'Hear' is a perception. It is classified as a static verb therefore you cannot say "You are hearing a child". You simply say "You hear a child".
Please read Sitesurf and n6zs replies. These moderators have been very patient explaining and several of us insist on our wrong answers without reading carefully what they have written!!!
Merci Beaucoup Sitesurf and n6zs!!!
@jeanine3marie: a number of English verbs are used in the simple present form (only exceptionally in the continuous form):
mental state: believe (croire), doubt (douter), know (savoir, connaître), think (penser), understand (comprendre):
- Mary knows how to play the piano - Mary sait jouer du piano;
emotions: like, love (aimer), need (avoir besoin), prefer, want (vouloir), wish (souhaiter):
- I want to go to New York for my holidays - Je veux aller à New-York pour les vacances;
perceptions: feel (sentir), hear (entendre), see (voir), sound (sonner), smell (sentir), taste (gouter):
This apple tastes very sweet - Cette pomme a un goût très sucré;
Her perfume smells lovely - Son parfum sent bon;
appearence: look (avoir l'air), seem (sembler):
- The boss looks angry today - Le patron a l'air fâché aujourd'hui.
Some of these categories have exceptions more often than others - mental state and emotions are basically never used in continuous, perceptions are sometimes (most often when telling someone else what they sense - ex. "the sound you are hearing is..."), and appearance rarely is except in relation to people (you're looking down, you're looking good - although it is kind of casual, oral speech)
There are two major categories of verbs: action verbs and stative verbs. If a verb refers to a process, it is an action verb. If it refers to a state, it is a stative verb. The most important difference between stative and active verbs is that active verbs can be used in continuous tenses and stative verbs cannot be used in continuous tenses. A few verbs can sometimes be "active" and sometimes be "stative" so you have to pay attention to the context to see how they are used. In addition to the obvious stative verb "être", stative Verbs include:
- Verbs showing possession: belong, get, have, own, possess
- Verbs showing emotion/feeling: hate, like, love, need, want
- Verbs showing senses: feel, hear, see, smell, taste
Verbs showing thought/opinion: believe, know, recognize, think, understand
I am having a car (incorrect). I have a car (correct)
- I am liking this movie (incorrect). I like this movie (correct)
- I am hearing a dog (incorrect). I hear a dog (correct)
- I am knowing the answer (incorrect). I know the answer (correct) http://esl.about.com/od/grammarstructures/a/g_stative.htm
Sounds like a great and logical explanation but I fail to understand why "I am hearing a dog." would be considered incorrect. It is a perfectly correct (American) English sentence, just as "I hear a dog." is. The same applies to the other verbs listed in the category "verbs showing senses".
Some verbs may be used as stative or active verbs. But stative verbs are not normally used in continuous tenses. If someone asked, "what are you hearing?", you could certainly say "I am hearing a dog" because the focus is on the hearing, not on the dog. It is not considered correct to use one of these verbs in a continuous tense unless you are referring to the action of the verb itself. We do not say "I am seeing a bird," but "I see a bird". We do not say "I am smelling smoke", but "I smell smoke". If your first pass through the world of stative verbs leaves you unconvinced, you might want to let it rest a bit and then go back through the information on the link again. If you are familiar with the character of Ben Jabituya played by Fisher Stevens in the 1986 movie Short Circuit, you will recognize the stereotypical Indian English played for all its worth featuring stative verbs used in continuous tenses.
Really not meaning to be argumentative. But we DO use these verbs in a continuous tense. "I'm just SMELLING the roses!" "I am HEARING the birds sing." "I'm so tired of HEARING that child cry!!" Very standard English. So if these tenses are disallowed in French, we need very specific lessons ON Duolingo informing us of such rules.
