I saw this sentence in a book, and the verb "happen" has no "s":

I have seen it happen to friends.

May the sentence be wrong? and if it is correct in what cases we can not give "s" to a verb?


1 Answer 1


The sentence is correct. Here you see the construction "to see somebody do something." Instead of "see" there can be "hear," "watch," or "listen," for example.

"I have seen it happen to friends" means the same as "I have seen how it happens to friends." Omit "how" and you've got the construction. Here are a few other examples:

Can I watch you/her/him/them play the guitar? - Yes, sure.

I hear you whisper but I don't understand what you are whispering.

Can I listen to you sing my favorite song? - No problem. I'll sing it for you.

Can I see your baby sleep?

Note that after the predicate you need to use the objective pronoun. So, it would be incorrect to say "Can I listen to he sing?" You need to say "Can I listen to him sing?"

  • Can I say "I heard you whispered"?
    – N SH
    Jun 12, 2019 at 9:27
  • @NSH you can but it's a different thing. "I hear you whispered something (in the past)." "I hear you whisper" (now).
    – Enguroo
    Jun 12, 2019 at 9:28
  • Thanks, but why do you say "I "hear" you whispered" if it is in the past? shouldn't we say "heard" if it is in the past?
    – N SH
    Jun 12, 2019 at 9:32
  • @NSH good point. Let me put it like this. All the following sentences are absolutely correct: I heard you whisper/I heard you were whispering/I heard you had whispered. Of course, the use of each of the forms depends on the situation, the don't mean the same thing. But I'd say "I heard you whisper" if I meant "I heard how you were whispering." "I heard you whispered" sounds like he/she always whispered something - regularly.
    – Enguroo
    Jun 12, 2019 at 10:04
  • @NSH by the way, you may find this interesting - macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/i-hear-i-ve-heard. "I hear" can be used to talk about something that someone told me in the past: I hear you are leaving; I hear you are moving, etc.
    – Enguroo
    Jun 12, 2019 at 10:07

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