so confused by the following verbs: hear, see, make, let and
allow. Are these verbs followed by another verb in +ing form
or to + base form?
/ hear + object + verb form
see and hear, and also notice and watch
and other verbs of perception, can be followed by object +
bare infinitive (i.e. without to) or by object +
about one o' clock in the morning I heard my daughter unlock
the door and come in.
about one in the morning I heard my daughter unlocking the
door and coming in.
watched my brother scrape the ice off the car windscreen.
watched my brother scraping the ice off the car windscreen.
is often, however, a slight difference in meaning. If we use the
verb-ing form, there is a suggestion that we are witnessing
the event in progress, whereas if we use the bare infinitive,
this suggests that we can hear or see the complete action
or event. Compare the following:
I passed their classroom, I could hear them whispering inside. At
the party, I heard Sue whisper to Tom: "Let's get
our of here before Barry arrives."
watched Henman play Hewitt in the men's singles semi-final
at Wimbledon I
saw them playing in the garden, but I didn't take much notice.
can use see and hear in the passive voice,
but if we use it with an infinitive then to is required.
The verb-ing form is not affected. Compare the following:
was heard to mutter"I shall never forgive you"
as she went out of the room. Everybody
heard her mutter "I shall never forgive you" as
she left the room.
was seen climbing out of the window. They all saw him climbing out of the window.
+object + infinitive
is followed by object + bare infinitive. It cannot
be followed by object + verb-ing
made him wait. I had no intention of speaking to him while
he was in such a foul mood.
She didn't want to do it, but he made her do it.
can also use make with a reflexive object, myself,
yourself, himself, herself, etc and a past participle,
particularly with the verbs understood and heard:
doesn't speak English very well but she can make herself understood
in most situations.
There was so much noise at the party that I had to shout all the
time to make myself heard.
can also use make in the passive voice, but in this
case to before the infinitive is needed:
had done so badly that he was made to repeat the school
He had borrowed over five hundred pounds and was made to pay
it back in monthly installments.
+ object + infinitive
make, see and hear, let is followed by object + bare infinitive.
It cannot be followed by verb-ing:
me carry that box of papers for you. It's very heavy.
Why don't you let him walk home by himself from school
now? He's eleven years old after all
is also frequently used in the expression let's (let us)
to introduce a suggestion. Note that negative sentences with let's
can be formed in two possible ways:
finish the video tomorrow, shall we? I'm tired and
I want to go to bed. Let's not be late home tonight. It's Monday tomorrow after
all. Don't let's get too stressed about this. I know the car
is damaged, but it's only a piece of metal.
do not normally use let in the passive voice.
/ permit + object + infinitive
and permit are the more formal equivalents of let.
But they both require to before the infinitive. Permit
sounds a bit more formal than allow. Compare the following:
me bake the cakes for the party. Allow me / permit me to bake the cakes for the party. I would never let him smoke in the bedroom. I would never allow him / permit him to smoke in the bedroom.
and permit are often used in the passive voice. Remember,
we cannot use let in these examples:
wasn't allowed to pay for my meal. Tony insisted on
Young children should not be allowed / permitted to watch
television after nine o' clock.
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