I get what you're saying, Wilson. These words can be used in a continuous sense when it is clear that you are focusing on the action of that verb. What are you doing? I'm smelling the roses. Absolutely. I think the reason we end up being confused over this is that instruction on stative and active verbs was not part of the English curriculum back in the old school days. We learn (or not learn) how they are used by hearing them being used. We never understood that there is a difference between "I'm smelling the roses" and "I smell the roses". But there definitely is a difference. Many native-English speakers come to Duolingo thinking only about learning French, where we learn things about English that we were never even aware of. I might ask you, hypothetically, had you ever heard of stative verbs before you saw it being discussed here? Join the club. In order to use French correctly, we also have to use English correctly. So here are the links which will help us all peel the onion back a bit on this very important subject:
- Stative vs. Active Verbs in English: http://esl.about.com/od/grammarstructures/a/g_stative.htm
- Stative verbs in French: http://french.about.com/od/grammar/a/advpasttenses.htm
Note that even experienced francophones have stated that "French does not have stative verbs" but we see that it most certainly does. We just go on speaking the language, unaware of why there are situations that you can or cannot use these words in certain ways. We experienced the same issue with the entire section on the imperfect tense about two years ago. The Imperfect and Passé composé tenses were used virtually interchangeably with no apparent rhyme or reason. Learners were completely confused by it because those who created the exercises didn't clearly know the difference themselves. That issue has been painfully addressed and, for the most part, corrected. Even so, I recently came across a stray sentence which used Passé composé where the imperfect tense is required. So the battle to understand these more advanced language skills is going on around us while we are often unaware.
I'm a little confused by your most recent posts (6th May 2016) on the topic of stative verbs. Particularly your suggestion that "What are you hearing?" - "I am hearing a dog" is a valid question/answer construction.
I agree it is something I could imagine many people saying. But what does it mean? Is it anything other than a non-standard way of asking "What do you hear? - I hear a dog"
One way to see the difference between a stative verb and a dynamic verb is to try to use the imperative.
"Smell the roses" - That is fine because it really means "Sniff the roses".
"Taste the wine" - Fine again. It really means "Sip the wine"
But - "Hear the dog" ???
"I am smelling roses right now" and "I smell roses right now" are both valid sentences but they mean different things. One is about sniffing. The other is about experiencing the scent of roses.
The first could happen even if the particular roses have no scent. The second could happen even if there are no roses present.
What does the instruction "Hear the dog" mean?
Can you hear a dog that makes no sound in the way that you can smell a rose that has no scent?
What is the action of hearing a dog?
Hi, Patrick. There is nothing special about "hearing the dog". I gave an example of how a stative verb (hear) could be used in a continuous tense even though it is not a typical use of verbs of sense (see, hear, smell, taste). When you use the imperative, you have changed the sense of the verb from a state to an action. Can you make yourself see/hear/smell/taste something that is not present? No. Consider the stative verb "have" for example. One cannot direct a person to "have" something in the meaning of "possess". I may offer it (using a different sense of "have"), but not in the sense of "possess". If we instruct someone to (fill in stative verb here), we have just changed its meaning to an action verb by using the imperative. Although there may be some exceptions (to be?), be humble, be a man, be nice. However, there are some verbs which are usually stative which can also be used as action verbs (including "smell", "taste", and even "hear"). So when we tell someone to "smell this", we are using it as an action verb, not a stative verb. But "I smell smoke" ("smell" is now a stative verb). We may have difficulty understanding how "hear" can be used as an action verb. It is not at all common but it is entirely possible and normal when used correctly. Example: "Hear me!" or "Hear me out!" or using a very old reference: "Hear then the parable of the sower...." When using "hear" in the imperative, it has a different meaning, i.e., "listen" (an action verb, not a stative verb). This in itself is a demonstration of how changing the verb tense changes the meaning. The point is this:
Even some stative verbs can be used as action verbs but it will affect the meaning. http://esl.about.com/od/grammarstructures/a/g_stative.htm
- "I hear the dog" focuses on the the object (the dog). This is a typical use of the stative verb. You are picking up the sound of the dog. There is no hearing without a sound. I hear it.
"I am hearing the dog" focuses on the act of hearing. This is not a typical use of the verb, but it is possible because changing the tense changes it to an action verb. You're arguing with a neighbor about his dog which is barking incessantly. He says the dog is asleep at the moment. You say, "But I'm hearing it right now." I am not in any way insisting that you have to use the continuous present; I am saying that in this context, it may be used but it is not as a stative verb but an action verb, i.e., the very act of hearing the dog barking. In the same way, whether you choose to say "But I hear it right now" or "I am hearing it right now" (either would be possible), there is no hearing without a sound. Notice how to justify this atypical use, we have to invoke context which is not evident in the sentence itself. This is one reason why using stative verbs as action verbs is not reasonable when context does not support it. I.e., no manufactured explanations, please.
