have long been dead vs. have been long dead

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  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    There is no real difference in semantic terms: the message being conveyed is the same.
    There is no difference in grammatical correctness: the adverb may modify either 'been' or 'dead'.
    Some people treat 'long dead' as a cliché, and feel the two words belong together.
     

    High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    Google ngram supports the view that with long dead you usually keep the same tense, i.e. "is long dead". This fits in with what I feel is natural.
    http://books.google.com/ngrams/grap...800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3&share=.

    Your second sentence I find unusual. It seems to use what we call a historical present. I would have expected "had long been dead" or "had been long dead".
    Neither of those sentences is mine. They have been written by English writers.
     

    High on grammar

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    Google ngram supports the view that with long dead you usually keep the same tense, i.e. "is long dead". This fits in with what I feel is natural.
    http://books.google.com/ngrams/grap...800&year_end=2000&corpus=0&smoothing=3&share=.

    Your second sentence I find unusual. It seems to use what we call a historical present. I would have expected "had long been dead" or "had been long dead".


    I just read the whole paragraph for "“ Joseph has long been dead" and I think your are right. Because the whole paragraph is written in the past tense. I think it's a mistake



    Thanks again
     
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