• I had been calling her after she left for home.

  • I had been calling her ever since she left home.

Both actions are completed in the past. Generally Had been is used with the 1st event. But in the above sentence, it is the 2nd event. I am confused with the sentence formation. Lets say someone has asked me what I had been doing at that time. My answer is as above.

  • Your sentences would fit into a narrative, someone telling a story. There is an implied past time-reference which asked for the past perfect. For example, I was worried that she did not answer. I had been calling her ever since she left for home. The repeated calling led up to the worry. The worry resulted from the repeated calling and no answer. That's the relevant time relationship.
    – TimR
    Jan 11, 2018 at 11:33

1 Answer 1


The sentence you use depends on the timeline. If you could provide more context, that would be great. However, "had been" refers to what you were doing in the past for a period of time that has since ended.

Here is a sample usage of "had been."

I had been calling her for hours before she finally picked up.

  • Thank you. She was with me at a theater and then later she left for home. I called her for some period of time( she was not picking up) to know if she reached home safely. So I am reporting this past incident to someone else and wanted to convey what i have been doing at that time (calling her). "I had been calling her since she left for home". Is this correct?
    – user68085
    Jan 11, 2018 at 8:10
  • I don't think the formats you're considering are the best options given the message you're trying to communicate. I think the best option is to say "I called her for hours after she left for home, but she didn't pick up." That sentence specifies what your actions were and when they took place. If someone specifically ask you, "What were you doing in the hours after she left the theater?" then you can say, "I was calling her, trying to figure out if she made it home alright."
    – user68076
    Jan 13, 2018 at 20:26
  • I would not recommend using "ever since" as it usually implies that the action is still occurring, and I assume that is not the case here. Ex. Ever since I was a child, I have wanted to be an actress. When you use "had been" to describe doing an action in the past, you have to also specify the event that brought about the end of your action. Ex. I had been calling her for hours to see if she made it home alright when I finally gave up.
    – user68076
    Jan 13, 2018 at 20:30

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