• English grammar
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  • 1 English alphabet
  • 2 English pronunciation and phonetics [0/3]
  • 3 English articles [0/9]
  • 4 English pronouns [0/39]
  • 4.1 English personal pronouns [0/3]
  • 4.2 English impersonal pronouns (it, there, ...) [0/4]
  • 4.3 English object pronouns [0/3]
  • 4.4 English possessive pronouns [0/5]
  • 4.5 English reflexive pronouns [0/4]
  • 4.6 English reciprocal pronouns [0/4]
  • 4.7 English demonstrative pronouns [0/3]
  • 4.8 English relative pronouns [0/4]
  • 4.9 English indefinite pronouns [0/5]
  • 4.10 English interrogative pronouns [0/4]
  • 5 English nouns [0/16]
  • 6 English adjectives [0/38]
  • 6.1 Adjectives of quality in English [0/4]
  • 6.2 Demonstrative adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.3 Possessive adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.4 Quantity adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.5 Interrogative adjectives in English [0/4]
  • 6.6 Numeral adjectives in English [0/8]
  • 6.7 Comparatives and superlatives [0/10]
  • 7 English adverbs [0/18]
  • 7.1 Position of adverbs in English [0/2]
  • 7.2 Adverbs of manner in English [0/2]
  • 7.3 Adverbs of place in English [0/2]
  • 7.4 Adverbs of time in English [0/2]
  • 7.5 Adverbs of quantity in English [0/2]
  • 7.6 Adverbs of frequency in English [0/2]
  • 7.7 Adverbs of degree in English [0/2]
  • 7.8 Adverbs of probability and certainty in English [0/2]
  • 7.9 Adverbs of opinion and observation in English [0/2]
  • 8 English prepositions [0/12]
  • 9 English verbs [0/122]
  • 9.1 Present tenses in English [0/29]
  • Fill in the correct present tense in English (Score -/-)Free
  • Exercise about all present tenses in English (Score -/-)Free
  • Mixed present tenses exercise in English (Score -/-)Free
  • Practice all the English present tenses (Score -/-)Free
  • 9.1.1 Present simple tense in English [0/5]
  • 9.1.2 Present continuous tense in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.3 Present simple vs present continuous in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.4 Present perfect tense in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.5 Present perfect continuous tense in English [0/4]
  • 9.1.6 Difference past simple and present perfect in English [0/4]
  • 9.2 Past tenses in English [0/20]
  • 9.3 Future tenses in English [0/21]
  • 9.4 Auxiliary verbs in English [0/9]
  • 9.5 Present participle in English [0/3]
  • 9.6 Past participle in English [0/3]
  • 9.7 Modal verbs in English [0/11]
  • 9.8 Phrasal verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.9 Regular verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.10 Irregular verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.11 Gerund (-ing form) in English [0/8]
  • 9.12 Infinitive verbs in English [0/3]
  • 9.13 Imperative in English [0/2]
  • 9.14 Reported speech in English [0/2]
  • 9.15 Active and passive voice in English [0/2]
  • 10 English conditionals [0/20]
  • 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. 

    Structure of the English past perfect continuous

    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)

    Examples:

    • We had been writing each other letters since 2015. 
    • I had been preparing my wedding since last year. 

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    How to form the past perfect continuous tense 

    How the past perfect continuous is formed, depends on whether the sentence is:

    1. Affirmative: expresses the truth of a certain assertion.
    2. Negative: expresses the falsity of a certain assertion. 
    3. Interrogative: expresses a question.

    1. Affirmatives 

    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'
    I had been
    You had been
    He / she / it had been
    We had been
    You had been
    They had been 

    Examples:

    • I had been walking to the supermarket.
    • He had been planning his trip to Spain since last year. 

    2. Negatives 

    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

    Examples:

    • She had not been waiting for you.
    • They had not been cooking all morning. 

    3. Interrogatives

    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

    Examples:

    • Had you been crying during the movie?
    • Had you been waiting a long time before the bus arrived?

    Usage of the past perfect continuous 

    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. 

    Situation Examples
    Something started in the past and continued up until another action in the past. 
    • They had been running for  10 minutes before they got tired. 
    • She had been calling her mother for an hour before she had to leave.
    To show cause and effect.
    • Sandra was late because she had been walking from the train station to the office. 
    • He failed the class because he had not been paying attention in class.

    Difference between since and for

    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:

    • For: is used to define the duration of an action or event.
    • Examples: for six years, for a week, for a month, for two hours.

     

    • Since: is used to define the starting point of an action or event. 
    • Examples: since this morning, since 2015, since yesterday. 

    Test your knowledge of the present perfect continuous with the exercises below!