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.

Exercise

Comments

When we use "had been and the past participle". example : When George died he and Anne had been married for nearly fifty years.

Hello vikash,

'had been' + the past participle would be a passive form, but that is not the case with 'had been married' in this sentence. Here, 'married' is simply an adjective and 'had been' is the verb 'be' in the past perfect.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

hello,
i just want to know that the following sentence is correct or not
I wish it could be true.........

Hello archijais,

This sentence is correctly formed and could be correct - it really depends on the context.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi all,
I'm not sure my sentences are correct, please enlighten me what is the difference between there :
- She has written three books and she is working on the another one
- She has been writing three books and she is working on the another one
- She had written three books and she was working on the another one
- She had been writing three books and she was working on the another one

Thanks

Hello yh24,

All of the sentences have the same error: they should say 'on another one' (without 'the'). In terms of the tenses, all of them are possible, but which is correct will depend upon the context and upon what the speaker wishes to say.

The first two sentences are examples of the difference between the present perfect simple and continuous - see here for an explanation and examples.

The second pair of sentences are examples of the difference between the present perfect simple and continuous - see here for an explanation and examples.

Best wishes,

 

Peter

The LearnEnglish Team

sorry my question was that if i could use would with the present perfect for example 1 if i have had to built the building u would not have helped me 2 if i had to built the building u wouldnt have helped me.now my question is that if both the sentence is correct or not in the 1st sentence i have used would after present perfect so is it correct.

sir could u tell me if i can use would with the present perfect for example 1. if i have had to build the building would have helped me or this 2 nd sentence is correct for example if i had to make would have helped me

Hello preetam saha,

The grammatically correct sentence that I think you are trying to make here is 'If I had had to build the building, they would have helped me'. In this sentence, which is called a third conditional construction, 'had had' is the past perfect and 'would have helped' is not 'would' + present perfect but rather 'would have + past participle'.

You can learn more about this on our verbs in time clauses and if clauses and our will have or would have pages.

Best wishes,
Kirk
The LearnEnglish Team

I HAVE UNDERSTOOD WHAT U HAVE TRIED TO EXPLAIN BUT WHAT I AM TRYING TO U IS THAT IF I WANT TO USE IF WITH PRESENT PERFECT THEN IS IT POSSIBLE TO USE WOULD HAVE + PAST PARTICIPLE .IF I HAVE HAD TO MAKE THE BUILDING U WOULDNT HAVE GIVEN ME THE MONEY ,U WOULD HAVE SAID THAT U DONT HAVE THE MONEY .IS IT CORRECT

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