I’ve never heard her laugh<ing>

< Previous | Next >

Fbohn21

Senior Member
Deutsch
Hello.


I am wondering about this:


I’ve never heard you laugh/laughing.


I’ve never heard you cry/ sing like that.


I am wodnering if there is any real difference between the continuous and simple versions.
 
  • AnythingGoes

    Senior Member
    English - USA (Midwest/Appalachia)
    The continuous version expresses that the speaker is thinking of an extended activity, like laughing continuously for twenty seconds. The speaker would use the present simple if they were thinking of the instantaneous quality of the laughter.

    Obviously most native speakers wouldn't be aware of the reasons for their choice of tenses.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I am wodnering if there is any real difference between the continuous and simple versions.
    I'm sure that this has been explained to you before:

    The continuous form indicates an action that, at the time referred to, is incomplete - the process is on-going.
    The simple form indicate a complete or completed action.

    The consideration is mainly whether the verb is punctual or durative.

    Punctual verbs do not have any nuance of time passing -> explode, hit.

    "He hit me" is easily distinguished from "He has been hitting me." The former is, by default, one blow, and the second, by default, several blows.

    Durative verbs take time -> read, wait, live.

    The distinction is not so clear with durative verbs:
    "Oh! You have arrived!" she said sarcastically, "I have waited/have been waiting for an hour!"
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top