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My Grammar book gives me "went" as the correct answer and I don't understand why.

"When did Jane go?"

"I don't remember when she ____."

a. goes b. went c. was gone d. had gone

Why "was gone" is not the right answer?

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In modern English "BE + past participle" as a verb form can only be passive (eg "was eaten"). Since "go" is not transitive, it cannot form a passive. It follows that "was gone" cannot be a verb form. *

It follows that "was gone" can only be parsed as "copula + adjective". So "I don't remember when she was gone", while grammatical, has a rather different meaning: it can only mean something like "I don't remember when she wasn't here".

*In Early Modern English, some intransitive verbs could take BE + ppl for the perfect, so "was gone" could correspond to modern "had gone". You'll find such forms in Shakespeare and the King James Bible. But this is obsolete now.

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  • I was initially thinking it might also help OP to contrast I missed her when she went and I missed her when she was gone, but when I thought about it a bit more I realised I've no idea how to address that one! – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 14 '17 at 18:20
  • I think the easiest answer here is first: the past of go is went. Then, your has gone explanation is fine. Though perhaps overly technical for the OP. – Lambie Jan 14 '17 at 18:41
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"When did Jane go?"

"I don't remember when she ____."

a. goes b. went c. was gone d. had gone Why "was gone" is not the right answer?

the question in the sentence is GO. The past tense of GO is WENT, not /was gone/. "to be gone" is a different expression with different rules.

I don't remember when she went.

However, I would say the following: None of the answers are great. The most idiomatic response would probably be: I don't remember when she left.

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Gone is the past participle of to go. Used as the verb of a sentence, it must always be preceded by an auxiliary verb such as has, have, had, is, am, are, was, were, be, or one of their contractions.

Went is the past tense of to go. It never takes an auxiliary verb.

Incorrect: They gone to the movies.  (Gone needs an auxiliary verb.)

Correct: They have gone to the movies.

Correct: They are gone to the movies.

Correct: They went to the movies.

Incorrect: You could have went with them.  (Went takes no auxiliary verb.)

Correct: You could have gone with them.

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