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This chapter will discuss the past perfect continuous tense in English. This tense is used to describe actions that were going on in the past until another action in the past occured.
To form the past perfect continuous the past perfect of the verb 'to be' is used followed by the present participle of the main verb (verb + ing).
had been + present participle (infinitive + ing)
How the past perfect continuous is formed, depends on whether the sentence is:
Structure: Subject + past perfect of 'to be' (had been) + present participle (verb + suffix 'ing') + rest of the sentence
The table below shows the conjugation of the past perfect of the verb 'to be'.
|Subject||Past perfect of 'to be'|
|He / she / it||had been|
Structure: Subject + negative form of the past perfect of 'to be' (had not been) + present participle (verb + suffix 'ing') + rest of the sentence
The table below shows the conjugation of the past perfect of the verb 'to be' in the negative form.
|Subject||Conjugation of 'to have'+ negation + 'been'|
|I||had not been|
|You||had not been|
|He / she / it||had not been|
|We||had not been|
|You||had not been|
|They||had not been|
Structure: Past perfect of 'to be' (have) + Subject + Past participle of the verb 'to be' ('been') + present participle (verb + suffix 'ing')+ rest of the sentence + question mark
The past perfect continuous tense is used to describe actions that were going on in the past until another action in the past occurred. The table below shows the different situations in which the past perfect continuous is used.
|Something started in the past and continued up until another action in the past.||
|To show cause and effect.||
The past perfect continuous refers to an ongoing action in the past until another action in the past occured. This tense is usually accompanied by the following signal words:
Test your knowledge of the present perfect continuous with the exercises below!
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