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So I'm reading the news and it says, "Three Americans have been found dead at one resort". Why is it "have been" and not were?

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  • Because it's very recent. Take a look at our sister site, ELL. – aparente001 Jun 6 at 4:12
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While reporting news, "have been" is generally preferred to "were". One of the reasons for this is to indicate that this event happened in the recent past.

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It is possible to use "were" but then you would add a time in the recent past when they were found, like "this morning" or "at 2 o'clock", for example. Present perfect also emphasizes the effect the discovery has on the present.

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I'm assuming the bodies were found at different times, since a present perfect tense suggests a continuity of action in the past, whereas a simple past tense describes an event that occurred and ended at a particular time.

Or perhaps it is just the writer being superfluous.

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