Hi Gurus!

Take a look at the simple phrase, "It was ten long years ago now, and he had been as green as the grass stains on a tumble's skirts"

While I'm still not very used to NOT seeing any 'ing' word follow by 'had been', my question is actually whether I could substitute 'had been' to a simple 'was' in here, as I'm not very confident to make assumption that 'had been' is used the same way as 'is' except it's past perfect tense.

Am I understand correctly if the phrase weren't about ten years ago but just a while back and perhaps if 'he' still look just as green as it was I could use a simple 'was' instead of 'had been'?

'had been' = 'is' + past perfect?

Thanks for help in advance
first of all, without a more general context, it's difficult to understand perfectly what the writer wanted to convey.
Anyway, what I know is that the past perfect is often not necessary and can be replaced with the past simple, provided there are no misunderstandings and the sequence of events is clear. In your sentence, I suppose it's clear from the context what "it" is and when it happened.
Using a past perfect where it's not necessary is possible, but will probably lead to less smooth sentences.

That said, I am not an expert... just trying to learn. We should wait for someone else now. Emotion: smile

Oh, and welcome to EnglishForward! I just saw you are new. Emotion: wink
Hi Kooyeen, how very kind of you, thanks for the welcome Emotion: smile

I'm with you if you mean the writer's word use is confusing. 'Tumble's skirts', I tried to search the word 'tumble' but no matched meaning that fit into this phrase, or it would seem..

It's a part of flashback on the boy's past so past perfect is in good use I suppose.. and something should be already mentioned apparently.

Though my problem is my overall confusion whether 'had been' should be using the same way as 'is' 'am' 'are' or the past simple counterparts, is there anyone else's input?? I've got a strong one so far that seems affirm the correctness.

"I had been a boxer until my trainer passed away"

"I had been doing morning exercise when I was like ten"

"The boy had been confused to commit all those troubles in high school" (assume he's not a high schoolner now)

"She had been so perfect at the XXX 2007 piano play"

Are these correct?

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teeronlineAre these correct?
Yes, you can definitely use the past perfect that way, provided there is the right context. The past perfect is used to refer to something that happened before something else in the past:
There was no cake in the refrigerator, because I had eaten it all.

You are talking about a fact in the past, and with the past perfect you can mention something that happened further back in the past. Sometimes it is not necessary, but you can still use it for emphasis, better style, be clearer, etc. Emotion: smile
To be:
he, she, it is
I am
we, you, they are
he, she, it, I was
we, you, they were
he, she, it has been
I, we, you, they have been
he, she, it, I, we, you, they had been
After a form of to be you can have an -ing form, an -en form (past participle), an adjective, or a noun. The tense doesn't matter.
Mike has been sleeping all day.
The money had been taken earlier.
Mike has been late every day this week.
Make had been a chemist before that.
You can substitute was for had beenin your sentence. Emotion: smile
Hi Kooyeen and CaliJim, and thank you for the effort for posting, it's savely to say things have pretty much squared up.

I believe 'had been' is much more handy in the context of story telling than regular use in writing, while the time or the date of indication must be given in order for a 'had been' using properly, 'was' is good for most of time as long as everybody can tell it's from a past event. So there isn't much room for troubling using 'had been', unless adding a sense of no-longer-updated is in the intention, I suppose..

CaliJim - that's pretty much an all-round emphasis for anything I need to know about 'had been' , so thanks again.
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CalifJimYou can substitute was for had been in your sentence.
Yeah you can, but you lose part of the meaning.