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    #1

    became or had become

    Hello,

    Is this fine? He was no longer in the army and became a businessman instead.

    Is this okay, or must it be past perfect as in: he was no longer in the army and had become a businessman instead.

    Mr. X

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: became or had become

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. X View Post
    Hello,

    Is this fine? He was no longer in the army and became a businessman instead.

    Is this okay, or must it be past perfect as in: he was no longer in the army and had become a businessman instead.

    Mr. X
    Your original doesn't work, but try any of the following and see if you can see why they do.

    He left the army and became a businessman.
    He was no longer in the army and had become a businessman.
    He will leave the army and become a businessman.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #3

    Re: became or had become

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Your original doesn't work, .
    May I ask why?

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: became or had become

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. X View Post
    May I ask why?
    Here's a clue, with one of Barb's example sentences.

    He left the army and became a businessman.

    Me: He left the army.
    You: What did he do then?
    Me: He became a businessman.

    You would not reply "He had become a businessman", would you?

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: became or had become

    You're mixing a state (no longer in the army) with an action (became).

    It actually could work if you were casting us back to that moment in time when he decided to become a business man. You are telling a narrative of his life, and you are at the point when the army is the past but the business is still the future...

    He thought about what he should do with his life. He was no longer in the army, so that was not to be his career. So he considered his options, and he became a businessman.

    But if you are looking back from our current time, you need more consistency in the tenses.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #6

    Re: became or had become

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Your original doesn't work, but try any of the following and see if you can see why they do.

    He left the army and became a businessman.
    He was no longer in the army and had become a businessman.
    He will leave the army and become a businessman.
    I don't understand why the second sentence can work ?
    The action "was no longer in the army" happens before the action "become a businessman" so why is the tense of the sentence which describes the second action past perfect ?
    As I know, the past perfect tense is used to describe an action that happened before another action which also happened in the past.
    I think the second sentence should be "He had been no longer in the army before he became a businessman".
    Please give more explanation so that I can understand well.
    Thank you very much !

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: became or had become

    Quote Originally Posted by crazYgeeK View Post
    I don't understand why the second sentence can work ?
    The action "was no longer in the army" happens before the action "become a businessman" so why is the tense of the sentence which describes the second action past perfect ?
    As I know, the past perfect tense is used to describe an action that happened before another action which also happened in the past.
    I think the second sentence should be "He had been no longer in the army before he became a businessman".
    Please give more explanation so that I can understand well.
    Thank you very much !
    "He had been no longer in the army..." is not grammatical in any context.

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    #8

    Re: became or had become

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    "He had been no longer in the army..." is not grammatical in any context.
    Can we correct it but keep using the past perfect tense ?
    Do you mean the second sentence (I mentioned in my last post) is correct ?
    Could you please explain more on the use of past perfect tense ? (especially the use applied to the second sentence)
    Thank you very much !

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