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  1. #1
    James Lewis
    Guest

    "had been" or "was"

    I sometimes have problems with "have been" and "was." It seems both could be used in similar cases:

    I was playing football when he tackled me and broke my arm.

    or

    I had been playing football when he tackled me and broke my arm.

    I know you use "was" when an action interrupts another action. Isn't that the same with "had been?"



  2. #2
    jayce
    Guest

    Re: "had been" or "was"

    I know you use "was" when an action interrupts another action.

    I don't understand this. Can you give an example?

  3. #3
    Rick Draganowski
    Guest

    Re: "had been" or "was"

    "Was" is more current usage and depending on the period of the action (current or historical) would be my choice.

    Example:

    "I was singing beautifully when the pie hit me full in the face."

  4. #4
    Sail Away
    Guest

    Re: "had been" or "was"

    I sometimes have problems with "have been" and "was."

    These are separate tenses with specific uses. This is a useful chart:


    <http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/esl/esltensverb.html#pastprog>

    -SA

  5. #5
    d. Leroy
    Guest

    Re: "had been" or "was"

    I'll only make a fool of myself if I try using technical terms or acting like a grammar scholar, but I will say that in the example you gave, 'was' is a better choice than 'had been' - using 'had been' sounds klunkier.

    That said, I've used 'had been' when describing a flash back scene, or if I'm transitioning from a flashback into a current scene - using 'had been', for example, to end the flashback description. I've heard the term 'past perfect tense' when using 'had been', but I'm not sure that's right. I don't think it would work very well to use that tense a lot. I'm looking at it as if I'm speaking - would I be more likely to say "I was playing football" or "I had been playing football." I'd say, "I was..."

    I have no idea if this helped, hurt, or made any sense at all.

  6. #6
    Angela Shelafoe
    Guest

    Re: "had been" or "was"

    Read your writting out loud. How does it fit in your story or the type of speech you are using and what is more natural for you.

    I would say to use "was" over "had been" in your example above as it is easier on the eyes, sounds better spoken and feels more natural.

    To me had been should be used with a third party noun and very seldom with I;

    "It had been awhile since we danced like that."

    "He had been a writer before becoming an actor."

    The land over there had been a farm before they flooded this area with the dam

    I was playing in the backyard when the man tried to grab me.

    I was running down the stairs when I tripped and fell.

    I had been in trouble and was sitting in the corner when my mother died coming home that night. My father had forgotten about what had been prior to that.

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