"I smell roses" ("smell" is a stative verb here) has to do with "I detect the scent of roses" (it doesn't matter if roses are present). If we form a mental picture of what is going on, it may be nothing more than a person standing there. Looking on at the scene, we would have no idea what was going on. I.e., it is not about an action. When a stative verb is used, there is no action and we have no idea what the person may be seeing, hearing, sensing, tasting, thinking, believing, wanting, etc.
- "I am smelling the roses" has to do with describing an action taking place. It has a completely different meaning. I am in the garden and am actively engaged in smelling the roses. If we form a mental picture of this action (and it is an action, because using the present continuous has changed the meaning), we may picture a person leaning over a rose bush in the garden, perhaps bringing a rose close to her nose as she is (actively) smelling it. I.e., there are roses and she is smelling them ("smell" is now an action verb), and yes, she could be smelling them even if they had no scent. If you took a picture, you would see that the person was smelling the roses (it's an action evident from the person's posture relative to the roses).
So, changing verb tenses often changes the meaning. This is especially true of verbs which are usually stative.
Hahahaha. Well, Patrick. In that specific context, it is possible. I don't recommend testing this theory on Duolingo exercises using stative verbs, however. Because there is rarely any context which would justify that use. It begs for a justification of why the question was phrased that way in the first place. In the absence of that, we feel like we have to conjure up something. Unlike the mystery writer who introduces a new character on the last page of the book, I'm not comfortable going there.
I think the reason Duolingo is offering understand as an option is because "entendre" can be translated "to hear" while "s'entendre", the self-reflexive version can be translated "to understand" (or get on along with/agree).
Je m'entends. // I understand.
J'entends. // I hear.
"You understand a child" as an English phrase is sensible, but it is clearly incorrect as a translation of the phrase given. But you should note--though this is a French learning site, not an English one--that the phrase "Isn't right to say" is incomplete. You need to include the subject of the sentence: "Isn't IT right to say ...."
It is a real shame as we are almost in total agreement. In fact it is such a small issue I really should not have picked you up on it. I regret that I did, it was a mistake on my part, the general points that you made are very useful and as I originally said, native English speakers should take note of your comments.
Of course you are right that 'to see' is a stative verb and should not normally be expressed in the continuous/progressive.
You are of course also correct that 'to see' has alternative meaning and that some of these alternatives are not stative.
"I am seeing my boyfriend tonight" is a good example of such an alternative meaning. It means I am meeting up with my boyfriend (it is not about seeing in terms of visual perception at all) and of course it is correct to use the progressive.
However on the a matter of the correctness of "I am seeing ghosts" we will have to agree to disagree lol.
I guess I understand what you are trying to say. You, as a native English speaker (I guess), should understand these things better than me. The expressions such as "I'm seeing images and hearing voices" sound perfect to me (meaning mental disorders and paranormal visions). But that does not (nearly) mean I'm absolutely sure about it. So there is nothing to regret. I'm actually glad you mentioned it.
First, we disagreed about "hearing voices", now we disagree about "seeing images". Strangely, all grammar books blab about it + you can easily find quite a few examples on the internet: "Patients do not believe they are hearing voices. Patients do not imagine they are hearing voices. Instead, patients know they are hearing voices for the simple reason that they are hearing voices." :) OR "You see, for these patients, they were not hearing voices but were carrying on conversations with someone else. Again, these patients were not imagining a conversation but were really, really having a conversation. Therefore, they were not /hearing voices/ but were being spoken to. The same applies to each of the other types of hallucinations affecting each of the other sense organs" :)
And finally :) "She also has a diagnosis of schizophrenia and tells me she is seeing ghosts at night which frighten her".
Actually I have changed my mind on the issue - from a grammar point of view.
"She is hearing voices = she is imaging voices.
"She is seeing ghosts = she is imaging ghosts.
Imagination is an active process (even is the person is unaware of that process)
To imagine is a active verb so the continuous/progressive can be used.
Therefore - "She is hearing voices and seeing ghosts" is correct.
In another example a person might say "is that real or am I seeing things". On the above analysis that would be grammatically correct.
