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.



He may come late, .............. ?
( question tag)
Thanks in advance

Hello Mr Ahmed,

In theory, the question tag should be 'may he not', but I doubt you'd ever hear that. Perhaps you could use 'right', which is an all-purpose question tag, i.e. you can use it with most any form.

In the future, please ask your questions on an appropriate page. In this case, for example, our questions tags page would be the place to ask this, not here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Question tag:
1. He must have left his mobile home, ..........?
(didn't he - mustn't he)
2. This is your father,.........?
( isn't it - isn't he)

Hell Mr Ahmed Adel,

Please take a look at our question tags page. We're happy to help with questions, but please let us know what you think, explaining why you would use one form or the other. You won't learn as much from us just giving you the answers.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

The problem sir is that I found no reference deals with the question tag in deduction sentences. BTW, I think in sentence number one the answer is MUSTN'T he? As we can't paraphrase the sentence yo form a tag question and in sentence number two, i think the tag is (isn't it)?
Because we have a rule
This is ........, isn't it?
That is........., isn't it?
It doesn't matter if it refers to a human being, animal, or non-living thin.
Am I right sir?

Hell Mr Ahmed,

Yes, you're right: the first one is 'mustn't he' – our question tags page explains this one in the With modal verbs section – and the second one is 'isn't it', for the reason you suggest. Just to be clear, it is possible to say 'isn't he' in a question tag when 'he' is the subject of the verb, e.g. 'He's really fed up, isn't he?' 

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I need your help:
1.I have studied English FOR THE last 5 years.
2. I have studied English SINCE THE last 5 years.

-Which one is correct?
Does the article (THE) have an influece on the choice???

Hello Mr Ahmen Adel,

The article has no influence here. We use 'for' before a period of time and 'since' before a point in time. Therefore we would say 'for the last five years'. If we wanted to use 'since' then we would say 'since five years ago'.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

The weather forecast says that it ( will - is going to) be rainy tomorrow.
Which one is correct, sir?