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There's this quote from the game Batman: Arkham Origins in which there's the phrase "She dies" which Ferris says about Mr. Freeze's wife Nora, who's suffering an uncurable disease.

Shouldn't it be something like "She's dying", given that that's what she is, "dying", as in "suffering an uncurable condition and awaiting certain death"? What would such a phrase as "She dies" mean?

Unless you were a phoenix whose gimmick is to keep on dying and reviving, or you're talking about things in general as a matter of fact (as in "People die" or "Male shrews die after mating"), or you're using it in a hypothetical/conditional or future sense (as in "if/until/the day I die"), using the verb die in the present simple when talking about a single individual doesn't seem to make much sense.

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    You might say: He falls to the floor and dies. No other tense really works in that construction. What tense you use depends on context. – Jason Bassford Jan 12 at 16:26
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The context is as follows:

Mr. Freeze: Please, you can save her. You just have to bypass the--

Ferris Boyle: No, Victor. She dies. But I'll keep you alive just long enough to see her go.

The simple present (or non-past) form used in a future or "planning" sense in this context. "She dies" = "She is going to/must die". It doesn't have to do with her state at the moment when the sentence is spoken.

This kind of use of the simple present is more common in sentences with a time adverb, but it's possible even without one. I'm not sure about the exact conditions for its use. Other examples I can think of that would sound fairly natural in this kind of context are "She comes with me" or "They stay here."

  • Oh, now that I consider the full quote "No. She dies." it does sound like it can mean something like that. This isn't a statement of fact, but a statement of personal determination from Boyle, as in "No. I'm not helping you, and she has to die". – Vun-Hugh Vaw Jan 13 at 6:06

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