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I'm studying English now and have a problem getting around.

If someone is going back to his country soon for the first time in a year, could I say:

"It's taken a year for him to go back to his country."

Can I say that sentence to another person if he's now on a plane to go back to his country?

What about if he went back to his country yesterday? Can I say:

"It had taken a year for him to go back to his country."
"It had been a year since he (had) left his country."

I also would like to know when I could say:

"It has been a year since he left his country."
"It has been a year since he had left his country."

I know I'm asking you about English too much but please help me get through this!

migrated from english.stackexchange.com May 31 '15 at 20:15

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

  • surely the ELL site would help you more, no ? – Joe Blow May 31 '15 at 4:20
  • Please note that "gonna" is very informal and is normally never used in written English (unless transcribing speech). – egrunin May 31 '15 at 5:47
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A lot of things to address here. Are you in the country he's going to? Then you should say "he is coming back" or "he has come back." If you aren't, then you could say that "it's taken a year for him to return to his country" or "it's taken a year for him to return home."

If he is currently flying back, it is appropriate to say that "it took him a year to leave for home." or "his home country."

After he arrives, you could say "it has been a year since he left home." The perfect is not necessary for a while after he arrives, it's still more or less the same time he arrived. Later you could say "it was a year before he came home." 'It had been' is useful for storytelling, when you're talking about the end of his stay you would say "it had been a year since he had left home, and he was ready to fly back" or something like that.

Anything else?

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    The other thing is to state that one does not say "It took him a year to go back", unless he took a rather leisurely globe-trotting route. However, "a year to get back" works. – Brian Hitchcock Jun 1 '15 at 8:49

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