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2. Past Perfect Continuous

FORM 8

1 Introduction



David is talking about a situation in the past (
I fell and broke my leg). When we look back to something before this past time, we use the Past Perfect Simple or the Past Perfect Continuous.

Past Perfect Simple: I had taken a bus in to town.
Past Perfect Continuous: I had been swimming in the pool.

We use the Past Perfect Continuous for an action which happened over a period of time. The swimming went on for some time before David broke his leg.


2 Form

The Past Perfect Continuous is had been + an -ing form.
I had been waiting ages. OR I'd been waiting ages.
I had not been paying attention. OR I hadn't been paying attention.
Was the ground wet? Had it been raining?

3 I had been doing or I had done?

Compare the Past Perfect Continuous and Simple.

We do not normally use the Past Perfect
Continuous for states.
NOT He had been seeming unwell.

We also use the Past Perfect Simple for states.
The old man had seemed unwell for some time
before he died.

4 Comparison with other continuous forms

Compare the Present Perfect Continuous (has/have been doing) and the Past Perfect Continuous.
Vicky looks very upset. I think she's been crying.
Vicky looked very upset. I thought she'd been crying.
Compare the Past Continuous (was doing) and the Past Perfect Continuous.
When I phoned, Natasha was having a piano lesson. (I phoned during the lesson.)
When I phoned, Natasha had been having a piano lesson. (I phoned after the lesson.)

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