Jane likes singing. We often hear her ___ after class.

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brian&me

Senior Member
Chinese - China
Jane likes singing. We often hear her ___ after class.
A.sing B. to sing C. sings D. singing

This is a question in my exercise book. The answer key is A. The book says because there is an ‘often’ in the sentence. But I think D is also OK. What do you say?

Thanks.
 
  • velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think both present participle and infinitive are fine. It's a typical case of "verb of perception + bare infinitive/participle" - you have a choice, and the present participle may be used to suggest duration or incompleted action.

    I didn't read it as a gerund until Emp pointed it out.
     

    ilikephoebe

    Senior Member
    Chinese Mandarin
    Hello, Brian. The answer is A for sure, because this is a test question in school with a purpose to test whether you know this grammar point or not (normally hear somebody do/doing something, but with 'often' in it, "do" seems a better option.

    If you have questions about test questions in Chinese school, you can appeal to "作业帮".

    If you ask these native speakers, I think they don't get what this test is doing. Hahaha...
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Hmm, the incompleted action/action-in-progress connotation is what makes participial "singing" (at least to the answer key writer) seem less appropriate than "sing".



    ...the present participle may be used to suggest duration or incompleted action.

    I didn't read it as a gerund until Emp pointed it out.

    Probably that's a non-native thinking.
     

    brian&me

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    Thanks,Entangledbank,Englishmypassion and Velisarius.

    If we change the question as follows, what do think of the choices?

    Jack likes singing. We often hear him ___ after class.
    A.sing B. to sing C. sings D. singing

    Thanks, again.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    There is not enough context to the question to provide a reason for choosing A over D. "Often" doesn't provide that context, and I wonder how the writer of the question can justify his preference for A.

    both verb forms are fine, but may contain a nuance.
    I often hear you cough at night. (I maybe hear you cough briefly, several times.)
    I often hear you coughing at night. (You have repeated bouts of coughing.)

    Jack likes singing. We often hear him ___ after class.
    A.sing B. to sing C. sings D. singing

    Thanks again.
    My answer would be the same, but I concur with etb in preferring D. There is a slight difference in meaning between the two sentences of course. "We often hear him sing after class" might mean we sit and listen to him sing, or we hear him sing briefly, or we hear him sing a complete song. "We often hear him singing" means that we often hear him while he is in the process of singing, perhaps by chance. It couldn't really mean that we sit down in order to listen to him sing a song.
     

    Englishmypassion

    Senior Member
    India - Hindi
    Now, it's "sing" versus the participial "singing" (present participle). I'd choose A but D is still not out of the race.
    If we heard her singing while we passed by, I'd choose D.
    If we sat before her and heard her complete song/songs, I'd choose A. That maybe just me.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Now, it's "sing" versus the participial "singing" (present participle). I'd choose A but D is still not out of the race.
    If we heard her singing while we passed by, I'd choose D.
    If we sat before her and heard her complete song/songs, I'd choose A. That maybe just me.
    Great minds, Etb...:D

    ("Great minds think alike" is a common way of saying "We are thinking along very similar lines".)
     
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