present tenses for narrating a story

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Feb 3, 2008
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Student or Learner
I have a question concerning the usage of the present Simple and Continuous for narrating a story.
I already know that we use The Present Simple for completed actions and The Present Continuous for background but having analysed a couple of grammar books I have doubts if the following exctract made up by me is correct.

'Mel enters the kitchen and talks to her mum. She's telling mum about her plans for the weekend'

If it isn't correct then how can we explain the verb in bold used in The Present Simple.

'This story is about a boy wko makes friends with a snake which he finds in his garden. Then he goes away but he doesn't forget the snake and some years later he returns and looks for it'


Staff member
Nov 13, 2002
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British English
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1 The tense usage is not set in stone, but is more a description ofthe general tendency IMO. There will be examples of forms being used in the opposite manner, but generally, the progressive if used more for the background and the simple for the narrative events.

2 It is in a sense completed because the person writing that knows how the story ended.
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