Past perfect continuous anglais

Le past perfect continuous (I had been playing…)

Le past perfect continuous (ou past perfect continu) est aussi appelé past perfect progressive ou past perfect en be+ing.

  • When I went outside this morning the ground was wet. It had been raining.
  • = Quand je suis sorti ce matin le sol était mouillé. Il avait plu.
  • We had been playing football for ten minutes when it started to rain.
  • = Nous jouions au football depuis dix minutes quand il s’est mit à pleuvoir. 

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1/ Formation

sujet + had been + base verbale + ing

 Affirmative Négative Question
 I / you / he / she / we / you / they_    … had been playing_  … had not (hadn’t) been playing_  Had … been playing ?_

_

  • (+) She had been travelling for one month when she finally arrived in Mexico.
  • (?) Had she been travelling for one month when she finally arrived in Mexico ?
  • (-) She had not been travelling for one month when she finally arrived in Mexico.

2/ Utilisation

* Quelque chose qui a commencé au passé et a continué jusqu’à une autre action ou événement passé (en combinaison avec le past simple):

  • Carol had been saving money for more than a year before she left for Canada.
  • How long had you been studying Japanese before you moved to Osaka ?
  • How long had he been watching TV when he felt asleep ?
  • We had been trying to open the door for five minutes when Peter found the key.
  • Bruce wanted to walk because he had been sitting all day at work.
  • How long had you been waiting before the bus arrived ?
  • They had been talking for over an hour before Kat arrived.
  • Phil had been working at that restaurant for two years when it went out of business.

* La cause et l’effet de quelque chose au passé

On peut voir le résultat de quelque chose qui s’est passé (on peut utiliser ‘because’)

  • Tom was very tired. He had been running.
  • = Tom was tired because he had been running.
  • Tina gained weight because she had been eating too much.
  • Somebody had been smokingI could smell tobacco.
  • I was disappointed when she canceled the trip. I had been looking forward to spend some time with her.
  • Danny was crying because he had been fighting with his brother.

* le discours indirect

  • ‘I was working late in the garage last night.’ => Nathan told them he had been working late in the garage last night.
  • ‘I have been partying all night.’ => Carol said she had been partying all night.

3/ Notes

1388147642_208272 Past Continuous ou Past Perfect Continuous ?

Avec le past perfect continuous, la durée de l’action a davantage d’importance, tandis qu’avec le past continuous c’est l’action en elle-même qui a le plus d’importance.

Toutefois, si on ne précise pas la durée (for 45 minutes, for one week, since friday…) de nombreux anglophones préfèrent utiliser le past continuous.

  • Past continuous =>   We were playing tennis when it started raining.

Au moment où nous jouions au tennis il a commencé à pleuvoir. L’accent est mis sur ce que nous faisions au moment où il a commencé à pleuvoir (c’est-à-dire la partie de tennis).

  • Past perfect continuous =>   We had been playing tennis (for 45 minutes) when it started raining.

Nous jouions au tennis depuis un certain moment, où on venait juste d’arrêter, quand il a commencé à pleuvoir. L’accent est mis sur la durée de l’action (ici la partie de tennis).

1388147642_208272 Certains verbes ne prennent pas la forme continue:

Il s’agit principalement de verbes abstraits ou liés à un état mental

like / love / hate / prefer / need / want / belong / contain / fit / consist / seem / realise / know / believe / imagine / understand / remember 

  • Chris had been wanting to travel around the world before he died.  faux
  • Chris had wanted to travel around the world before he died. ok

1388147642_208272 Il n’y a pas de past perfect continu pour le verbe être (to be):

Had been being est simplement remplacé par had been

  • Sam had been being very happy because he won to the lottery.

1388147642_208272 La place des adverbes

Les adverbes se places avant been: always, only, just, never, ever, still, etc.

  • He had just been waiting there for two minutes when the train arrived.
  • Had he just been waiting there for two minutes when the train arrived ?

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