I would like to hear our king teaches me.

Is that correct? Should I use teach instead of the 3rd person singular as it has a modal verb, or must teach be in a conditional sentence that requires the simple past?

I was trying to make a plain opinion or it have to be infinitive to teach or gerund teaching. Could someone please explain to me the whole rule?

  • Infinitive (without the "to" marker: I would like to hear our king teach me. Gerund: I would like to hear our king teaching me. Oct 31, 2016 at 0:21
  • Hi thanks for the answer, but it still confuses me why can't it be a third person singular verb, what makes that so, what is the rule?. Oct 31, 2016 at 0:25
  • I'm not sure what rule you are looking for. "I would like to hear our king teaches me" is not grammatical in English. The verb hear takes a noun phrase as its object, and "our king teaches me" is not a NP but a complete sentence. Oct 31, 2016 at 0:44
  • I mean, the sentence explains that I would like to hear (the king teaches me), as it a verb of the king teaching me and King is a singular pronoun, why can't it have a singular verb, what is the rule of that, why it is grammatical incorrect to put a third singular verb that is basically used for singular pronoun. Oct 31, 2016 at 0:44
  • Hear (and other verbs of its type) takes an object (our king) and a bare infinitive (teach) or a gerund (teaching). The verb teach does not have our king as its subject. Our king is the object of hear, not the subject of teach. See this link for example. Oct 31, 2016 at 0:47

1 Answer 1


Following verbs of perception (hear, see, etc.) you may use either the infinitive form or the gerund form. The grammar and meaning are different for each.

In your example the infinitive is teach or to teach. So the correct grammar is:

I would like to hear our king teach me.

Alternately, if you want to express an ongoing action, use the gerund:

I would like to hear our king teaching me.

Now ... while this is correct grammar this is not natural English. For starters, hear is passive while listen is active. If the king were teaching you, you would probably pay attention, so the more appropriate verb would be to listen.

But again, it's odd to say you would only listen to someone teach you something. Usually we would get (or be given) a lesson, or attend a lesson, or at the very least (if we were not part of the class) observe a lesson. We would get the full experience, not just the auditory part. So if you are the one being taught by the king, you would use a more comprehensive verb to describe the experience, and not just "hear":

I would like to have our king teach me.

Since this is an odd example, here are some others:

I would like to listen to him play Beethoven.

I would like to listen to him playing Beethoven.


I would like to watch her cook us dinner.

I would like to watch her cooking us dinner.


I love to hear the birds sing

I love to hear the birds singing

More on verbs of perception

  • What does "hear is passive" mean? "They heard our voices" certainly seems active to me. Oct 31, 2016 at 0:40
  • @P.E.Dant he's saying that the act of "hearing" is passive (involuntary) compared to "listening", which is usually said to be volitive/active.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 31, 2016 at 6:49
  • @Mari-LouA There is no difference at all between the acts of hearing and listening. Hearing may very subtly imply understanding words, as opposed to merely letting their sounds vibrate your eardrums, but it's a distinction without a difference. Our eardrums can't somehow reach out and "actively" gather those sounds. To hear is every bit as "active" as to listen. Hear is not a "passive" verb, whatever that means. Oct 31, 2016 at 6:55
  • @P.E.Dant i was explaining why Andrew chose the expression "passive", your comment seemed to suggest that the passive form was being used. My comment was really there to clarify the meaning of "passive" = involuntary, more than anything else. We speak about "passive smoke" don't we? What does that mean?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 31, 2016 at 6:57
  • @Mari-LouA I know, and it's important that the OP not gather from the answer that there is something "passive" about hearing as opposed to listening. I can't understand what he's on about there, but it's not a good lesson for a learner. Oct 31, 2016 at 7:00

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