watching verbs happen

June 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

Regarder, Ecouter, Entendre, Voir + Infinitive

These verbs, used with an infinitive shows that the subject is observing something happening.

The construction is

Subject Voir





Direct Ojbect of First Verb / Subject of Infinitive Infinitive Direct Object



Le vieillard regarde les enfants jouer.
Il les regarde jouer.
Il les a regardéS jouer. (the past participle agrees with the children – he watched them)

J’entends les enfants chanter la chanson.
Je les entends chanter la chanson. I hear them sing the song.
Je les entends la chanter. I hear them sing it.
Je les ai entenduS la chanter. I heard them sing it.

Nous regardons les danseurs brétons danser. We’re watching the Bréton dancers dance.
Nous les regardons danser. We’re watching them dance.
Nous les avons regardés danser. We watched them dance. (agreement of the past participle to the dansers because we watched them – the watching is the verb that affects the dansers)

* with both objects of both verbs

Nous regardons les danseurs bretons danser la danse folklorique.

Nous les regardons la danser. We’re watching them dance it.

Nous les avons regardés la danser. We watched them dance it.


* with only the direct object of the second verb, this is the construction 

I ran this post by a French friend who is also a language teacher.  Her commentary on this next little section is that it’s grammatically correct, but very awkward. So here are the examples so you see it and understand it, but not something to really concentrate on. 

J’entends chanter la chanson. I hear the song (being) sung.
Je l’entends chanter. I hear it sung.
Je l’ai entendu chanter. I heard it sung. (no agreement because the chanter is the verb that affects la chanson, not the entendre)

Nous regardons danser la danse folklorique. We’re watching the folk dance (being) danced.
Nous la regardons danser. We’re watching it (being) danced.
Nous l’avons regardé danser. We watched it (be) danced. (again, the verb that affects the dance is the danced, not the watched)

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