In this clip, Lex Luthor says, "Bruce Wayne meets Clark Kent."

Could he have said instead, "Bruce Wayne is meeting Clark Kent." in the same context?

What's the reason for going with the present simple tense in the actual dialogue?


Maybe I should have laid out some backdrop against which this question is posed, in order to solicit a better, more fitting answer.

As far as I know, there's this general rule of the English grammar that is nicely presented as follows:

In particular, we often use the simple present ("I walk to the store") to refer to habitual actions, and the simple progressive ("I am walking to the store") to refer to currently ongoing actions.

Which was quoted from the most upvoted answer to this question.

Doesn't BW meeting CK refer to a "currently ongoing action", as opposed to a "habitual action"? Then, why the present simple?

  • Wow, -1 for nothing. LOL
    – JK2
    Apr 28, 2016 at 2:44
  • Yeah, you've run into a driveby downvoter, a plague upon this site. Let me help.
    – deadrat
    Apr 28, 2016 at 3:51
  • @deadrat Like the votes really matter. But thanks anyway.
    – JK2
    Apr 28, 2016 at 4:40

1 Answer 1


There's a few reasons why "Bruce Wayne meets Clark Kent." is used:

  • Stylistically to the scene, that sentence is much more to the point and of the "short and sweet" variety of sentences. You have people meeting who don't see eye to eye and for those that are aware of what's happening, we know some serious stuff is going to happen. It's snappy and messes with the tension a bit.
  • Historically, "someone meets someone" sentences have been used when adversaries (or people who others seem to agree would be adversaries) meet each other, and are not new:

'Of the fight between Amelio and Jobs over Apple, Woz said simply: "Gil Amelio meets Steve Jobs, game over."' - Wired Magazine, The World According to Woz, Gary Wolf, September 1st, 1998

Consider it a continuation of a tradition, especially with superheroes.

  • Functionally it ties the movie to the main idea of what it's about: Batman vs Superman.

There's probably more but these I think are the main reasons.

  • This is kind of a long way about to say that the simple present (meets) speaks of an event that happens and is done with, which describes an introduction. The present progressive (is meeting) speaks of an ongoing event over an extended interval, which describes say, two people talking in a conference room, which does not describe an introduction. But upvote.
    – deadrat
    Apr 28, 2016 at 3:56
  • @deadrat I don't quite get your concept of "introduction". Could you please elaborate on what you mean by that, possibly in your own answer, also considering the new edit to the OP? I'd appreciate it.
    – JK2
    Apr 28, 2016 at 4:39
  • @JK2 By introduction I mean the process by which two people who don't know each other are made acquainted by a third party who knows both of them. At the least, the third party gives the names of the other two, but may give descriptions as well: "Howard, this is Mary; she's my sister. Mary this is Howard, an old friend from college."
    – deadrat
    Apr 28, 2016 at 4:56
  • @JK2 The simple present in English may have an enduring aspect, as you noted in your question. This can describe ongoing actions (The earth revolves around the sun.) and habitual ones (He always goes to the store on Mondays.) But the simple present can also describe an action completed in the present. When the sports announcer says, "Number 12 shoots! He scores!" he's talking about a single goal scored at the moment of his announcement.
    – deadrat
    Apr 28, 2016 at 5:00
  • @deadrat Thanks for answering. But in this particular context, Lex Luthor is not really introducing BW to CK or vice versa. Although the video is clipped in such a way that you might think that's the case, what really happened in the movie was that CK introduced himself to BW and then while they were talking Lex Luthor showed up and said the line "BW meets CK".
    – JK2
    Apr 28, 2016 at 5:05

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