seen the error' is correct, whereas 'I seen the error' is incorrect. This mistake often arises from informal speech patterns creeping into written language, where grammatical rules are more strictly observed.

— 03

Confusing 'Saw' and 'Seen

' A third mistake is misusing 'saw' and 'seen' when constructing compound tenses, leading to grammatically incorrect sentences. For example, saying 'I had saw the movie before' instead of the correct 'I had seen the movie before.' This error usually stems from not recognizing the need to use the past participle 'seen' with auxiliary verbs to form perfect tenses accurately.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between 'saw' and 'seen'?

'Saw' is the simple past tense form of 'see,' used to describe an action that happened at a specific time in the past. For example, 'I saw a movie yesterday.' On the other hand, 'seen' is the past participle form of 'see,' which is used in perfect tenses and requires an auxiliary verb like 'have' or 'had.' For example, 'I have seen the movie twice.'

Can you use 'seen' without an auxiliary verb?

No, 'seen' cannot be used without an auxiliary verb such as 'have,' 'has,' or 'had.' It is grammatically incorrect to say, 'I seen a movie.' Instead, you should say, 'I have seen a movie' or 'I had seen a movie.'

How do you use 'saw' in a sentence?

'Saw' is used to describe a completed action that occurred at a specific point in the past. It does not require an auxiliary verb. For example, 'Yesterday, I saw a beautiful sunset.' Here, 'saw' indicates that the action of seeing the sunset happened in the past. Is it correct to say 'I have saw'