Friday 30 October 2020

Past Perfect Continuous Tense


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 (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

 Video on Integrated Grammar Practice

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)  

 Video on Future Tense

Answers :

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        

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