Spend a unique high school year abroad.Learn more »
The Past Perfect Progressive tense, also called Past Perfect Continuous tense, is a somewhat more complex tense of the past, but should be learned nevertheless. Only with the Past Perfect Progressive tense you can describe and understand complex actions in the past.
We will show you how to form the Past Perfect Continuous tense, in which situations you have to use the Past Perfect Progressive tense and help you to clarify in which situations you have to use the Past Perfect Continuous tense with the help of some example sentences following the explanations.
To form the Past Perfect Progressive tense, you must first have a basic understanding of the Past Perfect tense. The reason for this is that you need to form the auxiliary verb Have in the Past Perfect tense. Once you understand this, you move on to the Past Participle and the progressive form (to be + -ing). The formula for forming the Past Perfect Progressive is summarized as follows:
Formula for the Past Perfect Progressive tense: Had + been + verb in the infitive ending in -ing.
Take a look at the following verbs in the Past Perfect Progressive tense and read the corresponding example sentences to get a better understanding of how to form the Past Perfect Progressive tense.
Past Perfect Progressive
had been working
I had been working for 5 hours before I took a break.
had been studying
She had been studying all day before she finally understood the material.
had been playing
They had been playing tennis for an hour before it started raining.
had been cooking
We had been cooking dinner for 30 minutes before the guests arrived.
had been driving
He had been driving for several hours before he finally arrived at his destination.
Fortunately, you can use the above formula for all verbs in the Past Perfect Progressive tense. Apart from the irregular auxiliary verb had, there are no irregularities in the Past Perfect Progressive tense. So you can relax and memorize the formula and form sentences in the Past Perfect Progressive tense.
Using the Past Perfect Progressive tense helps you formulate even more complex English sentence structures in the past tense. It is basically used to describe actions that took place over a certain period of time in the past and were completed at a certain point in time in the past. The Past Perfect Progressive tense is especially often used when describing longer states or actions in the past.
For a better understanding, it is also worth comparing the two past tenses Past Perfect Progressive tense and Past Perfect tense. While the Past Perfect tense focuses on the completion of an action in the past, the Past Perfect Progressive tense is used to focus on the duration of the action performed and completed in the past.
You want to improve your English in a relaxed but effective way? Then a language study trip with Sprachcaffe to England, Canada or Malta is just right for you.
Start English adventures now
Look at the following five example sentences in Past Perfect Progressive tense to learn how to use it. This will help you understand the admittedly more complex sentences in Past Perfect Progressive tense. With these example sentences in the Past Perfect Progressive tense you will recognize that longer states or actions have taken place in the past and have come to an end.
The sun had been shining all day before the rain started in the evening.
I had been waiting for the train for hours until it finally came.
They had been working on that project for month when they finally finished it.
Marie had been studying english for hours when she finally understood the past perfect progressive.
They had been driving for many hours when they finally reached their destination.
They had been living in New York for five years before they moved to London.
She had been working at the company for ten years when she was offered a promotion.
We had been playing tennis for two hours when it started to rain.
He had been traveling around Europe for six months before he ran out of money.