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Hello!

Could you help me, please?

I'm reading the book "The Time Traveller's Wife". There is a lot of Present Simple.  Could you explain why the author uses Present Simple in some sentences and why she doesn't use there Present Continuous? Thank you!

Clare: The library is cool and smells like carpet cleaner, although all I can see is marble. I sign the Visitors' Log: Clare Abshire, 11:15 10-26-91 Special Collections. I have never been in the Newberry Library before, and now that I've gotten past the dark, foreboding entrance I am excited. I have a sort of Christmas-morning sense of the library as a big box full of beautiful books. The elevator is dimly lit, almost silent. I stop on the third floor and fill out an application for a Reader's Card, then I go upstairs to Special Collections. My boot heels rap the wooden floor. The room is quiet and crowded, full of solid, heavy tables piled with books and surrounded by readers. Chicago autumn morning light shines through the tall windows. I approach the desk and collect a stack of call slips. I'm writing a paper for an art history class. My research topic is the Kelmscott Press Chaucer. I look up the book itself and fill out a call slip for it. But I also want to read about papermaking at Kelmscott. The catalog is confusing. I go back to the desk to ask for help. As I explain to the woman what I am trying to find, she glances over my shoulder at someone passing behind me. "Perhaps Mr. DeTamble can help you," she says. I turn, prepared to start explaining again, and find myself face to face with Henry.

 I am speechless. Here is Henry, calm, clothed, younger than I have ever seen him. Henry is working at the Newberry Library, standing in front of me, in the present. Here and now. I am jubilant. Henry is looking at me patiently, uncertain but polite.

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I've heard this called the procedural present. You say what you're doing at the time you say it.

Teachers often use the procedural present, especially when demonstrating — what else? — a procedure.

"First I put water in this bowl. Then I take a little chunk of sodium from this container. Then I drop the sodium into the water."

Using the present simple this way in a novel makes the reader imagine what's happening as if it were really happening at the moment the words are read.

CJ

Comments  

She is writing in the first person in real time.

 CalifJim's reply was promoted to an answer.