The word ‘tense’ is derived from Latin word ‘tempus’ and it means time. Basically tense conveys the time of action.
Tenses are mainly divided into three parts – Present, Past and Future. They are further subdivided into four categories – Indefinite, Continuous, Perfect and Perfect Continuous.
PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE
PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE (also called Past Progressive Tense) is generally used for an action which began at some time in past and continued for some time in past. It usually emphasises duration or the length of time that an action took. This tense shows that the action mentioned in the sentence was continuously happening for a period of time in past / the time being reported / talked about.
Basic Structure of Sentence in the Tense
Basic structure of a sentence in this tense is –
Subject + Had + been + base verb + ing (V1+ing) + object
I had been reading the book.
She had been working on a project. (affirmative)
He hadn't been showing progress. (negative)
Had she been wasting her time? (interrogative)
Past Perfect Tense is used to describe/show/denote –
1. Something that started in past and continued for some period/duration in past–
For example :
He had been working on the project for a year when he was fired. (started in past and continued for some period in past)
She had been sleeping for two hours when I rang her up.
2. To denote an action continued before another action in past –
For example –
They had been talking for over an hour before Tom arrived. (action continued before another action in past)
Shankar had been wasting his time in video games before he met his new teacher.
3. To denote an action that began in past and continued up to that moment, till the time being talked about –
I was irritated because he hadn’t been working at all. (in sequence with Simple Past Tense)
I did not know he had been doing an important project on History of India that time.
4. To emphasise long continuation of an action –
For example –
Mother had been working all day despite her sickness. (emphasis is over the length/duration)
I had been waiting for you all through the night.
Prepositions (for/since) used with certain time expressions:
Since – used to denote point of time when some work/action began.
For – used to denote for total duration of some work/action
More adverbs/adverb phrases used as time expressions with since/for:
When at that time all the day
before after that time
morning childhood for an year
since 1990 whole day since I was a child
for four days for three weeks since the time
Verb form used in the Present Perfect Continuous Tense–
The past perfect continuous form of a verb consists of three elements:
1. Past form of auxiliary verb ‘have’ – had (both plural and singular)
2. Third form of be – been
3. Present participle form of main verb (Verb 1+ing) – playing, going, reading, working, cooking, etc.
More such verbs (not to be used in Present Perfect Continuous Tense)
feel hear have
smell measure assume
believe consider seem
find suppose forget
imagine know mean
recognise remember understand
fear hate hope
love mind prefer
wish cost hold
More examples :
1. My mother had been working for 4 hours when I reached home.
2. I had been working in this firm for 6 years when I was suspended.
3. At that time I had been studying in the college for 3 years.
4. It had been raining for 3 days when we were stuck in jam.
5. They had been talking for an hour before they left for Jaipur.
6. What had you been doing there when I called you?
7. Mr. Joshi had been teaching in this school for 20 years when he retired.
8. Father scolded him as he had been sleeping the whole morning.
Exercise for practice
1. She ____________ in this company for three years when she got transferred. (work)
2. He ______________ from Malaria for a long time before he recovered. (suffer)
3. Sohan ____________ whole afternoon that’s why he was exhausted. (bat)
4. I asked him why he ___________ for the competition in the beginning. (prepare)
5. My parents _________ for the case in court for four years when I met with an accident. (fight)
6. Earlier, people _____________ for a long time that the earth was flat. (believe)
7. The students _________ for 15 days when the programme was cancelled. ( practise)
8. My condition did not improve though I _________ medicines regularly for a year. (take)
1. Had been working 2. Had been suffering
3. Had been batting 4. Had not been preparing
5. Had been fighting 6. Had been believing
7. had been practising 8. Had been taking