We use the verb had and the past participle for the past perfect:
I had finished the work.
She had gone .
The past perfect continuous is formed with had been and the -ing form of the verb:
I had been finishing the work
She had been going.
The past perfect is used in the same way as the present perfect, but it refers to a time in the past, not the present.
We use the past perfect tense:
- for something that started in the past and continued up to a given time in the past:
When George died he and Anne had been married for nearly fifty years.
She didn’t want to move. She had lived in Liverpool all her life.
We normally use the past perfect continuous for this:
She didn’t want to move. She had been living in Liverpool all her life.
Everything was wet. It had been raining for hours.
- for something we had done several times up to a point in the past and continued to do after that point:
He was a wonderful guitarist. He had been playing ever since he was a teenager.
He had written three books and he was working on another one.
I had been watching the programme every week, but I missed the last episode.
We often use a clause with since to show when something started in the past:
They had been staying with us since the previous week.
I was sorry when the factory closed. I had worked there since I left school.
I had been watching that programme every week since it started, but I missed the last episode.
- when we are reporting our experience and including up to the (then) present:
My eighteenth birthday was the worst day I had ever had.
I was pleased to meet George. I hadn’t met him before, even though I had met his wife several times.
- for something that happened in the past but is important at the time of reporting:
I couldn’t get into the house. I had lost my keys.
Teresa wasn’t at home. She had gone shopping.
We use the past perfect to talk about the past in conditions, hypotheses and wishes:
I would have helped him if he had asked.
It was very dangerous. What if you had got lost?
I wish I hadn’t spent so much money last month.