Choose the correct non finite verb. Consider the two examples

  1. The inspector saw the robber escape/ escaping on a bicycle.
  2. We hear the choir practise/ practising in the hall.

I think in the first example both the options (bare infinitive or present participle) are correct. But in the second example only the present participle (practising) can be used. I wish to know why bare infinitive cannot be used when the sentence is in the simple present tense.

  • With past events, you can "collapse" them into a single point in time and say that, for example, you saw the robber escape - ie. you saw the entire escape. But it doesn't always make sense for present events - if you can say that, right now, you hear the choir *practice, they're not finished yet, they're still practicing Commented May 17 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


In the first example

  • when we use escape, it means the inspector saw the entire action.
  • when we use escaping, it means the inspector saw only part of the action.

Now in the second example

  • practising highlights the fact that activity was still taking place.
  • practise implies that the action had concluded. (also they heard the entire performance, or most of it), It would be true only if the sentence is in the the past tense.

We heard the choir practise in the hall.

(Ref. www.englishgrammar.org)

You must log in to answer this question.

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