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This is an example from a book: "I had been teaching English in Japan when the earthquake hit." To me this means that I had been teaching for a while at the time the earthquake hit. If I just want to express that at the time of the earthquake I was employed as a teacher in Japan, regardless of how long I had been working there can I say "I taught English in Japan when the earthquake hit"?

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    If all I wanted to say was that I was employed as a teacher in Japan when the earthquake hit, I would say, "I was a teacher in Japan when the earthquake hit", or "I was teaching in Japan when the earthquake hit." – James Jun 10 '18 at 16:43
  • If you take the sentence by itself, the use of the past perfect is awkward. But if the sentence was part of a narrative in which the author was reflecting on some past experience, and was about to continue the story, it might be perfectly acceptable. – Ronald Sole Jun 10 '18 at 23:05

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