English as a Second Language/Passive voice


Dear Shannon

I read this sentence in one of the English grammar lessons on the You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHt2aqzUtYI)

"The thief was gone by the time I called the police."

In my opinion, the teacher has make a mistake - "was gone" is wrong and it has to be "had gone".

Your guideline, please!

Thanks & best regards,
Antoine Ghannoum

Nope, not necessarily!  You can also use the participle (in this case, "gone") after a linking verb to use as a simple adjective!  For some reason, this doesn't work for "arrived" (we would say "was here" instead), but it is completely acceptable to say "was gone."  If you wanted to say "had gone," this is also correct, but it is a different use -- the past perfect (although the meanings are similar).  

English as a Second Language

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Shannon Cole


I can answer questions related to learning the English and Spanish language.


I have taught ESL and Spanish since 1998 at the university and middle school levels. I am a native of the U.S., and have taught in both the U.S. and Mexico.

I am owner and operator of www.coleinstitute.com, an online language school.

Georgia TESOL in Action (1999)

B.A. in Spanish; M.Ed. in Language Education

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I have clients worldwide, some who want their documents proofread, and others who take lessons with me through the Internet. Some work at high-profile companies and government organizations. Besides the U.S. and Mexico, my recent students come from South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Colombia, Russia, Italy, Paraguay, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.

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