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In CAGIU, we read:

"We can use the present simple in phrases such as It says here, I hear, I gather, I see, I understand and They say, (Someone) says, (Someone) tells me to introduce news that we have heard, read, seen (e.g. on television), or been told."

Then, it provides the following example which made me ask this question:

"Professor Hendricks is at the conference and I hear she's an excellent speaker."


If I saw that sentence somewhere else, I would understood it as below:

  • I am at the conference and I hear people saying she's an excellent speaker.

Would you please shed some light on this sentence?

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    The implication of I hear X in that context is "one or more people have told me" or "I have heard one or more people say" or "rumor has it". The present tense indicates that this is a current opinion going around and you are spreading the opinion. I hear is also how rumors are spread. Pssst. I hear we're getting out early today. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 16 '17 at 18:37
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    @Tᴚoɯɐuo has mistakenly entered the above in the comment field instead of the answer field, I think. – P. E. Dant Jun 16 '17 at 18:50
  • @P.E. Dant: I wasn't sure of the actual question, so I shed some light as requested. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 16 '17 at 18:55
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo Well shed. – P. E. Dant Jun 16 '17 at 18:56
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo The actual question was how to understand that "I hear". – Cardinal Jun 16 '17 at 18:58
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Your understanding of the phrase

I hear

in your example

Professor Hendricks is at the conference and I hear she's an excellent speaker.

has the meaning

I've been told (perhaps directly by some people)
it is generally known

it usually means you do not have first hand experience at hearing her speak.
When you "heard" about her, was probably before the conference.

  • Yes you're right. I forgot this sort of phrases. thanks. – Cardinal Jun 19 '17 at 20:48

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