Past Perfect Continuous Tense
Constructing the Past Perfect Continuous Tense
To construct the past perfect continuous tense, use the guidelines below:
|subject||+||auxiliary verb HAVE||+||auxiliary verb BE||+||main verb|
|conjugated in simple past tense||past participle||present participle|
|had||been||base + ing|
The past perfect continuous tense for sentences that are negative are constructed by placing not after the first auxiliary verb. To form a question in past perfect continuous tense we switch the places of the first auxiliary verb and the subject. Below are some examples of sentences using past perfect continuous tense:
|subject||auxiliary verb||auxiliary verb
When we communicate using the past perfect continuous tense, we often contract the first auxiliary verb and the subject:
|they had been||they’d been|
|we had been||we’d been|
|it had been
he had been
she had been
|you had been||you’d been|
|I had been||I’d been|
Using the Past Perfect Continuous Tense
The past perfect continuous tense is similar to the past perfect tense, except it illustrates a longer action that occurred in the past before another action that occurred in the past.
Look at the first two sentences that are used to form a past perfect continuous sentence in the third sentence:
- Jim started working 7am.
- I arrived at 10am.
- By the time I arrived, Jim had been working for three hours. (past perfect continuous)
|By the time I arrived, Jim had been working for three hours.|
|Jim started working at 7am in the past.|
|I arrived at 10am in the past.|
Here are a few more examples of the past perfect continuous tense:
- I was sleepy at work. I had been working on the project all night.
- John was winded because he had been jogging.
- Jack crashed his car yesterday. He had been drinking with his friends.
- Had he been sleeping well?
The past perfect continuous tense can be seen like the present perfect continuous tense at times. The difference is the past point of view instead of a now point of view.
For example, imagine meeting your friend and she says:
- I am upset that you’ve already eaten. I have been wanting to take you to dinner.
Later, you tell another friend:
- Sara was upset because she had been wanting to take me to dinner.