Unifying the canonical, historical, and play-by-play present


  • Pranav Anand
  • Maziar Toosarvandani




While the present tense is typically taken to index the reference time to the time of utterance, such a restriction cannot capture noncanonical uses of the present in English, such as the historical present or play-by-play present. We adopt a bicontextual semantics for present tense, in which the two time coordinates are mediated by pragmatics, allowing us to bring canonical, narrative, and play-by-play uses under a single denotation. Moreover, we show that such a treatment can also capture the novel observation that the historical use of the present tense can “anchor” the past perfect, while its other two uses cannot.


How to Cite

Anand, P., & Toosarvandani, M. (2019). Unifying the canonical, historical, and play-by-play present. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 21(1), 19–34. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2018.v21i1.122