Past perfect continuous tense | Definition | Structure of sentences | Negative and positive sentences | Examples

Past perfect continuous  tense is a part of past tense. Past tense indicated an action that has already taken place in the past.

What is past perfect continuous tense?

Past perfect continuous tense is also known as past perfect progressive tense. It indicated that an action which started in the past continued up until another time in the past.

The formula for past perfect continuous tense is had been + the verb’s present participle (root + -ing).

It states an action or event that started in the past, continued up in the past and also ended at some definite point in the past.

The sentence include time-reference to show that when the action started in the past or for how long the action was continued in past. Two specific words are used for time reference. They are ‘since’ and ‘for’.

Structure of the sentence

Main verb: Present participle(base form verb+ ing). Ex. waiting, cooking, etc.

Auxiliary verb: Had been.

Positive sentences

Subject+ Auxiliary verb+ main verb+ Object+ time-reference.

Subject+ had been+ present participle( base form of verb+ing)+ Object+ time- reference.

For example:

  • They were playing cricket since 10:00 am.
  • I had been applying for jobs since January 2017.
  • She had been watching the movie for three hours.
  • I had been waiting for you since two hours.

Negative sentences

Subject+ Auxiliary verb+ main verb+ Object+ time-reference.

Subject+ had not been+ present participle+ Object+ time-reference.

For example:

  • She had not been eating vegetables for three years.
  • Kid had not been drinking milk for two hours.
  • You had not been reading this book for two months.
  • He had not been playing badminton since 3 O’ clock.

Interrogative sentences

Had+ subject+ been+ Present participle+ Object+ Time-reference.

For example:

  • Had he been using the same mobile since 2014?
  • Had he been working on the same project since 2017?
  • Had she been doing her homework since last night?
  • Had you been helping your parents for three years?

Hence, These are some of the examples of Past perfect continuous tense. We can use them while framing sentences.


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