Could you please explain to the difference between:

I heard her sing
I heard that she sang

So why do we need complex object here if you can use only "that"?

2 Answers 2


The two sentences have different meanings.

The first sentence means that you personally heard her singing. She was singing in your presence.

The second sentence means that you heard what someone said about her. They told you that she sings.

  • In the second one, I would maybe add that 'she sings' usually means that she knows how to sing, and does so at times. Compare 'she plays the piano'. Commented Nov 2, 2022 at 21:33
  • Heard her sing would also apply on the radio, on a tape or disc Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 19:46
  • @RonaldSole my 'in your presence' could conceivably cover that. Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 19:48

First Sentence

I heard her sing- I was present there. I heard her voice with my own ears. I heard her when she sang.

[ I heard her sing. (from beginning to end)

I heard her singing. (in the middle of singing) ]

Second Sentence

I heard that she sang- I heard from someone that 'she can sing'. It does not mean that I heard her voice with my own ears.

'She sings' means she can sing. ('She speaks English' means She can speak English)

It (I heard that she sang) could also mean 'I heard that she sang a song (on a particular occasion, at the party etc.)'. .

  • Or it could mean "I heard that she sang a song on a particular occasion". Commented Nov 3, 2022 at 9:42

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