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LEARN ENGLISH PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS VERBS

To form the past perfect continuous tense we need the past perfect simple tense of the verb "to be" and another verb ending in "-ing".

Example

I had been studying for weeks before my final exams. (Había estado estudiando durante semanas antes de mis exámenes finales)

Some verbs have certain spelling changes when adding "-ing": If the verb ends in "-e" we will drop the "e" and then we will add "-ing".

Example

I decorate the living room. (Decoro el salón)

I had been decorating the living room. (Había estado decorando el salón)

If the verb consists of only one syllable and the last three letters are: consonant plus vowel plus consonant, we will double the last consonant and then add "-ing".

Example

I plan my weekend ahead. (Planeo el fin de semana que viene)

I had been planning my weekend ahead. (Había estado planeando el fin de semana que viene)

For the negative form we use "not" after the verb "to have".

Example

I had not (hadn't) been watching television all afternoon. (No había estado viendo la televisión toda la tarde)

For the interrogative form we place the verb "to have" in front of the person.

Example

Had he been training all those hours? (¿Había estado (él) entrenando todas esas horas?)

SOME GENERAL USES

We use this tense to refer to past events that were continuous or in progress and carried out for a period of time in the past.

Example

He had been waiting for his parcel for one week. (Él había estado esperando su paquete durante una semana)

I had been studying all morning. (Había estado estudiando toda la mañana)

We can also use the past perfect continuous to mention a continuous action in the past that has consequences in the present or in the past by specifying when the action began. We can express the moment when the continuous action started by using an adverb of time or a phrase that indicates a time point.

Example

Since he watched that film, he had not been sleeping properly. (Desde que vio esa película, él no había estado durmiendo bien)

Lets us conjugate a verb as an example. We are going to take the verb "to study".

Positive

Negative

Question

I had been studying hadn't been studying Had I been studying?
You had been studying hadn't been studying Had you been studying?
He had been studying hadn't been studying Had he been studying?
She had been studying hadn't been studying Had she been studying?
It had been studying hadn't been studying Had it been studying?
We had been studying hadn't been studying Had we been studying?
You (all) had been studying hadn't been studying Had you been studying?
They had been studying hadn't been studying Had they been studying?