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  1. Canarinho_Verde_Amarelo's Avatar
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    #1

    She was a teacher.../She had been a teacher

    Hi everyone!

    I was doing some exercises about Simple Past/Past Perfect, and a doubt has popped up. Which one of these sentences are correct?
    1. She was a teacher before she became a journalist.
    2. She had been a teacher before she became a journalist.


    According to grammar rules, both of them are acceptable or only one must be chosen?


    Thanks for your attention!

  2. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: She was a teacher.../She had been a teacher

    Both are acceptable.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

    — Arthur Schopenhauer

  3. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: She was a teacher.../She had been a teacher

    I think only 'had been' would be correct if 'before' was replaced with 'when'.
    I am not a teacher.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: She was a teacher.../She had been a teacher

    She was a teacher when she became a journalist is fine.

  5. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: She was a teacher.../She had been a teacher

    Would the meaning be different if 'was' was used instead of 'had been'?
    She was a teacher before she became a journalist, but she might be not a teacher when she became a journalist.
    Last edited by Matthew Wai; 09-Nov-2015 at 10:34.
    I am not a teacher.

  6. Canarinho_Verde_Amarelo's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: She was a teacher.../She had been a teacher

    As far as I could make out, both are acceptable according to grammar rules, despite different meanings between them. Nevertheless, what is the real meaning of each one?

    As for conjunctions, how "when" and "by the time" could change the interpretation of these sentences, in case of replacement of "before"?

  7. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: She was a teacher.../She had been a teacher

    She was a teacher before she became a journalist, and she was a journalism student when she became a journalist.
    'She was a teacher before she became a journalist' does not necessarily mean that 'She was a teacher when she became a journalist'.

    Is that possible?
    I am not a teacher.

  8. Piscean's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: She was a teacher.../She had been a teacher

    1. She was a teacher before she became a journalist.
    2. She had been a teacher before she became a journalist

    In both of these, her teaching career ended before her career as a journalist began. As 'before' makes the sequence of events clear, the 'was' of #1 is fine; the past perfect of #2 is possible, but not obligatory.

    3. She was a teacher when she became a journalist.

    Her teaching career extended up to the moment of her becoming a journalist. It is possible that her teaching career did not end at this point - she may have continued to work as a teacher and as a journalist. More context is need to clarify this.


    4. She had been a teacher when she became a journalist.

    Her teaching career ended before her career in journalism began. I do not find #4 natural. I would be far more likely to say #1.

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