I have come across this question and locked up the internet for the answer but it is so complex to do such thing

The students ______ (go) to America a few years ago. No one of them has completed his studies yet, but we expect them to return in the coming few years.

A- have gone B- went

My answer was A, I know the time is mentioned but they haven’t returned yet so the action is still continuing to the future

  • 1
    HInt: when you see a "few years ago", "last month", and other "period limiters" the verb is in the simple past.
    – Lambie
    Dec 11, 2017 at 15:00

1 Answer 1


The correct answer is B. The phrase 'have gone', would imply that the conversation was happening at the same time as the students leaving for America, however the sentence contradicts this by saying that they went a few years ago. This is why 'went' would be the correct answer, as it talks about the past tense, something that has already happened. You can see the definition of past tense here;

In English, the past tense (or preterite) is one of the inflected forms of a verb. The past tense of regular verbs is made by adding -d or -ed to the base form of the verb, while those of irregular verbs are formed in various ways (such as see→saw, go→went, be→was/were).

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