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I learned that the historical present may be used to create an effect of immediacy in narratives. I have a question about the historic present tense. Why don't we use the progressive tense instead of the simple present tense?

※My English skill is poor, so my question might sound rude. But I don't mean to offend anyone. I'd be glad if someone could reply to my question.

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Progressive is not a tense, it is an aspect. Whether you are writing in past tense or in present tense, the rules for choosing between progressive and non-progressive are essentially the same. Example:

  • In summer 1684 the Brobdingnagian army was laying siege to the capital of Liliput [past progressive], when suddenly Count Gulliver swiftly appeared out of nowhere [simple past].
  • In summer 1684 the Brobdingnagian army is laying siege to the capital of Liliput [present progressive], when suddenly Count Gulliver swiftly appears out of nowhere [simple present].
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