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Past Perfect Continuous Tense

The Past Perfect Continuous (Progressive) Tense is used for an action that began before a certain point in the past and continued up to that time; as,

  1. At that time he had been writing a novel for two months.
  2. When Mr. Abdul Rehman came to the university in 1995, Mr. Ali had already been teaching there for five years.

Time reference is found in these sentences which gives an idea that action has continued from some time.

Note: If there is no time reference or sense of time reference, then it is not Past Perfect Continuous Tense because there is no hint about the time of action when it started in past or continued for some time period, so it seems just an ongoing action in past which resembles "Past Continuous Tense". So the reference of time differentiates between Past Perfect Continuous Tense and Past Continuous Tense.

Rules: Helping Verbs "had been" are used in sentence. 1st form of Verb +ing is used as main verb in sentence. "Since" or "for" is used before the "time reference" in sentence. If the reference is made to point of time such as 2002, 7 O'clock then "since" is used before the time in sentence. If the reference is made to period of time such as three hours, six years, four days, then "for" is used before the time in sentence.

Structure of Sentence

Positive Sentence

Examples

  1. She had been writing a letter for three hours.
  2. He had been living here since 1999.

Negative Sentence

Examples

  1. She had not been writing a letter for three hours.
  2. He had not been living here since 1999.

Interrogative Sentence

Note:

Examples

  1. Had she been writing a letter for three hours?
  2. Had he been living here since 1999?
  3. Where had he been working for six months?
Note:

Interrogative Negative Sentence

Note:

Examples

  1. Had she not been singing for ten years?
  2. Had we not been studying since 1 O' clock?

Rule: Must put Question Mark (?) in the end of interrogative and interrogative negative sentences.

More Examples of Past Perfect Continuous (Progressive) Tense

Positive Sentences

  1. He had been playing hockey for two hours.
  2. She had been cooking in this hotel for many months.
  3. They had been watching movies for many hours.
  4. We had been living here since 1998.
  5. You had been eating for one hour.
  6. I had been teaching since 2002.

Negative Sentences

  1. He had not been playing hockey for two hours.
  2. It had not been raining since morning.
  3. They had not been watching movies for many hours.
  4. We had not been living here since 1998.
  5. You had not been eating for one hour.
  6. I had not been teaching since 2002.

Interrogative Sentences

  1. Had he been playing hockey for two hours?
  2. Had she been cooking in this hotel for many months?
  3. Had it been raining since morning?
  4. Had we been living here since 1998?
  5. Had I been teaching since 2002?
  6. How had he been dancing for many hours?

Interrogative Negative Sentences

  1. Had she not been cooking in this hotel for many months?
  2. Had I not been sleeping from morning to evening?
  3. Had we not been travelling for 10 hours from 6:00am to 4:00pm?
  4. Had you not been eating for one hour?
  5. Had they not been watching movies for many hours?
  6. Had it not been raining since morning?


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List of all English Tenses

Below is list of all English tenses including the structure and explanation of usage of each tense:

Present Tense   →
  1. Present Simple (Indefinite) Tense
  2. Present Continuous Tense
  3. Present Perfect Tense
  4. Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Past Tense   →
  1. Past Simple (Indefinite) Tense
  2. Past Continuous Tense
  3. Past Perfect Tense
  4. Past Perfect Continuous Tense

Future Tense   →
  1. Future Indefinite (Simple) Tense
  2. Future Continuous Tense
  3. Future Perfect Tense
  4. Future Perfect Continuous Tense


Relevant Topics  →
  1. How Many Tenses in English
  2. The Sequence of Tenses













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