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PAST_PERFECT_CONTINUOUS[1]

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PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS (Progressive)

FORMATION:

had + been + Present Participle

Linda had been making a new dress for three hours when we came. – Had she been waiting for you? – No she had not been waiting for us as we hadn’t call.

PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS IS USED:

  1. To put emphasis on the duration of an action which started and finished in the past before another past action or a stated time in the past, usually with since or for, e.g.

They had been looking for a house for six months before they found one they liked.

  1. For an action which lasted for some time in the past and whose result was visible in the past.

Last Friday Ron had to fly to New York. His flight was delayed. He was annoyed. He had been waiting at the airport for three hours. (He waited at the airport for three hours and the result of the action was visible in the past, too.)

  1. Past perfect continuous is the past equivalent of present perfect continuous

Compare:

Past Perfect Continuous

Present Perfect Continuous

I had been driving for ten hours, so I felt exhausted.

(The action had been driving lasted for some time in the past. The result felt exhausted was also visible in the past.)

I have been driving for ten hours, so I feel exhausted.

(The action have been driving started in the past. The result feel exhausted is still visible in the present.)

  1. Past perfect continuous is used with the following time expressions (adverbial modifiers of time):

for since how long before till/until

How long had your parents been dating before they got married?

They had been dating for 3 years before they got married.

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