In this context, why does he use "come"?

Oh! Quick. Here they come. Oxford English Daily Conversation Episode 2

Why doesn't he use "are coming" or "have been coming" ?

They are coming here / Here they are coming.

They have been coming here / Here they have been coming.


Can you please recommend an article or reference where we can use "Simple Present" with now events. So I can read and learn more about this usage.

Update 2:

I have read this article that describes When Should I Use The Present Simple Tense?

We can also use the present simple for short actions that are happening now. The actions are so short that they are finished almost as soon as you've said the sentence. This is often used with sports commentary, or in demonstrations. He takes the ball, he runs down the wing, and he scores! First I put some butter in the pan and turn on the cooker.

Is this apply on "Here they come"?

  • The short answer: this is an idiomatic usage. It is used to signal excitement; positive or negative. Quick. Here they come suggests you have to do something before they see it.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 16:11
  • @Lambie Can you provide me with article describing where we can use "base verb form" with events are happening now, please?
    – Shannak
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 18:18
  • No, I just know it. Here they come, there they go are idiomatic usages. I just know it as a native speaker and cannot give you a reference. Sorry. Are you writing a grammar by any chance? Why do you need a reference? Just wondering. I suspect it is very, very old: in Shakepeare you get things like: Hark! They come. So maybe it just never left the language.
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 30, 2017 at 18:22
  • @Lambie I need reference just to read more and understand how I can use this tense in right situation.
    – Shannak
    Commented Feb 18, 2017 at 14:57
  • 1
    Here they come. They they go are structures used in the face of a particular situation. It is idiomatic usage. I just do not know what more I can tell you without extensive research which I am not going to do. It can only be used in the present simple: I suspect it was originally: Hark! They come. In Shakespeare's time, the present simple was often used like this.
    – Lambie
    Commented Feb 19, 2017 at 17:18

3 Answers 3


This is simply one of the uses of Present Simple:

"In exclamatory sentences beginning with here and there to express what is actually taking place in the present."

There she goes!

For other uses and as the source see here.


Shakespeare's usage of Hark! followed by present simple:

Mistress, upon my life, I tell you true; I have not breathed almost since I did see it. He cries for you, and vows, if he can take you, To scorch your face and to disfigure you. [Cry within] Hark, hark! I hear him, mistress. fly, be gone! Comedy of Errors [V, 1]

And hark, what noise the general makes! Coriolanus [I, 4]

First Senator

Hark you! they come this way. [A march afar] All's Well That Ends Well [III, 5]


Hark, how they knock! Romeo and Juliet

See this BOOK: that describes this phenomenon under the use of simple present entitled "CURRENT ACTIVITIES: WHEN SAYING IS DOING"

Also, further along in the book is the sentence: /Here they come/ explained in relation to this Current Activity Idea.

This is a type of performative verb, too: /Here they come/ is as if the speaker is actually "doing" the action. In fact, she or he is describing a current activity.


The use of the bare infinitive "come" in

Here they come.
There they go!

is more of a warning and has the feeling of

Beware! Here they come!

and is used for emphasis. In your example, the reporter is using to as a call-to-action, since they want to film a segment. He could have easily said

Look! They're coming!

but it would not have the same "feeling". "Here" is not necessary with "coming" since it already implies "coming here" / "coming this way".

I realize this can be confusing since in the same video they also use

Look out, she's coming.

to essentially meaning the same thing.

  • It could also be excitement. Here they come! [People you are waiting for].
    – Lambie
    Commented Jan 28, 2017 at 16:09
  • Thank you, any recommended reference so I can read more about the subject.
    – Shannak
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 4:54
  • Sorry, Don't have reference, you will et to know bout it with more exposure to English, specially AmE.
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 29, 2017 at 18:02

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