Perfect English Grammar Login Contact Courses Membership Speaking Explanations Exercises Method

The Past Perfect Continuous

Perfect English Grammar

The Past Perfect Continuous

Click here to download this explanation as a pdf.

Click here to read about how to USE the past perfect continuous.

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.

Here's an exercise about the past perfect continuous positive form.

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..)

Here's an exercise about the negative

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?

Here's an exercise about the question form