Verbs of Perception

Verbes de sensation

Verbs of perception indicate that the subject is using sight, sound, or touch to perceive something, whether object or action. The six most common French verbs of perception are

1.   apercevoir   to glimpse
2.   écouter   to listen to
3.   entendre   to hear
4.   regarder   to look at
5.   sentir   to feel
6.   voir   to see

Like other transitive verbs, verb of perception can be followed by a noun: the direct object.

Par exemple…

J’ai aperçu un tigre.   I glimpsed a tiger.
J’écoute les oiseaux.   I’m listening to the birds.
J’entends des étudiants.   I hear some students.
Je regarde le chat.   I’m looking at the cat.
J’ai senti le feu.   I felt the fire.
Je vois les piétons.   I see the pedestrians.

And they can also be followed by an infinitive which indicates what the direct object is doing.

Par exemple…

J’ai aperçu un tigre chasser un sanglier.   I glimpsed a tiger hunting a wild boar.
J’écoute les oiseaux chanter.   I’m listening to the birds sing.
J’entends des étudiants avoir une discussion.   I hear some students having a discussion.
Je regarde le chat sommeiller.   I’m looking at the cat napping.
J’ai senti le feu brûler.   I felt the fire burning.
Je vois les piétons traverser la rue.   I see the pedestrians crossing the street.

 Note that the French infinitive in this construction is usually equivalent to the English present participle.

 Further reading

Page 1: Introduction to verbs of perception
Page 2: Word order with verbs of perception
Page 3: Agreement with verbs of perception

 Related lessons

 Share / Tweet / Pin Me!

French verbs of perception
Stay up to date with Lawless French!
Twitter Facebook Google+ Instagram Pinterest YouTube RSS Newsletter

Any Questions?

 Get help on the forum.
  
 

More Lawless French

 Subscribe to my twice-weekly newsletter.
       

Support Lawless French

  This free website is created with love and a great deal of work.

If you love it, please consider making a one-time or monthly donation.

Your support is entirely optional but tremendously appreciated.

Comments or questions about this page?