I have a problem in the sentence:

I am very sorry to say you this, but Ignazio, he die of heart attack yesterday night.

The time is of past-yesterday night, but the verb die is used in its root form instead of using past tense. Should 'died' be used here or is the sentence correct?

Note: Does it relate to the use of Historic Present i.e. narrating past things as they were happening now?

  • yeh it does sound a little bit weird to me, normally i would say "He passed away" for easier usage in the past tense. Jan 17, 2018 at 6:13
  • Agree with your point but would doubt to say that this sentence is wrong. Is there any such English rule? Jan 17, 2018 at 6:17
  • There is nothing wrong with that sentence, my point is it would be a little bit weird :D. Read here for more Jan 17, 2018 at 6:32
  • What I find wrong with this sentence is that The Present form of the verb DIE should not be used when the time frame is of Past as in Yesterday night. I suppose it should be He died of... Read the link but to no avail; my ques. is about the tense used. Jan 17, 2018 at 6:40

1 Answer 1


In the quoted passage, Eugenia Antonucci is presented as a person whose English is poor. Note the phrase "in tentative, accented English". That's why she makes mistakes in her speech - she is not a native speaker of English.

He die of heart attack yesterday night.

-- this verb form is certainly wrong here. The correct form, as you rightly guessed, is

He died of heart attack yesterday night.

  • The imperfect English is consistent in all of the quoted speech. Two sentences earlier, she says "meet" when it should be "met". Two paragraphs later, there is call instead of called, leave instead of left and tell instead of told.
    – JavaLatte
    Jan 17, 2018 at 6:50

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