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Trunks and his parents, and Goku had travelled to the Future for some reason. When Bulma saw Yajirobe, she said:

Thank you. I heard you saved them.

I am wondering why it is neither

Thank you. I heard you save them.

nor

Thank you. I heard you that saved them.

because our English teachers used to tell us that infinitive is used without to after certain verbs of perception, such as hear and see.

Or is it just a difference between American English and British English?

Thank you.

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  • Hear in your sentence means be told. Your English teacher meant hear in the sense of hearing a sound as in I heard them argue last night or he heard John go upstairs adding ing to argue and go is also possible.
    – Yuri
    Oct 2, 2016 at 19:07
  • I think the answers didn't recognize the OP's concern. It seems there is a confusion over the use of bare infinitive after verbs see, hear, watch, etc. That's why he's asking why there is a past form after the verb hear and not a bare infinitive. It's the matter of sense I suppose. Please consider it in your answer to best help him/her.
    – Yuri
    Oct 2, 2016 at 19:29
  • I hear can also mean I have been told, or I have heard someone say or the news has reached me, that.... I hear the summer Olympics will be held at The North Pole in the year 2064. In "I heard you saved them", "you saved them" is a so-called "reduced" clause, equivalent to "that you saved them".
    – TimR
    Oct 2, 2016 at 19:52

2 Answers 2

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I heard you save them means that you were there at the time and [over]heard what happened but didn't see it.

I heard that you saved them means that you got the information from someone else.

I heard you saved them contains an ellipsis and means the same as I heard that you saved them.

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I heard you saved them.

is correct using past tense

I heard you save them.

has a conflict in verb tenses since obviously the "saving" must occur before the "hearing".

I heard you that saved them.

is incorrect since the subordinate clause is misplaced, however

I heard that you saved them.
I heard it was you that saved them.

would be correct.

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  • There's nothing wrong with "I heard you save them" if the meaning is "I heard the sound you made when you saved them". "Save" in that construction is not present, but infinitive. If the meaning is "Somebody told me that you saved them", there is a finite subordinate clause (with or without 'that') and its verb "saved" needs to be in the past.
    – Colin Fine
    Oct 2, 2016 at 21:21

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