In the above sentence, could 'la culpa' be replaced with 'culpar'? This way it would be like English.
Not really, no. What we normally say in Spanish literally is: she had the blame/guilt. "La culpa" is a noun (the guilt) but in English the most natural equivalent to this is: she was to blame. Therefore we can't really replace is with the infinitive "culpar" as there's different grammar in the sentences, so it wouldn't work.
However, for a more similar translation in both languages, you could also say:
ella era culpable = she was guilty
In Spanish though, tener la culpa is an idiom that is very commonly used in colloquial Spanish.
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