Posted by: episystechpubs | February 12, 2016

Editor’s Corner: See, Saw, Seen, and Seesaw

I have to say this topic surprised me a bit. One of our co-workers asked me to do an article on misusing the words see, saw, and seen…and included examples in her email. These errors are like fingernails on a chalkboard, so consider yourself warned!

· And I seen where the printer had a message that needed to be answered…

· I seen the date on…

· I seen at 5:16 you had this…

And the list continued. Here are some pointers for those wayward souls who are scratching that chalkboard.

The present tense of the verb “to see” is see (or sees):

· I see you are wearing red today.

· He sees you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake.

· We see flowers on your desk. Is it your anniversary?

The simple past tense of the verb “to see” is saw:

· I saw Fiddler on the Roof last night.

· She saw a seesaw on the seashore.

· They said they saw you at the park two days ago.

The past participle of the verb “to see” is seen, and it requires a helping verb when you use it. To use “seen” alone would be incorrect.

Correct(notice the helping verb):

· I have seen some crazy things at the circus.

· Joan has seen the musical Wicked 12 times!

· We have seen the biggest change in our roads since the old mayor left office.

Incorrect (notice, no helping verb):

· I seen Murray cheat on all five of his wives.

· He seen it was me despite my elegant disguise.

· They seen better days.

Enjoy your three-day weekend!

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

Symitar Documentation Services


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