In the examples you give, the emphasis of the continuous present focuses on the "seeing" and the "hearing" and so it is completely valid. But the same does not apply when you go for a walk, you do not say "I am seeing a dog over there" or "I am hearing a bird chirping". Only when we grasp the concept of stative vs. action verbs and can use them correctly can we truly understand when we should or should not use them in the continuous present tense. http://esl.about.com/od/grammarstructures/a/g_stative.htm
I guess it is similar to the difference between to hear and to listen.
entender = to hear, which can be a subconscious action, like 'i hear the radio in the background' écouter = to listen, in contrast is more an active action, like 'i listen to the weather forecast on the radio'
In the proper context "entendre" means "hear" as in " I hear what you are saying" (I get the meaning of what you are saying). Is that correct? It's not actually talking about "hearing" "I hear the sound of what you are saying". Would that context be reserved for "ecouter"? Or is "entendre" truly used to refer to "hearing the sound" of the children. If so then when would one use "entendre" in lieu of "ecouter"?
I don't get the "all" portion of the answer. I've followed the discussions below and the answer "you hear a child" makes some sense to me. However, I cannot comprehend where the "all" in "You all hear the child" answer comes from. No hint of "y'all" in the pull down definition. Could it be that they intend the "all " to be the plural "you"? ("You(s) hear a child")? Any thoughts?
I wrote "You are hearing a child" and it was refused. While I don't understand very well why it is not accepted, the thing that hit me the most is the proposition "you can hear a child". How is that even the same as there is no trace of "can" in the French sentence? It should have been "vous pouvez entendre un enfant", shouldn't it? Can someone explain me please? I am a little confused...
Whilst what you say is true, the examples given within this thread are not good ones. For instance..
1) "Look out! Here comes the boss. He is looking angry this morning."
2) "What is that smell?" "I can't smell anything..." "I can. Yes, I am definately smelling something odd."
3) "I heard a noise" "I heard if too. I think we are hearing a child." (This being much more likely than, "I think we 'hear' a child."
So, while there are cases where continuous is not much used, in my opinion this is not one of them. I agree It should be accepted.
You'd better look at the comments above, since your question is answered several times, + have a look at this site.
Part of it:
There is a small group of verbs that have different meanings. Some meanings behave like non-continuous verbs while other meanings behave like normal verbs.
Here is a list of verbs that have different meanings when used in the continuous forms/tenses;
to appear: Sarah appears confused. Non-Continuous Verb Sarah seems confused.
My favourite singer is appearing at the jazz club tonight. Normal Verb My favourite singer is giving a performance at the jazz club tonight.
to have: I have a pound now. (Non-Continuous) Verb I possess a pound.
I am having fun now. (Normal Verb) I am experiencing fun now.
to hear: She hears the music. (Non-Continuous Verb) She hears the music with her ears.
She is hearing voices. (Normal Verb) She hears something others cannot hear. She is hearing voices in her mind.
There are 3 interrogative forms in French, from very formal (with inversion Verb-Subject pronoun), to standard (starting with an interrogative adverb) or casual/oral, with the active form + a question mark at the end (and voice raising).
- entendez-vous un enfant ? (do you hear a child?)
- est-ce que vous entendez un enfant ? (is it that you hear a child?)
- vous entendez un enfant ?
Duolingo is not very linear with that and does not always offer all three possibilities as correct answers.
I'm not an expert in English but the point is that certain English verbs are simply non-continuous OR mixed (which means they may have a continuous form but that modifies their meaning totally), so-called stative verbs: see, hear, understand, want, love, like, seem, have, agree, possess, know... etc.
No, I don't have the complete list and these verbs are usually categorized differently e.g. relational / perception / cognition verbs.
These are most common: abhor, adore, advise, agree, apologize, appeal, appreciate, astonish, believe, belong to, care, concern, consist of, contain, deny, depend on, deserve, desire, despise, detest, disagree, dislike, doubt, envy, equal, exist, fancy, fear, fit, forgive, hate, imagine, impress, include, insist, intend, involve, know, lack, like, loathe, matter, mind, need, notice, owe, own, perceive, please, possess, prefer, promise, realize, recall, recognize, refuse, regard, remember, require, resemble, satisfy, seem, sound, suppose, surprise, understand, want, wish.
Some of them are mixed but I'd say it is hard to define them strictly: appear (seem), assume, be, come (be from), consider, cost, enjoy, expect (suppose), feel (have an opinion), forget, guess (think), have (possess), hear, hope, hurt (feel pain), look (seem), love, mean, measure (have length), presuppose, see, smell, suggest, taste (have taste), think (have an opinion), weigh (have weight).
