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The past perfect continuous is used to describe an action that started before another action in the past.
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Structure of Past Perfect Continuous Tense
POSITIVE FORM (+) :
- S + had + been + V-ing
- Michael had been teaching at the university for more than 2 year before he left for .
- George gained weight because he had been overeating.
- We had been working for 5 hours when he telephoned
- You had been waiting there for more than three hours when they finally arrived.
- My cousin went to bed after she had been watching her favorite TV series.
NEGATIVE FORM (-) :
- S + hadn’t + been + V-ing
- My husband had not been doing anything when I came home
- They had not been playing to each other when I saw them
- It had not been raining since last fall.
- You had not been waiting there for more than three hours when they finally arrive.
- I had not been thinking about that before you mentioned it.
QUESTION FORM (?) :
- Had + S + been + V-ing?
- Had he been waiting for me when you met him?
- Had you been reading a book?
- Had they been playing football for a month?
- Had you been waiting there for more than three hours when they finally arrived?
- Had you been watching TV for 5 hours before you went to eat dinner?
WH QUESTION (?):
- Wh question + had + S + been + Ving…?
- How long had you been waiting to get on the bus?
- How long had you been studying Chinese before you moved to China?
- How long had she been talking to us since for two days?
|POSITIVE FORM (+)||NEGATIVE FORM (-)||QUESTION FORM (?)|
|I had been working||I had not been working||Had I been working?|
|He had been working||He had not been working||Had he been working?|
|She had been working||She had not been working||Had she been working?|
|You had been working||You had not been working||Had you been working?|
|We had been working||We had not been working||Had we been working?|
|They had been working||They had not been working||Had they been working?|
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Past Perfect Continuous Tense Uses
1. Past Perfect Continuous is used to describe an action that happened continuously before another action in the past.
- Yesterday, when I got up, it was snowing. It had been snowing for three hours
- She had been looking for a job for several months when she found this position
- I had been singing Michael Buble song when the he came
2. Past Perfect Continuous is used to describe an action that was happening continuously before a definite time in the past.
- His son had been driving for five hours before 9p.m last night
- By the time we finished the meal, we had been sitting around the table for six hours!
- He had been living in that small town for five years before he moved to China
3. Past Perfect Continuous is used to emphasize the result of an action in the past
- This morning he was very tired because he had been working very hard all night.
- Bin failed the final test because she had not been attending class.
- She was tired. She had been revising her lessons for hours.
Recognition of Past Perfect Continuous Tense
The sentence contains the adverb below:
- By the time
- Until then
- Prior to that time
- Before, after
Read more: English Grammar
Above are all the formulas and application examples of the past perfect continuous that English tivi synthesizes. Hopefully, it will help you equip yourself with more knowledge to apply to exercises or daily communication situations.
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