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Past Perfect Continuous Tense

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2:14 min read
  Angbeen Chaudhary  —  Grammar Tips
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Beginners of English language sometimes face difficulties in understanding and applying the correct tenses while writing and speaking. One little mistake in tense of a sentence can lead to a big change in the meaning of the writer/speaker which can lead to confusion in the listener/reader.

Today I will discuss about the term tenses and what they are. Also, I will discuss about past perfect continuous tense in detail.


Tense is described as the quality of a verb which occurs in a sentence and which describes the time frame of the action taking place. In simpler terms, the occurrence of action of a sentence is depicted by the tense of that sentence.


He likes bananas.

In the above example, the verb likes indicates that the action is taking place right now and is not an event of the past or future, thus we know that the tense of this sentence is present.

The basic categorization of tense is that it can exist in three forms which are past, present and future. This means that a verb also comes in three forms i.e. past, present and future.

Past Tense

A verb is said to be in past tense when the action it is describing has taken place at point in the past.


She sang well at the party.

This example makes use of second form of verb i.e. sang and thus it indicates that the action is of past.

But is doesn’t end there. The past tense is further divided into different forms and types which include past indefinite tense, past continuous tense, past perfect tense and past perfect continuous tense.

Today I will talk about past perfect continuous tense.

Past Perfect Continuous Tense

Past perfect continuous indicates that a continuous action that started in the past kept on happening for some time in the past. It refers to an action that happened before now continuously for some specific time.


She had been watching television for the whole night.

The example indicates that the action of watching was a continuous event of the past and continued for the whole night.

A verb exists in past perfect continuous tense when it is in first form with an –ing at the end and had been before it.


The boys had been standing at the bus stop for 2 hours.

The above example is also that of past perfect continuous tense. Notice that the first form of verb stand is used along with –ing and had been before it which represents that time of the continuous action was that of the past which kept on going for 2 hours.


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