RHL School

English Basics
Volume 2, Number 24, March 9, 1998


Saw or Seen?

Many people tend to misuse saw and seen, using seen when they should use saw. Use saw for the simple past tense, use seen for the present perfect and past perfect tenses. (forms of to see)


She saw the movie last night..................... simple past tense
She has already seen the movie................ present perfect tense
We have seen too many accidents............ present perfect tense
No one had seen him at the party.............. past perfect tense

Any form of to have, used as a helping verb, is a clue that the main verb is in the present perfect or past perfect tense.

Write saw or seen in the blank to make the sentence correct. The helping verb will not be highlighted. The first two have been done for you.

1._ Have you seen my pink hammer?
2._ I think I saw it in the kitchen.
3. Jamie had never _________ a chipmunk before.
4. The girls _________ a strange light in the sky.
5. I've _________ your face on a poster! (Remember contractions.)
6._ I _________ you running in the park.
7._ In spite of the forecast, we never _________ a single snowflake.
8._ You were so pale, I thought you'd _________ a ghost.
9. _Actually, I _________ two ghosts.
10. Stan was still upset when Barbara _________ him at church.
11. Kathy has _________ the new report cards.
12. Jerry says that he's _________ them too.
13. I thought I'd _________ everything until you wore that dress.
14. Father _________ what you had for breakfast.
15. We have _________ the largest mall in the world.
16. Please don't believe what you think you _________!
17. I _________ a blue jay in that tree.
18. She liked the house when she _________ it in the daylight.
19. Oscar _________ where I hid the gold.
20. Ryan and Connor _________ what you had in your hands.

Copyright 1998 RHL

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