Listen to her___ the song


Listen to her ___ the song and then tell us what you think of it.

A) to sing

B) to be singing

C) being sung

D) to have sung

E) sing

I think answer should be either "C" or "E" but I'm not really sure.


Posted 2015-10-16T05:54:54.690

Reputation: 473

5I'd go for option F) singing!. Your option C) being sung sounds that she's a song! – Maulik V – 2015-10-16T06:06:54.577

2Either 'sing' or 'singing' works, but I can't formally describe why, so I'm putting this in a comment rather than an answer. It is something to do with the listening and the singing taking place together, before the 'and then' part, so the infinitive is present tense. – whybird – 2015-10-16T06:56:53.417

4@MaulikV No, it sounds like someones "singing her a song"! – Araucaria - Not here any more. – 2015-10-16T09:50:59.747

Agreed. But then I'll say that it also sounds like... @Araucaria :) – Maulik V – 2015-10-16T09:55:36.647

@MaulikV It would be Listen to her being the song, if you want to make it sounds like she's a song. – Damkerng T. – 2015-10-16T10:20:56.163

@DamkerngT. In the annual function, Enya's "Only Time' was being sung. Only Time here is a song, isn't it? – Maulik V – 2015-10-16T10:30:55.070

1Indeed a very interesting, simple and yet challenging question. I totally forgot the "sing somebody something" structure. – Chu Wa Tim Tim – 2015-10-16T10:55:41.173

Answer E is the most obvious choice. Usually, you listen to someone who is singing a song. However, it is entirely possible that you are at a strange event where one person sings to another person, and you are critiquing their performance. Even so, I can't think of any reason why you would say listen to her being sung the song, simply because if she is listening to the song, then she's not singing or talking (most likely), and so you would not be able to listen to her. – Chris Cirefice – 2015-10-16T18:52:53.960



The Original Poster is right. The answer could be either c) or e):

Example C

  • They're going to sing her your song.
  • Oh no! How embarrassing!
  • Well, listen to her being sung the song and tell us what you think then!

Example E

  • She's going to sing us a song.
  • On no! She's a terrible singer!
  • Well, listen to her sing the song and tell us what you think.

However, the golden rule of any test or exam is:

  • Give the monkeys what they want.

This means that you need to know what your examiners want. They want you to say E. You know this because they are testing your knowledge of perception verbs like listen or see. Answer E show that you understand. Answer C is complicated and could only be used in certain circumstances. The person who set the test made a mistake. The editor didn't see it (it's the editor's fault!).

Araucaria - Not here any more.

Posted 2015-10-16T05:54:54.690

Reputation: 25 536

given one more F) singing what would be your choice then? – Maulik V – 2015-10-16T10:34:38.180

It would depend on the context. F's more likely if she's already started singing, it seems to me. – Araucaria - Not here any more. – 2015-10-16T10:36:07.853

Very comprehensive explaination, but i can only agree with your ideas on E, i still find that "listen to someone who is listening other's singing" weird, although it is grammatically correct. – Chu Wa Tim Tim – 2015-10-16T10:38:49.977

@ChuWaTimTim We understand that the whole situation is being listened to, not just the subject – Araucaria - Not here any more. – 2015-10-16T10:43:01.310

1Oh i got it..."her being sung a song" as one thing....thz..i should have thought of that earlier. This option is actually possible too. – Chu Wa Tim Tim – 2015-10-16T10:53:28.477

+1 for the monkeys comment. Sometimes the people who set these tests are as thick as s..t – chasly - reinstate Monica – 2015-10-16T13:19:53.233

3I disagree that Example C is correct... you would not be listening to HER. The accurate way to state it in that context would be "Listen to them singing the song to her". The phrase listen to her being sung the song is awkward at best and indicates that you are listening to her reactions rather than the song. – Holly – 2015-10-16T17:15:39.670

@HollyK Problem is that what you need to show that something is not corrct is to show that it wouldn't be used by native speakers who are proficient at using the language, and that they would find it ungrammatical. Otherwise it's just something that you in particular wouldn't say ... – Araucaria - Not here any more. – 2015-10-16T17:24:52.453

1@Araucaria, your answer fails to prove that native speakers use the language that way. – Carsten S – 2015-10-16T18:20:38.313

1I agree with @Holly. Another possibility would be "Listen to the song being sung to her, ...". – Carsten S – 2015-10-16T18:21:46.403

@CarstenS Yes, that's definitely another thing that someone could say. – Araucaria - Not here any more. – 2015-10-16T21:26:55.993


A) "listen to her to sing a song", seems to mean the purpose of "listen" is to "sing a song".

B) similiar to A, but the verb "sing" is described as a longer action.

C) a person cannot be sung, logical error.

D) a person cannot finish a song by lsitening to other's singing, logical error too.

E) the only correct answer. Similar to "i heard you sing in the bathroom." "Sing" here is in its bare-infinitive form, while "listen" is the main verb.

F) also correct, similar to (E), but "singing" is an active participle modifying "her".

Chu Wa Tim Tim

Posted 2015-10-16T05:54:54.690

Reputation: 625

Your answer regarding c) is wrong. The OP is right. It can mean listen to someone singing her the song. Where's f) by the way? – Araucaria - Not here any more. – 2015-10-16T09:53:47.633

I cant agree with this, would you mind giving more material supporting your ideas. – Chu Wa Tim Tim – 2015-10-16T09:55:45.267

E) is correct if it'd have been in the past tense. And, there's no (F)! I created it because there is no 'singing' option. :) – Maulik V – 2015-10-16T09:58:14.237

1I read your comment and think that F is also possible. In this structure, the tense of the bare infinitive does not need to be changed, only the main verb is needed to. – Chu Wa Tim Tim – 2015-10-16T10:04:54.353

Pavarotti sang her a aria ---> She was sung an aria by Pavarotti. – Araucaria - Not here any more. – 2015-10-16T10:09:09.577

2This is very informative, but why should someone listen to another who is listening other's singing? – Chu Wa Tim Tim – 2015-10-16T10:34:37.493

Why do we care to see the judges on those "got talent" TV shows while somebody is performing? – Victor Bazarov – 2015-10-16T15:47:30.827

I like your alternatives, especially a). You really should correct the c) though. – Mr Lister – 2015-10-16T17:25:26.430


As a native English speaker from the UK, (C) and (E) are grammatically correct, although they have different meanings. The difference is in who is doing the singing.

(C) Listen to her being sung the song and then tell us what you think of it.

Someone else is singing the song to "her", you should listen and then say what you think. This is grammatically correct but the form seems unusual, you would normally put more emphasis on the person doing the singing than the person being sung to. A more likely sentence using this form might be

Watch her being sung the song and then tell us what you think

This suggests that someone (perhaps an admirer?) is singing her a song, and the important thing is to observe her reaction (does she like him back?)

(E) Listen to her sing the song and then tell us what you think of it.

"she" is about to sing the song (or there is a recording). You should listen to her sing and then give your opinion. If it is suggested that only one is correct, I'd go for this one as the most likely.

Even as a native speaker it took me a few minutes to realise that (C) is a correct form, whereas (E) is the answer I would have picked without thinking

The proposed option (F) singing is also correct and, at least colloquially, means the same as (E).

Joseph Rogers

Posted 2015-10-16T05:54:54.690

Reputation: 1 056