One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The present tense used instead of the past in vivid narrative, especially in titles, such as ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, and informally in speech, e.g. ‘so I say to him’.
- ‘This might only be a literary device or literary preference, since use of the historic present vivifies the action.’
- ‘In Bell's opinion the historic present in English is an exciting, but unusual, narrative strategy.’
- ‘Of course the historic present may be used with greater knowingness and subtlety.’
- ‘It includes historic present, but for the moment no attempt is made to identify instances of this.’
- ‘His best-known technique was use of the historic present, or the eternal present, as a narrative voice; he resolutely avoided the past tense.’
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