I was watching Lord of the Rings, and in the scene where the ork said that Aragorn had fallen off the cliff, Legolas said: "you lie". Why did he say it in the present simple time? Wouldn't the present progressive be more appropriate in that situation?

  • 2
    "Why did he say it in the present...?" did is the tensed verb in that construction, and it partners with the bare infinitive, say.
    – TimR
    Commented Jan 9, 2019 at 12:13

1 Answer 1


Some writers use the simple present in places where a contemporary native speaker would use the progressive in order to give the words of their characters a somewhat antique feel. "You're lying" would sound too contemporary, too normal and "everyday".

Ngram isn't always a good indicator of spoken patterns, but you can see from this one that "You lie" spikes in the 17th century.

NOTE: There's a glitch with the apostrophe in that URL. Search 1600-2000 for You lie, You're lying.

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