I heard him telling the story?

zurriascada

New Member
ESP - ESP
Hello!

How correct is it to say "I often heard him telling the story", or would it be better if I say "I often heard him tell the story"?
I don't really understand the difference between the two.

I know the similar example: "I heard a baby cry" as opposed to "I heard a baby crying" - if i get it right, "crying" here is a noun, while "cry" is a verb, so are both these sentences correct?

And there's one more i'm not sure about.
<< Each thread must be about one topic. Please ask your second question in a new thread. >>

Thanks.
 
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  • shawnee

    Senior Member
    English - Australian
    Eg: 1.It was while he was 'telling' the story, I remembered something my mother said.
    2. Oh, I've heard him 'tell' that story often.
     

    Yankee_NLPer

    Senior Member
    English-USA
    I know the similar example: "I heard a baby cry" as opposed to "I heard a baby crying" - if i get it right, "crying" here is a noun, while "cry" is a verb, so are both these sentences correct?
    Is this a trick question? :D Wow! You've got my head spinning. I think the dictionaries need to be rewritten. because they only define crying as an adjective and in this sentence it clearly is not. In this sentence's usage I can imagine baby crying as the emotional state of the baby and that does make it a noun. But generally, the reader, especially if the reader is a woman, will go into the action of observing a baby crying and so in a way it's also a verb... or adverb? The baby is crying... it's not a verb, but it has that effect. It's a state. Or the baby cries..verb.
    Anyway, it's not important what it is called grammatically, what's important is the effect it has on the reader. Another example:

    How correct is it to say "I often heard him telling the story", or would it be better if I say "I often heard him tell the story"?
    Generally speaking, these two sentences mean the same thing. The difference how they manipulate the reader's point of view. Whenever -ing is used, it has the effect of putting the reader into the action as though they were there listening in the room with the man speaking, whereas, heard him tell keeps the reader as an observer in the present time of the story teller.
     
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    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    "I heard a baby cry" as opposed to "I heard a baby crying" - if i get it right, "crying" here is a noun, while "cry" is a verb, so are both these sentences correct?
    Both 'cry' and 'crying' can be both noun and verb. As nouns, they require the subject to be genitive:

    I heard a baby's cry.
    I heard a baby's crying.

    (A cry is a single act, like the call of someone who needs help; crying is a continuous behaviour.)

    When they're verbs, the object of 'heard' is also in effect the subject of the next verb:

    I heard a baby cry.
    I heard a baby crying.

    With this example, there might not be much difference. With 'cry' it could be a single cry, or it could be the same as crying. The verb 'crying' can also be used in front of the noun; this puts the focus more on the baby, not on the crying:

    I heard a crying baby.
     
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