Past Perfect Continuous Tense Examples
The past perfect continuous tense is used to show a continued or ongoing action that started in past and continued until sometime in past. (Remember, an ongoing action in past which continued till some time in past). There will be a time reference, such as “since 1980, for three hours etc” from which the action had started. A sense of time reference is found in these sentences which shows that action had started in past and continued till some time in past. Such time reference or sense of reference is the identity of the past perfect continuous tense because it tells that action has started from a particular time in past or for some time period. For example, “He had been studying in this school since 2004”, so the it means that he had started his education in this school in 2004 and he studied in this school till sometime in past.
Note: If there is no time reference or sense of time reference, 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 the past perfect continuous tense and past continuous tense.
Rules for using the past perfect continuous tense
An auxiliary verb “had been” is used in sentence. 1st form of verb (base verb) +ing (present participle) is used as main verb in sentence. “Since” or “for” is used before the “time reference” in sentence. If the time reference is exactly known such as 1994, 12 O’clock, “since” is used before the time in sentence. If the time reference is not exactly known such as four hours, seven years, four days, “for” is used before the time in sentence. Time reference such as 4 hours or 7 days is not exactly known because we don’t know that about which four hours a day is told in sentence or about which 7 days in a month is told in sentence. While the 1994 is exactly known time.
Structure of sentence
• Subject + had been + 1st form of the verb + ing + object + time reference
I had been waiting for his brother for two hour.
She had been playing tennis since 6 O’clock.
• Subject + had not been (hadn't been) + 1st form of the verb + ing + object + time reference
I hadn't been waiting for his brother for two hour.
She hadn't been playing tennis since 6 O’clock.
• Had + Subject + been + 1st form of the verb + ing + object + time reference
Interrogative sentence starts with auxiliary verb “had” and auxiliary verb “been” is used after subject in sentence.
Had I been waiting for his brother for two hour?
Had she been playing tennis 6 O’clock?
Interrogative Negative Sentences
- Hadn't + Subject + been + 1st form of the verb + ing + object + time reference
Hadn't I been waiting for his brother for two hour?
Hadn't she been playing tennis 6 O’clock?
Want to study further? Click on any of the following tenses.
- The present simple tense
- The present progressive tense
- Present perfect tense
- Present perfect progressive tense