I didn't miss the point that you meant that someone who says "I am hearing voices" might have a mental disorder.
However such a person should still say I hear voices.
Or are you suggesting that the sentence "I am hearing voices" is grammatically correct when spoken by someone with a mental disorder but incorrect when spoken by someone without such a disorder.
Let's put it this way. The sentence is correct and it implicates paranormal visions. "See" and "hear" are stative (non-continuous) verbs WHEN used to refer to what your eyes or ears register. That means they fit into the so-called mixed category. They sometimes do have a continuous (progressive) form but THEN their meaning shifts entirely: "I hear you now. You don't need to shout." OR "I'm hearing voices in my head". Also, "I see him now" (able to see), "I'm seeing my dentist tomorrow" (appointment), "She's been seeing him for 6 months" (dating) and "I'm seeing images" (mental disorder).
Hahahaha! Too true. Thankfully, everyone is learning that "vous" is "you" (whether singular or plural) and "you all" is "vous tous", if a person feels compelled to be more inclusive of a wider audience. In the meantime, in an effort to make this inclusiveness more efficient, "y'all" has been programmed into Duo's code and it will often kick out this expression when it isn't wanted. It is beyond the reach of moderators in the hands of programmers. Sigh! :-(
As "state verbs", describing a mental state or a sensation, emotions or appearances, "hear" is one of those verbs that are hardly ever used in progressive tense, unless there is a good reason for it, like an emphasis on the exceptional nature of the fact.
mental states: believe (croire), doubt (douter), know (savoir, connaître), think (penser), understand (comprendre): Mary knows how to play the piano - Mary sait jouer du piano;
emotions/feelings: like, love (aimer), need (avoir besoin), prefer, want (vouloir), wish (souhaiter): I want to go to New York for my holidays - Je veux aller à New-York pour les vacances;
perceptions: feel (sentir), hear (entendre), see (voir), sound (sonner), smell (sentir), taste (gouter): This apple tastes very sweet - Cette pomme a un goût très sucré; Her perfume smells lovely - Son parfum sent bon;
appareance: look (avoir l'air), seem (sembler): The boss looks angry today - Le patron a l'air fâché aujourd'hui.
I read here some time ago in one post by a native English speaker that in the case of verbs like "to see", "to hear" and so on, if we want to express that action is taking place at the very moment as we speak, we can use "can" with the verb instead of present continuous (which would be grammatically wrong if used with the verb such as "to hear", when it has it's literal meaning - not when it means "to hear voices in one's head...", or something like that, some figurative meaning...).
For example, we would say then: "Yes, I can hear." (instead of "Yes, I'm hearing), when replying to some question...
Is this interpretation correct? (I'm asking because I'm not a native English speaker, so I'm wondering if I got it right...)
Someone might ask "can you hear that music?" and you might answer "yes I can". That is definitely used and would probably not cause any problems but strictly speaking it is borderline and some people will argue it is incorrect.
It should really be "do you hear that music?" Answer "yes I do"
"I hear the birds singing" means I hear them now - you don't need to qualify it further. If you don't mean now then you qualify it - "I hear the birds singing every morning".
If you really want to you can say "I can hear music" but really it doesn't had anything to the meaning of "I hear music"
"Entendre" = to hear. It is true that occasionally it can mean to understand but that is very much a marginal meaning.
Just as in English if someone is quite heated about something and is complaining we might say "I hear what you are saying" in order to show solidarity or empathy - in that sense "to hear" would be used as something like "to understand".
So in any particular case we should always translate "entendre" as "to hear" unless there is a very good reason to do otherwise. In fact probably best to avoid using "entendre" to mean "understand" altogether.
In this particular exercise "to understand" does not fit. If understand had been meant "comprendre" would have been used.
There are a number of stative verbs in English that are not used in continuous tenses. Among them, to hear, to see, to smell are usually used in simple present only.
However, in French, the notion of "stative" verbs does not really exist and verbs can take all verb forms and conjugations (there are a few defective verbs, but in a very limited number).
Entendre = to hear (an automatic action)
Écouter = to listen (a voluntary action)
You may hear someone shouting or crying and you might just don't mind it and pass away, but you may also look for the sound precisely to know where and why is it there. So, if you listen, you try to understand it exactly. If you hear sth, you're not necessarily listening to it!
In other words, people hear everything around them, but there might be only some special situations that they do want to listen to it...