Aber jemand hat Sascha aus der Finanzabteilung vorbeilaufen sehen.

Should it not be gesehen instead? This way it would be the Perfekt tense.


1 Answer 1


Aber jemand hat Sascha aus der Finanzabteilung vorbeilaufen sehen.

This is a nice example of a peculiarity of German grammar called Ersatzinfinitiv.

According to the basic rules of verb inflection, perfect and pluperfect are formed with haben and sein, respectively, and the past participle. For some verbs, however, if the participle is preceded by an infinitive construction, the participle is replaced by the Ersatzinfinitiv. These verbs are

  • all modal verbs
  • brauchen, heißen, lassen, helfen, fühlen, hören, and sehen
    (I am not sure if schmecken belongs to these, as well.)

Other examples are:

  • Er hat uns nicht anrufen wollen.
  • Wir haben nichts mehr tun können.
  • Du hättest es nicht (zu) machen brauchen.
  • Sie haben mich nicht gehen lassen.
  • Ich hab dich weinen hören.
  • Thank you. So, if it was "machen" instead of sehen in that sentence (or any other verb not from the list above) it would have simply been "gemacht", right? In short, this is just Perfekt tense but those verbs above, when preceded by an infinitive, also becomes infinitive? Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 20:28
  • 1
    @EvilRaceHorse, exactly. The verbs above are special in this sense. Notice, however, that this "rule" is becoming more and more violated. That is, you often read or hear the participle for these verbs. Commented Mar 5, 2021 at 20:31

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