I just came across a sentence which confused me a lot.

In Cambridge Dictionary, there's a sentence:

You should have heard the audience applaud - the noise was fantastic.

I think that the action "applaud" in this context is a past action, so shouldn't it be "You should have heard the audience applauded" instead? Can anyone please explain this type of grammatical structure?

Here is the link: Translation of "applaud" - English-Traditional Chinese dictionary

  • Sorry, what are asking? Your "instead" sentence is the same as the one Cambridge gives. The sentence is, by the way, absolutely correct. Ask a question, "You should have heard the audience do what? - applaud." Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 7:11
  • the cambridge one is "applaud" while the "instead" one is "applauded". @SovereignSun
    – Dennis
    Commented Nov 20, 2017 at 8:21

1 Answer 1


Verbs of perception can be followed by a bare infinitive to express what you heard or saw or felt:

I heard him enter the building.

I heard the bell ring.

I saw the train arrive.

It is also possible to use the present participle: "entering", "ringing", "arriving".

"I heard the audience applaud" or "I heard the audience applauding" tells us what you heard the audience do.

If you said instead "I heard (that) the audience applauded", the meaning would change: you're no longer saying that you yourself heard the audience applaud, but instead that you heard from someone else that this is what happened.

(Another, less likely interpretation of "I heard the audience applauded" would be that you heard people applauding the audience. In that case you might be more likely to say "I heard the audience get(ting) applauded".)


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .