Person A: Let's watch this video now kids. [plays the video]

[the dog in the video starts to bark at someone]

Person A: What is the dog doing?

A child: He's barking at someone.

  1. In this exchange the participants are kind of treating the paused frame [this barking] as a live event / something happening now and that's why they speak of it with the continuous -- is my understanding right?

On the other hand, when if the participants focused on a broader part of the video, on some sequence of actions, then they would use present simple: the dog gets irritated by a stranger then starts to bark etc. Right?

  1. Could person A ask at the paused frame about a signle action like: What does the dog do now?

And a kid would reply: it barks

From what I wrote above this sounds wrong to me.

  • 1
    The only time you might say that is if the child knew the video very well and could predict what was going to happen next. Aug 30, 2023 at 17:53
  • Thanks! And do you more or less agree with my line of reasoning for the rest of it? Aug 31, 2023 at 5:56
  • Yes, we speak of something happening in a film as though it is happening now. Aug 31, 2023 at 8:49

1 Answer 1


When you narrate a film or other literary work, you typically speak in the present tense. Listeners understand that what you're describing already happened in the past, but you're narrating it as though it were happening now.

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