If someone's just died ( a day, two days ago - maybe in the context of a funeral), do you use past simple or past perfect in the following cases?

  1. How long did you know her/ have you known her?
  2. Everybody who knew/ who's known her is in a daze right now.
  3. Even those who didn't know/ haven't known her long have been hit hard by the news of her death.
  • One correction: "how long have you known her" is present perfect, not past perfect. Past perfect would be "had you known her".
    – stangdon
    Jan 5, 2018 at 16:11

1 Answer 1


You would use the simple past tense to talk about someone who has just died whereas, if she were still alive, you would use the present perfect. In some instances, you could use the past perfect when talking about someone who has just died:

"How long had you known her before she died?"

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