Need help explaining verb usage when saying "I heard the bomb go off" vs. "I hear the bomb went off" Sorry I hope this 2-part question is not too confusing: 1) Why does "heard" carry the tense in the first sentence and how/why does it affect the meaning?(i.e. I actually heard the bomb go off)? 2) Why does "went" carry the tense in second and how/why does it affect the meaning? ( i.e. I heard through some source that the bomb went off) I am struggling to explain this to a non-native English person who does not understand the mixing of past/present verbs in these sentences and how it affects the subsequent meaning....... Thank You!!!
Nov 8, 2017 4:48 AM
Answers · 3
Yeah, that will be difficult to explain! I will just add these comments to the three sentences that *might* help you out. 1) I heard the bomb go off. 2) I heard the bomb went off. 3) I hear the bomb went off. I think you're right about 2/3. In both cases, it came from a source. And they both use the past tense in the second part. Whereas, 1 uses the present tense in the second part and is your direct personal experience. Try adding the word "that". Which forces it to be something you got from a different source. I heard that the bomb go off. <-- doesn't make sense I heard that the bomb went off. <- makes sense I hear that the bomb went off. <- makes sense And the difference in tense in the first part in 2/3 changes the meaning slightly. I hear... --> It is my understanding... I heard... --> Someone told me directly or I read it, etc. And finally, the following doesn't really work in conversation, right? 4) I hear the bomb go off. (this is like you're telling someone your own story) And then... I hope that helps with some kind of explanation. :)
November 8, 2017
Thank you both!! Very helpful......
November 8, 2017
You are correct. The second example is called "reported speech." Enter that search term, and Mr Google will tell you all you want to know.
November 8, 2017
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