verb tense


I saw the following in my newspaper and it seems incorrect to me (note, it's not an obituary, the referenced person is still very much alive.) - "she is 1 of 11 siblings. A brother and a sister died earlier." Since there were 11 siblings, originally, and a brother and a sister have died, shouldn't she be referred to as "She is 1 of 9 siblings; a brother and a sister died earlier," or, "She was 1 of 11 siblings. A brother and a sister died earlier." Thank you, Hugh Centerville 

asked Jul 14 '12 at 11:50 bill smith New member

1 answer


A sibling can be alive or dead.  The article is indicating that she had 10 brothers ands sisters, two of which have passed on.  The same holds true for parents and children.  If one of my sons were to die before me, I wouldn't tell people I have one son.  I would say that I have two sons, but one has passed away.  My grandma is 102 years old.  She is one of my four grandparents, but three died in their 80's & 90's. 


Actually, the same can hold true for anything that has existed, but no longer does.


She looks at the mouth-watering doughnut.  It is just one of the perfect dozen she bought this morning. But she had already eaten six of them.  Will she eat another?

link edited Jul 14 '12 at 15:58 Patty T Grammarly Fellow

The last sentence is not autobiographical, though I do like doughnuts.

Patty TJul 14 '12 at 16:00

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