Until I went into the army, I (had been / used to be / was ) an introverted person. And after I I finished army service, I became more confident.

I think all of these are possible.

As for had been, I'm referring to the state of me being introverted before the accident that happened in the past. So, I think I can use had been.

And at the same time I feel I can use used to be and was.. If I don't want to emphasize the time gap between two accident, I feel I don't need to use past perfect. So I think this problem depends on how I'm going to say something.

which one is preferable? and what is the difference?

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    "an introverted person" – user3169 Aug 14 '15 at 2:30
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    You're missing an article and, we generally use "into" or we say "join" with Army. "Until I went into the army, ..." or "Until I joined the army, ..." – Catija Aug 14 '15 at 3:03

The use of "had been" sounds a bit unnatural in the sentence. I think you should use either used to be or was as follows:

I used to be/was an introverted person until I went into/joined the army.

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The idiom "used to do smth" actually corresponds to "have done smth", in other words, the present [perfect] tense. You should not employ "used to be whatnot" to indicate past. See this page.

So, only past perfect and past indefinite remain. Of those I think that the simple "was" is sufficient. Since the preposition "until" covers all time (up to the moment of the event) during which the speaker continued being something, to say "I was something" is just feels right.

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  • Can one says "Before I go into the army, I was an introverted person"? or maybe it is "before going into the army ...." – Ahmad Aug 19 '15 at 9:57
  • Nit pick: "Can one say" (not "says"). "Before going" is much better than "Before I go" because it doesn't have the Present Tense (or Past-in-the-Future). The "Before I go .., I was.." has discordant verb tenses. – Victor Bazarov Aug 19 '15 at 12:42

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