Grammar Lessons: The Past Perfect Continuous Tense

Past Perfect Continuous 

The past perfect continuous or tense or past perfect progressive tense shows that an action that started in the past continued up until another time in the past. 

Positive Statements

The pattern to make questions with the present perfect continuous is the following:

Pronoun + had + been + verb + ing + predicate

  • I had been walking 
  • You had been sleeping
  • He had been running
  • She had been working for that company
  • We had been eating
  • They had been talking 

Negative Statements

Pronoun + hadn’t + been + verb + ing + predicate

  • I hadn’t been walking
  • You hadn’t been sleeping
  • He hadn’t been running
  • She hadn’t been working for that company
  • We hadn’t been eating
  • They hadn’t been talking on the phone


Had + pronoun + been + verb + ing + predicate + ?

  • Had I been walking?
  • Had you been sleeping?
  • Had you been running?
  • Had she been working for that company?
  • Had she been eating?
  • Had they been talking on the phone?


Wh Question+ Had + pronoun + been + verb + ing + predicate + ?

  • What had you been doing when you cut your finger?
  • Which fax had you been trying to send when the power went off?
  • How long had he been waiting?

Past Perfect Continuous Examples

  1. I went to visit Nate the other day. He had been practising the piano for hours when I arrived.
  2. We had been trying to open the door for five minutes when Erik found her key
  3. Her friends had been thinking of calling the police when she walked in.
  4. I had been studying at university for 6 months before I met her
  5. I put on weight because I had been eating too much
  6. We had been waiting for a long time when the bus finally came
  7. I’d been cleaning all day, so I was too tired to go out last night

Additional Information + Worksheets

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