Past Perfect Continuous Tense | English Grammar
Past Perfect Continuous Tense
Introduction of Past Perfect Continuous Tense
Past perfect continuous tense describes an action that happened in the past and continued to happen over a period of time. Apart from showing continuity, past perfect tense also focuses on the duration of time that was taken to perform the action.
· I had been waiting for hours before the interviewer called me in.
· Alex and Sam had been standing in the rows all day long.
· Had Elizabeth been watching TV the entire night?
The sentences above do not only show continuity but also emphasise the time that the action took place in.
Difference Between Past Continuous Tense And Past Perfect Continuous Tense:
Past continuous tense shows an action that continued to happen until another action took place. While past perfect continuous tense shows an action that continued to happen even after another action took place.
Present Participles (-ing form of verbs)
Before going into the details of past perfect continuous tense, one must know how to form a present participle of a verb. Present participles of verbs are made by adding -ing with base form of verbs.
· Hide becomes Hiding
· Walk becomes Walking
· Play becomes playing
Dynamic Verbs and Stative Verbs
We must also remember that verbs are divided into two groups, dynamic and stative. Dynamic verbs show an action or process, while stative verbs describe emotions.
Dynamic verbs show an action or process. We use the present participle form of dynamic verbs in continuous tenses.
· Alexander was walking down the road, lost in his thoughts.
· Elizabeth and Tim were writing a letter to their friend.
Stative verbs describe emotions, thoughts, states and conditions. Stative verbs are used in simple and perfect tenses. They cannot be used in a continuous form.
For example, the following sentences are not grammatically correct.
· Kara was loving the meal that Chloe had cooked. (Wrong)
Kara loved the meal that Chloe had cooked. (Correct)
· Daisy and Felix were wanting to get noticed. (Wrong)
Daisy and Felix wanted to get noticed. (Correct)
How to make affirmative sentences in the past perfect continuous tense?
To make an affirmative sentence in the past perfect continuous tense, we use the following formula,
Subject + had + been + present participle + object + duration
· They had been filming the video for an entire month.
· He had been talking on the phone for hours.
· The cat had been playing with the ball all day.
How to make negative sentences in the past perfect continuous tense?
To make a negative sentence in the past perfect continuous tense, we use the following formula,
Subject + had not + been + present participle of verb + object + duration
· I had not been ignoring this matter for very long.
· He had not been learning anything at all the entire session.
· They had not been talking to each other for quite a while.
How to ask questions in the past perfect continuous tense?
To ask questions in past perfect continuous tense, the answer to which would be a yes or no, we use the following formula,
Had + subject + been + present participle of verb + object
· Had she been doing math last week?
· Had they been catching the fish the entire morning?
· Had we been thinking about them a lot lately?
To ask questions in past perfect continuous tense that require detailed answers, we use the following formula,
Wh- + had + subject + been + present participle of verb + object + duration
· What had she been reading all night?
· How had I been sleeping for so long?
· Who had been looking after the dog when nobody was home?