Past Perfect Continuous
When do we use the Past Perfect Continuous?
1. to explain how long something had been happening before another past action
If we talk about the actions in the order they happened then we would use the Past Simple.
- I waited for Susan and she arrived
but the Past Simple Continuous allows the speaker to stress the duration of the waiting.
- I had been waiting for Susan for 2 hours when she arrived.
2. to explain the cause of something in the past
To show that there is a connection between two past event, the earlier of which had stopped we do this with the Past Perfect Continuous
- The pavement was wet, it had been raining.
3. to show something started in the past and continued up to another action 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 to the present.
- I was thirsty because I had been working in the sun all day.
4. as part of the 3rd conditional
To talk about unreal or imaginary things in the past.
- If I had been listening I would have heard what the teacher said.
5. Signal words
- not yet
- until that day
had + been + infinitive + ing
7.1. Affirmative sentences in the Past Perfect Continuous
7.2. Negative sentences in the Past Perfect Continuous
7.3. Questions in the Past Perfect Continuous