Past Perfect Continuous

Past Perfect Continuous – Tema 2 (Avanzado)


1: Something that started in the past and continued up to another action or time in the past. The past perfect continuous tells us ‘how long’, just like the present perfect continuous, but this time the action continues up to a point in the past rather than the present. Usually we use ‘for + time’. (We can also use the past perfect simple here, often with stative verbs.)

  • She had been working at that company for a year when she met James.
  • I’d been walking for hours when I finally found the house.
  • We’d been living in Berlin for three months when we had to leave.


2: Something that finished just before another event in the past. This is usually used to show a result at a time in the past. It’s very similar to the present perfect continuous, but the action finishes before another time in the past, rather than finishing before the present.

  • The pavement was wet, it had been raining. (The rain had finished before the time I’m describing in the past. We could see the result of the rain.)
  • The children had been playing and so the room was a mess!
  • I’d been working before I saw you and that’s why I was really tired.


Here’s how to make the past perfect continuous. It’s ‘had’ + been (the past participle of ‘be’)+ verb-ing

Firstly, let’s look at the positive form:

  • I had been living
  • You had been going
  • She had been sleeping
  • He had been working
  • It had been raining
  • We had been studying
  • They had been cooking

The short form is: ‘d been verb-ing. Be careful, because the short form for ‘would’ is also ‘d. However, ‘would’ is always followed by the infinitive, but ‘had’ is followed by the past participle.

Next, the negative form:

  • I had not been trying (I hadn’t been..)
  • You had not been working (you hadn’t been..)
  • She had not been crying (she hadn’t been..)
  • He had not been shopping (he hadn’t been..)
  • It had not been snowing (it hadn’t been..)
  • We had not been reading (we hadn’t been..)
  • They had not been running (they hadn’t been..)


It’s pretty easy to make the question too.

‘Yes / no’ questions:

  • Had I been working?
  • Had you been sleeping?
  • Had she been reading?
  • Had he been watching TV?
  • Had it been raining?
  • Had we been drinking?
  • Had they been eating?


‘Wh’ questions:

  • Where had I been working?
  • How long had you been sleeping?
  • What had she been reading?
  • How long had he been watching TV?
  • How long had it been raining?
  • What had we been drinking?
  • Why had they been eating?