The sentence is as follows:

You see, when Elvis died, he _ (already, be) super famous for years.

You have to use the verb in the bracket and put it into the right tense. I've used the past simple, which would be:

You see, when Elvis died, he already was super famous for years.

But the key states otherwise:

You see, when Elvis died, he had already been super famous for years.

Was i completely wrong or is my answer also viable?

  • 1
    If you're going to include (syntactically highly questionable) super famous it probably doesn't make much difference how you phrase the rest of the text. But to be "valid", you need the Past Perfect verb form: ...had already been [very, extremely] famous for years. Mar 15, 2022 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


The phrase "for years" (combined with the meaning and context) makes past perfect necessary, since it's about a period of time. If we had:

When Elvis died, he was very famous

... then that could be okay; it's describing his fame at that moment. And if we had:

After Elvis rose to fame, he was famous for many years

... then it's okay too; we're talking about a period of time, but it comes after the moment that happens in the first half of the sentence.

But in our example, we have a moment ("when Elvis died"), and a period of time that came before that moment, and that's what past perfect is made for.

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