Stephen Hawking was known the most because he ______ many things while living with this terrible disease, ALS.

a. accomplished b. has accomplished

it is tricky because his accomplishments are still influencing other people.

I think it's A because he died recently, and also I recalled the Grammar rule which talks about past simple + past progressive interruption (e.g While I was eating, John came)

1 Answer 1


Stephen Hawking is now, sadly, deceased, so it's not appropriate to use the present perfect to describe any of his actions. In this case use the simple past (not the simple present):

Stephen Hawking is widely known because he accomplished many things while living with his terrible disease.

However, you may use the present perfect to talk about his accomplishments, since those continue to have an effect:

Even after his death, Stephen Hawking's accomplishments have influenced many physicists.

Side note: "Was known the most" is grammatical but juvenile. Better expressions:

Stephen Hawking was the most well-known ...

Stephen Hawking was widely-known (for/as) ...

Stephen Hawking gained renown (for/as)...

Stephen Hawking was famous (for/as) ...

As well as many other variations.

  • Thank you very much Andrew, crystal clear. I have another question, can I ask you here? Apr 18, 2018 at 15:41
  • @GhassanSaeed Yes, if it's related to this one. Otherwise please post it as a separate question?
    – Andrew
    Apr 18, 2018 at 16:48

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