I worked a teacher before but now I work a translator.

What would be the slight difference if, instead of worked, we say was working, had worked, had been working?

What does each tense mean and imply here?

  • 2
    I think it should be "worked as a teacher.. work as a translator" Dec 19, 2016 at 1:48
  • 1
    You can use either past or past perfect tense. But I'd prefer past tense because perfect tense is not needed. The progressive form(-ing) implies the continuity but if I were you, I would use past simple. Dec 19, 2016 at 2:07
  • Thank you but why not was working ? Dec 19, 2016 at 2:08
  • 2
    I just think it's not suitable to emphasize the continuity when you dont have the time period. It'd sound better if you say "I was working as a teacher for a year.." Dec 19, 2016 at 2:14
  • 1
    Yes, but perfect tense("had been working") is not required. Dec 19, 2016 at 2:21

1 Answer 1


To me, the difference is when you had decided to end the action.

Had the action ended in the past before another action that had already ended as well, you would use past perfect (had + past participle).

Had the action ended simply in the past before the current action, then I would use past simple.

See if my explanation was clear enough for you by quizzing yourself here.

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