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شرح The past perfect continuous

Asalamo Alaykoum.The past perfect continuous is composed of two elements – the past perfect of the verb to be (=had been) + the present participle (base+ing).


Subjecthad beenverb-ing
Ihad beenwalking


Shehad beentrying
Wehadn’t beensleeping
Had youbeeneating
Interrogative negative
Hadn’t theybeenliving

Example: to buy, past perfect continuous

I had been buyingI hadn’t been buyingHad I been buying?
You had been buyingYou hadn’t been buyingHad you been buying
He,she,it had been buyingHe hadn’t been buyingHad she been buying?
We had been buyingWe hadn’t been buyingHad we been buying?
You had been buyingYou hadn’t been buyingHad you been buying
They had been buyingThey hadn’t been buyingHad they been buying

Past Perfect Continuous: Function

The past perfect continuous corresponds to the present perfect continuous, but with reference to a time earlier than ‘before now’. Again, we are more interested in the process.


  • Had you been waiting long before the taxi arrived?
  • We had been trying to open the door for five minutes when Jane found her key.
  • It had been raining hard for several hours and the streets were very wet.
  • Her friends had been thinking of calling the police when she walked in.

This form is also used in reported speech. It is the equivalent of the past continuous and the present perfect continuous in direct speech:

  • Jane said “I have been gardening all afternoon.”   Jane said she had been gardening all afternoon.
  • When the police questioned him, John said “I was working late in the office that night.”  When the police questioned him, John told them he had been working late in the office that night.

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