Past Perfect continuous (I had been doing)
Past Perfect Continuous is a Present Perfect Continuous in a past situation.
This morning, when I opened the window, there was snow in the garden.
It had been snowing this night.
It was not snowing when I opened the window.
=> It had been snowing before I opened the window.
Construction: Subject + HAD + BEEN + -ING : I had been waiting …
Peter was very tired when he got home. He’d been working all day.
Use of the Past Perfect Continuous
1/ We look back at a situation in progress.
When I met him, he had been working here for 3 years.
Before I changed job, I had been working on a marketing plan.
I had been thinking about buying a sport car, but I decided to buy a SUV.
2/ We want to say what had been happening before something else happened.
It had been snowing for a while before we left.
We had been playing tennis for only 10 minutes when it started raining.
He was out of breath when he arrived because he had been running.
I had been reading my book for 20 minutes when the phone rang
3/ We want to report things said in the past. (indirect/direct speech).
Have you been smoking? asked Peter. (direct speech).
=> Peter asked if we had been smoking. (indirect speech).
I told her I had been working here for 2 years.
I told you I had been looking for a new car.
He said he had been trying to call me all day.
She said she had been shopping.
Peter went to the hospital last Wednesday…
Peter hadn’t been feeling well before he went to the hospital.
Peter was sleeping on the sofa this afternoon.
He was tired because he’d been running a marathon in the morning.
Timescale: PAST Perfect Continuous / PRESENT Perfect Continuous:
I’ve been waiting until … NOW (Present Perfect Continuous = time of speaking)
I’d been waiting until … x days ago. (Past Perfect Continuous = moment in the past)
Past perfect continuous:
Peter came Wednesday. I’d been waiting for 30 minutes! (before Peter came).
Present perfect continuous:
I hope Peter comes soon. I’ve been waiting for 30 minutes! (before now, time of speaking).
Keywords: « for », « since »
Before I changed job, I had been working here for 3 years.
How long had you been waiting? We had been waiting for two hours!