Past Perfect Continuous Tense: Rules & Examples

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

The Past Perfect Continuous Tense is used to show that an action that is going on in the past has ended.

This tense is similar to the present perfect continuous tense but is used to express past actions. We form this tense with had + been + -ing form of the main verb.

Present Perfect Continuous Tense: Rules & Examples

Past Perfect Continuous Tense Rules Chart
Past Perfect Continuous Tense Rules Chart

Affirmative Sentences

Form: Subject + had been + Verb (ing) + Object + since/for + Time.

Note:

  • For refers to periods of time, e.g. 2 years, 5 hours, ages, a long time, weeks, months, years.
  • Since refers to a previous point in time, e.g. morning, evening, 8 o’clock, 1988.

Examples:

  • I had been playing since morning.
  • She had been reading for 2 hours.
  • He had been eating for five minutes.
  • We had been playing football since 1998.
  • They had been waiting for you for 2 hours.

Negative Sentences

Form: Subject + had not been + Verb (ing) + Object + since/for + Time

Examples:

  • I had not been playing since morning.
  • She had not been reading for 2 hours.
  • He had not been eating for five minutes.
  • We had not been playing football since 1998.
  • They had not been waiting for you for 2 hours.

Interrogative Sentences

Form: Had + Subject + been + Verb (ing) + Object + since/for + Time?

Examples:

  • Had I been playing since morning?
  • Had she been reading for 2 hours?
  • Had he been eating for five minutes?
  • Had we been playing football since 1998?
  • Had they been waiting for you for 2 hours?

Examples of Past Perfect Continuous Tense

  • It had been raining here continuously for 3 days.
  • I had been trying to open the door for 10 minutes.
  • We had been playing chess since 8 o’clock.
  • She had been living in Toronto since 1988.
  • I had been feeding the dog when I slipped and fell.
  • Children had been watching cartoons for 2 hours.
  • They had been doing this for the last ten years.
  • We had been running the shop for six months.
  • I had been listening to songs for two hours.
  • He had been working in this bank since last year.

Other Tenses: