...he has long ago departed without leaving a trace.


Senior Member

Here is a sentence from "The Duel" by a Russian writer Teleshov. Is it right?
A friend came to see the mother to inform that her son has been just killed in a duel. The mother, thinking her son was still sleeping in his room, later found her son had left the home. He said to the friend:
"Here I have been taking care not to make the least noise with the cups and saucers, and asking you not to wake my boy, and he has long ago departed without leaving a trace."

Can I say "he has left three days ago"? I don't think so. I think it should be "he left three days ago."

Thank you very much.
Last edited:
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    "He has long ago departed without leaving a trace" does not really refer to the time that he left, but that, viewed from now, there has been no trace of him for a long time.

    You are entirely correct that you cannot (usually) use the present perfect to say that something happened at a particular time in the past, and you need the simple past instead.