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Thread: understanding

  1. #1
    Offroad's Avatar
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    Smile understanding

    Please, dear teachers and friends...

    Could you shed some light on this?

    Did you have any problem understanding them?
    Did you have any problem to understand them?

    I think both sentences are fine, to be honest, not so about the red sentence. So, are they different? If so...

    Thanks

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    abaka is offline Senior Member
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    Re: understanding

    Quote Originally Posted by marciobarbalho View Post
    Please, dear teachers and friends...

    Could you shed some light on this?

    Did you have any problem understanding them?
    Did you have any problem to understand them?

    I think both sentences are fine, to be honest, not so about the red sentence. So, are they different? If so...

    Thanks
    The red sentence is not idiomatic. Why? I suppose because the question asks whether the listener had trouble while the matter was being explained, during some (unspecified) time interval. Were "they" human beings speaking? Then the question asks, "As they were speaking, did you have trouble?".

    To express the completed thought, the idiom is "did you not understand them?". I cannot rule out the infinitive construction on any theoretical grounds, but it's just not used.
    Last edited by abaka; 27-Jan-2009 at 18:54. Reason: typo. sigh.

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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Re: understanding

    Quote Originally Posted by marciobarbalho View Post
    Please, dear teachers and friends...

    Could you shed some light on this?

    Did you have any problem understanding them?
    Did you have any problem to understand them?

    I think both sentences are fine, to be honest, not so about the red sentence. So, are they different? If so...

    Thanks
    The red sentence isn't acceptable in Br English, though it might be in some parts of the world (especially in places where there is an underlying mother tongue that uses a to-infinitive in a similar case). If you want to use a to-infinitive you can say 'Did you find it hard to understand them?'

    b

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    Offroad's Avatar
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    Smile Re: understanding

    Thanks mates, I knew the blue sentence was fine, I heard it somewhere. However.. I couldn't say that the red sentence was wrong... I usually listen to radios (worldwide) early in the morning and something tells me the red sentence could also be used... The other day a teacher told me it is possible to hear to many "Englishes" out there... radio programmes usually do that, people from everywhere speaking English, well nor not.

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