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Q: Has your daughter come back from Australia?

A: Yes. She ____ there for three years.

A. has stayed

B. stays

C. stayed

D. had stayed

I think the answer is D because "staying there" happened in past before "coming back" (past of the past).

But the "standard" given answer is C. Why?

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    Both C and D are correct. D would normally be followed by something else that happened. In this case, however, what followed was her coming back—so, it's understood in context. However, I think C is the more common of the two; and that more people would naturally pick C than D. But if the test is indicating that D is wrong, then it's a poor test. (And if it's asking which is more common, that's somewhat subjective—and it's still a poor test.) – Jason Bassford Aug 25 at 2:31
  • @JasonBassford Thanks a lot! – Zhang Aug 25 at 2:38

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