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Learn about the Past Perfect Continuous

 

How to use the Past Perfect Continuous


The past perfect continuous is used in a similar way to the present perfect continuous. But, it's for things which happened before a past time, not before a present time.


A past event which continues up to another time in the past:

I'd been waiting for 2 hours when he finally arrived.

Remember to use past perfect simple for state verbs:

I'd been there for 2 hours when he finally arrived.


We also use it for past events which had a result in the past, especially if the event is longer, repeated or unfinished at that time. We use past perfect simple for short, finished, single events or when we say how many.

I was angry because he'd been eating my chocolates.

(continuous: this was repeated, and maybe unfinished - there were more chocolates left.)

I was angry because he'd eaten all my chocolate.

(simple: this was finished and we said how much.)


We make the past perfect continuous using had + been + verb-ing. It is the same for all people (I, you, he, she ...).


+He knew she'd been lying to him.
-He knew she hadn't been lying to him.
?Had she been lying to him, he wondered.


Past perfect practice

Next Lesson: Future Forms

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