I am learning the past perfect/continuous and I have just read that we generally use it when we are saying in our tenses a form of time/date who highlight the importance of the past.

In this case, I was wondering if we could say this:

Last day, when I had been yelled at you, the cake was burning in the oven.

The "Last day" is a mark of the past form, so we need to use the past perfect, in addition of the continuous. Is it true ?

  • Welcome to ELL! I think you mean read (past participle of read); we do not say "last day" but "yesterday"; and be laid at you doesn't make any sort of sense in English. Could you edit your question to include a paraphrase of what you are trying to say? Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 0:34
  • I mean "Last day" is a form to highlight the inaccuracy of the past form.
    – jr28
    Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 0:54
  • 1
    I had been yelled at you is not possible. Had been yelled at is in the passive, in which the 'Object' of the active voice becomes the subject, and there is no object. Do you mean When I had been yelled at by you, which is equivalent to when you had yelled at me? Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 1:04
  • I am pretty sure you have misunderstood what you were told about the perfect. You may wish to read this; it is very long, but will give you a better understanding of what the perfect is and how you should use it. Commented Sep 16, 2015 at 1:07
  • [corrections: yesterday, not last day//tense: to yell at someone, yelled at someone]
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 30, 2021 at 21:51

2 Answers 2


Past perfect tense shows an action that happened in the past, but was still going on at that moment in time. Continuous indicates that something is going on right now. You should either stick with present continuous, or past perfect, not one or the other.

  • Please take a look at the past perfect continuous tense in the English grammar book nearest you. It is an important part of the English language.
    – user98746
    Commented Aug 18, 2019 at 6:54

"Yesterday, after I had been yelled at by you, the cake was burning" is a very awkward and odd sentence, but it is grammatical. The past perfect indicates that something started and ended before some other occurrence in the past. (The other occurrence may be explicitly mentioned or just implied.) The past progressive indicates that something had started but not ended before some other occurrence in the past. A situation where both tenses are appropriate in the same sentence is conceivable but certainly very rare.

Please give an example from your text so that we can help you understand it.

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