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  1. #1
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    Apr 2006
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    Default had been dead vs. had died

    Dear teachers,

    Please look at this excerpt.

    Robert was going steady with Susan and was thinking of marrying her.
    He wanted to know what kinds of girls her sisters were, what her father was like, and how long her mother __________.


    The answer written on my book said is " had been dead".
    But how about "had died" in the blank?

    I'd like an explanation about this.

    Thanks in advance.
    Spoon

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: had been dead vs. had died

    You can't use 'had died' here, because 'how long' refers to the time period since her death, not the act of dying- state not action. You could say 'how long ago she had died'.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: had been dead vs. had died

    Thanks so much!

    It's a cristal clear answer!

    Always thank you~

    Spoon

  4. #4
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    Default Re: had been dead vs. had died

    Quote Originally Posted by tdol
    . You could say 'how long ago she had died'.
    Could you not also say "has been dead" ???

  5. #5
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: had been dead vs. had died

    In the original you could, but you couldn't say 'how long ago she has been dead'.

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