Verbs of perception

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Verbs of perception

The verbs of involuntary perception (to see, to hear, to feel, to smell,to taste) have certain characteristics in common:
• They are often used with the auxiliary verb can:
Can you hear that? Do you hear that? Are you able to hear that?
I can't see much. I am not able to see much.
I can feel the baby moving inside me. I feel the baby moving inside me.

•  They are not conjugated in the progressive form, unlike verbs which express voluntary actions ('to look (at)', 'to listen (to)'):
I hear what you're saying, but I don't want to listen to you anymore.

However they are also used to express voluntary actions and can therefore be conjugated in the progressive form:
Bruno can't see who's knocking at his door. (involuntary)
Bruno is not seeing anybody today. (voluntary)
Can you feel the banana leaf added to this mixture? (involuntary)
Horatio is feeling a banana leaf. He says he likes its texture. (voluntary)
Luna's cake tastes good. (involuntary)
Luna is tasting her cake. (voluntary)

•  They are formed with an object followed by a verb in the infinitive without 'to' (like the verbs to watch, to observe...):
I saw the sun rise this morning.
Everybody heard Philip yell.


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