Speak About:

Present

Past

Past to Present

Future

Abilities - Responsibilities

Asking Questions

Choosing the Right Phrase

Combining Verbs

Explaining Ideas

Describing Your World

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Relating Ideas, People, Objects

Speaking about Objects

Wondering about Situations

What Had Been Happening Before Something Occurred

Past Perfect Continuous

The past perfect continuous expresses the duration of an activity up to another point in time in the past. The use of the past perfect continuous stresses that a certain activity had been going on before something important happened.

Example:

They had not been discussing the negative points about capital allowance when the manager entered the office.

She had been working on the fixed exchange rate report for five hours when he asked for it.

They hadn't been using that credit card account long when they used up their card's limit.

Positive Form:

Subject + had + been + 'ing' form of verb + (object(s)) + time expression

She had been doing well financially until she wrote a bank draft for more than was in her account.

Negative Form:

Subject + had + not + been + 'ing' form of verb + (object(s)) + time expression

They had not been discussing the negative points about capital allowance when the manager entered the office.

Question Form:

(Question Word) + had + subject + been + 'ing' form of verb?

How often had you been checking your safety deposit box prior to the break-in?

Past Perfect Contrasted with Past Perfect Continuous

The past perfect expresses something that finishes before another activity in the past. The past perfect continuous, on the other hand, expresses the duration of an activity at the moment something important happened in the past.

Past Perfect Examples:

I had already agreed to the terms before they offered the additional collateral.

Had they declared this account overdraft to the lawyer prior to the verdict being read?

Past Perfect Continuous Examples:

The economy had been struggling through a bear market for so long that people didn't know how to react.

She had been working on the fixed exchange rate report for five hours when he asked for it.