Affirmative: had been + present participle (verb + ing)
Negative: hadn’t been + present participle (verb + ing)
- Past perfect continuous is used to talk about longer actions or events that happened before or up to another action or event in the past.
- He was tired because he had been playing football all day.
- They ‘d been driving for three hours when the accident happened.
- When I saw her I could see that she had been crying.
- When the action or event is more temporary we often use past perfect continuous. When it is more permanent we often use past perfect simple.
- We found the house where my grandparents had lived. (past perfect simple)
- We found a house where another family had been living for a few months. (past perfect continuous)
- Some verbs are not normally used with past perfect continuous because they are not action verbs. believe, belong, depend, hate, know, like, love, mean, need, prefer, realise, suppose, want, understand.
- I had known him for ten years when he got married – correct
- I had been knowing him for ten years when he got married –incorrect
- I had belonged to the tennis club for 25 years when I left – correct
- I had been belonging to the tennis club for 25 years when I left –incorrect
See the phonemic chart for IPA symbols used below.
- Been is usuallly reduced to its weak form.
- We’d been driving for a long time: /bɪn/