I know how to say "I saw a cat" 「猫を見た」. However once a verb get's involved I'm not so sure anymore. I have two ideas on how to say it. The sentences is suppose to read "I saw someone being in that house over there".



I don't know if either of those sounds any good. How would you report seeing something that involves a verb? Rephrasing it without the verb is not allowed unless you have a way to do it with all verbs and nouns. Also if there exist a nuanced way of saying it that implies that what is being seen is still ongoing, please share that as well. Like I saw a person there and he is still there.

  • I'm not sure your example sentences are the best, since they are more natural without the いる(あの家に誰かを見た)
    – oals
    Sep 30, 2016 at 14:00
  • @oals Yeah, I think "I saw someone in that house over there" is more natural in English too. Even so, this was the actual sentence I wanted so I decided to use it as an example, even if there is another way to phrase it.
    – Christer
    Sep 30, 2016 at 14:31
  • 1
    Well you could try something like replacing the word "being" to get "I saw someone eating in that house".
    – Flaw
    Sep 30, 2016 at 18:48

2 Answers 2


Maybe you could say...

  • あの家に{誰かが/誰か}いるを見た。

or maybe:

  • あの家に{誰かが/誰か}いるところを見た。

「XXがYYするのを見る」「XXがYYするところを見る」 "see XX do YY"
「XXがYYしているのを見る」「XXがYYしているところを見る」 "see XX doing YY"


  • 山田さんが道を{渡るのを/渡るところを}見た。
    I saw Yamada-san cross the road.
  • 山田さんが道を{渡っているのを/渡っているところを}見た。
    I saw Yamada-san crossing the road.
  • (私は)佐藤くんが鈴木さんのコーヒーを飲むのを見ました。
    I saw Sato-kun drink Suzuki-san's coffee.
  • (私は)佐藤くんが鈴木さんのコーヒーを飲んでいるのを見ました。
    I saw Sato-kun drinking Suzuki-san's coffee.

As for your first sentence:


"Sentence + quotative と + 見る" has a different meaning than "to see something/someone do(ing) ~~". 明鏡国語辞典 says:


見る in "~~と見る" doesn't mean "to physically see something with your eyes", but "to judge", "presume", or "regard". For example:

  • 我々は、遭難者のほとんどが死んだと見て、捜索を打ち切った。
    We presumed that most of the victims were dead and gave up the search.
  • 私は、この仕事には彼が適任と見ている。
    I regard him to be the right person for this job.

As for your second sentence:


It doesn't really sound natural to me, I'm afraid.

  • Never seen ところ used like that before, what's the difference between it an の? What's the difference between 渡るの/渡ってるの? In English I would understand the first one as watching him successfully/ completely cross the road, while the second I don't know if succeed or not just that he were doing it. Is it the same in Japanese? Also isn't it odd to use the が with 誰か?
    – Christer
    Sep 30, 2016 at 16:06
  • 1) ところ (所) literally means "place, spot", and here it adds the nuance of "(right) on the spot". eg 「今、本を読んでいるところです。」"I am reading a book now." 2) Is it the same in Japanese? -> Yes, I think it's usually the same. At least that's what I learned in my English class. 3) In 誰かいる, が is omitted. You know after 誰か, 何か etc., case particles such as を、が are often omitted, right? eg 誰か紹介してよ -> 誰か紹介してよ。 何かあるぞ -> 何かあるぞ。
    – chocolate
    Sep 30, 2016 at 16:16
  • Ok, so by often omitted I assume you mean it doesn't have to be omitted, like what you did in your answer. Thank you for your insights.
    – Christer
    Sep 30, 2016 at 16:45
  • 1
    @Christer Oh now I see what you meant. Yes, 誰かがいるのを見た and 誰かいるのを見た are both fine. But 誰かが/誰かを/何かが/何かを sound unnatural/wrong in interrogative sentences, eg: "Is someone there?" would be 誰かいますか? not 誰かがいますか?, "Did you see something?" would be 何か見ましたか? not 何かを見ましたか?
    – chocolate
    Oct 1, 2016 at 3:30

"I saw someone being in that house over there" is expressed as あの家に誰かいるを見た.

あの家に誰かいると見た means that you have assumed that someone is in the house by observing the situation.

あの家に誰かいることを見た means that you considered a precondition that someone would be in the house. e.g. あの家にだれかいることを見て夕方に行くことにした: Considering someone would be in the house (then), I decided to go there evening.

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