I was going through a piece of news at B.B.C at this link, when I came across this line:

Israeli media report that the document did not include any references to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I was wondering why the verb "report" has been used in the simple present tense whereas it should, seemingly, be either in the progressive or simple past. As, they want to tell us that the media has done so or that it is doing so.

Now, here came to my mind two possibilites:

1: Vivid narrative. But, the context doesn't seem to present this sentence with any sensation. So, I am considering it a less probable candidate.

2: Being the verb whose progressive form is not used, like "see", "feel". But, I am not sure of this.

Needless to mention that the second form of the verb is postfixed with "ed" so there is no question of it being the second form.

Thus, am I right in any of these two possibilites or there is a third candidate which has eluded and evaded my mind?

Your enlightning reply would be highly regarded!

  • Vivid narrative explains it well. After all, BBC news is fresh information, not old news of the past, so the statement uses the present tense. Oct 19, 2020 at 14:16

1 Answer 1


I have a couple of ideas. Maybe this use of simple present is a question of style and tone. News reports tend to use the present simple in headlines, for example. From the Guardian today:

Andy Burnham calls for vote to 'break impasse'

Locked down Leicester teeters on the brink of despair.

Greater Manchester running out of hospital beds, leak reveals.

However, since your example is from the body of text, not the headline, this doesn't exactly fit. So my second thought is that it's something to do with the usage of the verb 'report'. I found other examples on the BNC concordancer :

Others resort to theft, and the locals report that nothing is safe. (Source: The Face, arts periodical, UK)

Local estate agents Gribble, Booth and Taylor report that local economies in such areas as Plymouth, Exeter, Tiverton and Taunton are growing, making these areas the least risky to buy into.* (Source: Daily Telegraph, UK)

Similarly, Openshaw et al. (1986) report that the data in the Domesday System are available for 25 different and incompatible types of areal unit. (Source: Periodical- applied science, UK)

Perhaps the answer is a combination of both of these ideas: in informative written genres the verb 'report' tends to be used in the present simple when used to describe recent or current events?

Also, with regards your second theory, a concordancer (ibid.) search for '(be) reporting' showed that it is indeed used in its progressive form:

This time last year, I was reporting that the gap between the two sectors of higher education was widening.

Fuelled by stronger high street sales, Britain's service sector, two thirds of the economy, is reporting faster growth.

But companies are reporting that orders are still down on last year.

I hope that helps!:-)

  • Thank you for such an elaborate and enlightening answer which is infact a method to research in the related questions. Oct 19, 2020 at 16:43

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