The Past Perfect Continuous shows us that an action or activity started in the past and continued for a period of time in the past. This verb tense is also called Past Perfect Progressive. Before learning this verb tense, it’s a good idea to go over the Past Perfect Tense first. The difference is very similar to the difference between the present perfect and the present perfect countinuous tenses.
How to use the Past Perfect Continuous
This verb tense is formed the following way: had been + verb + ing
1. Use this tense when an action continues for a period of time up to a specific time in the past.
- When I woke up, the bus had been going for half an hour.
- When I got home, they had been having dinner for half an hour.
2. Use the Past Perfect Progressive when the continuous past action has visible results in the past
- He had been driving for 10 hours before he had the accident.
- They had been flying for 5 hours before the crash.
Past Perfect Continuous – Signal words/Time expressions
for, since, by the time, all day
Past Perfect Continuous – Sentence Structures
Affirmative Sentence Structure:
|Subject||Auxiliary verb + BEEN||Main verb + ING||Rest of the sentence|
|I/You/He/She/It/We/You/They||had been||driving||for 5 hours.|
Negative Sentence Structure:
|Subject||Auxiliary Verb + NOT + BEEN||Main verb + ING||Rest of the sentence|
|I/You/He/She/It/We/You/They||had not been||driving||for 5 hours.|
Interrogative Sentence Structure:
|Auxiliary Verb||Subject + BEEN||Main verb + ING||Rest of the sentence|
|Had||I/You/He/She/It/We/You/They been||driving||for 5 hours?|