There's little mention about those different words and from what I read here, I ended up thinking that people will unlikely write he's died to mean he has died. However that's my mere opinion.

I digged up more and found this discussion on Quora: Most respondents said both could work and Most respondents said he has died is grammatically incorrect. Sorry, but the more I read them all, the more I'm getting confused as to whom I should trust.

In order to simplify all this, please consider my made-up conversation and I hope you would provide some feedbacks and some relevant explanations.

A: Papa was not coming home last night, was he?

B: Perhaps he's died.

If I were to write a story, could I use the clause he's died that way? Or do I have to use he's dead?

  • 2
    Quora says that he has dead is incorrect, not he has died. Yes, you can say "He's died" if you are talking informally. Aug 17, 2022 at 15:02
  • @Kate Bunting I did'nt notice that sorry. My eyes got blurry.
    – user516076
    Aug 17, 2022 at 15:05
  • 1
    Why the downvote? Is it because of the example? (It seems as a dark humour LOL because who says "perhaps died" because of just 1 night! hahaha). +1 because I don't see any reason to downvote. Also, comment should be accompanied along generally. Aug 17, 2022 at 15:08
  • 2
    Incidentally, it should be "Papa didn't come home last night, did he?" Aug 17, 2022 at 15:21

2 Answers 2


The choice is yours.

People can, and often do, say 'he's died' as a contraction of 'he has died', usually in the time shortly after the death. 'He has died is the present perfect tense, which we use to talk about completed activities in the immediate past. We can use 'just' before the verb, e.g. 'he has just died', if the event was very recent, perhaps a few seconds or minutes ago

They can also say 'he's dead' as a contraction of 'he is dead', either during that same post-death period, or forever afterwards. This uses the present tense.


He has died (shortened to he's died) is a construction you would typically use to inform someone of a recent death.

Doctor: I greatly regret to inform you that your father has died. He did not survive the operation.

He's dead (or he is dead) would typically be used to inform someone looking for a person or information about a person, that the person was no longer alive.

Journalist: I'm looking for John Smith who used to live in this village.
Resident: You won't find him here. He's dead. Cancer took him five years ago.

So, in your example, the present perfect would be the correct tense: Perhaps he's died.

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