Before that, he 'was/had been' out of work for six months.

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Bob8964

Senior Member
Chinese
Dear All,

Jack started a new job a few days ago. Before that he was out of work for six months.

In above two sentence, the second refers to the duration of Jack's being out of work. I'm not very clear about why was not had been is used. I think the reason might be the time point from which we begin to talk about Jack is now, which I got form 'a few days ago' in the first sentence.

So, if we move the beginning point to the past, for example, last week, I would think had been should be used instead of was:

Jack started a new job last week. Before that he had been out of work for six months.

Please kindly check whether my point of view is workable.

Thank you!
 
  • languageGuy

    Senior Member
    USA and English
    This is my interpretation. 'had been' means 'was before' in casual usage.

    So you could say:

    Jack started a new job a few days ago. Before that he was out of work for six months.

    or

    Jack started a new job a few days ago. He had been out of work for six months.
     

    Bob8964

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you! Now I want to use live instead of be, could you please check whether the following two sentence give the same meaning?

    He moved to US last year. He had lived in Rome for four years.

    He moved to US last year. Before that he lived in Rome for four years.
     
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