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Past perfect continuous: 3 essential uses and easy examples

past perfect continuous

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Past perfect continuous=Past perfect progressive

Past perfect continuous tense

past perfect continuous


My father had been working for this multinational company for 20 years.

Past perfect continuous form

subject + had been + verb + ing

past perfect progressive

Past perfect progressive uses

1. We use past perfect progressive to show that an action started in the past and continued up until another action took place.


  • They had been playing football when George broke his leg.
  • We had been watching a movie when the light went out.

2. Past perfect continuous tense is used to explain why an action or feeling occurred.


  • I was very tired. I had been revising for the exam for more than four hours.
  • He put on weight because he had been overeating.

3. We use past perfect progressive to talk about the duration of an activity which continued up to a specified point in the past.


  • I had been learning Chinese for 6 months before I moved to Beijing.
  • My dad had been working for 30 years when he retired.

You might be interested in the essential uses of the Past Perfect Simple.

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