In Katy Per­ry’s song “Roar”, she says this at the end of the cho­rus:

  1. You’re gonna hear me roar

Why did she use the bare in­fini­tive form of the verb roar here in­stead of that ver­b’s ‑ing form?

  1. You’re gonna hear me roar­ing

In case the con­text helps, the en­tire cho­rus runs like this:

I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter
  Danc­ing through the fire.

Cause I am a cham­pion, and you’re gonna hear me roar
  Louder, louder than a lion.

Cause I am a cham­pion, and you’re gonna hear me roar.

  • 2
    As the answer to Edwin's proposed duplicate explains, both forms are correct. 1006a's answer explains precisely why Katy chose to use the form "roar", but grammatically, she could have used either. Some of the answers imply that the form she chose is grammatically incorrect, but that is wrong. Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 9:11
  • If said by a pirate, it could be read as: "Hear (my) roar" :P
    – xDaizu
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 9:52
  • I'm honestly surprised this question was triggered by a Katy Perry song instead of House Lannister's words. Not that I have a problem with that, or anything, it was just unexpected.
    – xDaizu
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 9:55
  • It's probably worth it to note that songs, much like poetry, don't always follow strict grammar rules.
    – Kenneth K.
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 15:30

5 Answers 5


It's a quote. One of the very first anthems of the women's movement was Helen Reddy's 1970s hit "I Am Woman" (see Wikipedia for the song's history). Its opening lines are

I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore

The line "I am woman, hear me roar" has since become something of a catchphrase (Wikipedia). Katy Perry's song of empowerment calls back to this famous line; regardless of any other considerations of grammar,1 changing the line would dilute the association.

1 Edited to add: Of course there's nothing wrong with the grammar; you can read about the possible variations of meaning in the answer to the question “Heard me [infinitive]” vs. “heard me [present participle]” and in the article suggested in a comment there, "Verbs of perception" at EnglishGrammar.org.


Compare these two sentences:

You're gonna hear me roar. -and- You're gonna hear me roaring.

The first is far more definite and assertive. It has a defiant, almost challenging, quality to it. I'm going to win! You're not going to stop me!

The second is more fluid, extending out into the future toward some indefinite possible stopping point. I'm going to be winning (but then you might stop me). You're not going to be stopping me (but then the next day maybe you will).

Also, Katy Perry probably didn't want to give the impression that she's the chick over there in the corner who has been roaring this whole time. Best to have one triumphant roar!

But great question. You forced me to really think about the nature of the perfect tense.

  • 3
    Think Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society quoting Walt Whitman, "I sound my barbaric yawp from the rooftops of the world"! I am sounding my barbaric yawping from the rooftops...just doesn't cut it.
    – CWill
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 5:42

The simple fact is that you will hear the action (roar) and not the consequence[sound] (roaring). This in itself lends to the power of the message.

See me walk away VS See me walking away
Let me be VS Let me being(?)


The progressive ("gerund") form of a verb usually has imperfective semantics, denoting an ongoing activity. "You're gonna hear me roar" evokes the image that you will see me somewhere, and then you and everyone else will be surprised when I let out a roar. Whereas "hear me roaring" conveys more of a nuance that when you will have arrived on the scene, I will have already been roaring before you got there with everyone just expecting me to continue. Therefore, this form is not as effective for setting up a metaphor for "I'm going to make an impact".


You're gonna hear my roaring would be the right form, in case, you want to use the gerund form of roar.

Related ELU question:
When is a gerund supposed to be preceded by a possessive adjective/determiner?

  • 1
    Unfortunately the misplaced comma(s) in the first sentence make it hard to tell what you are trying to say (I'm a native English speaker). In any case "hear my roaring" is one grammatically correct version of the OP's sentence, but not the only correct version.
    – alephzero
    Commented Jun 19, 2017 at 13:02

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