Le past perfect continuous: cours complet

Le past perfect continuous: cours complet

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. 

Cliquez-ici pour télécharger et imprimer cette leçon en PDF gratuit.

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 smoking. I 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 ?

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse e-mail ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *