What Is the Past Perfect Progressive Tense? (with Examples)

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What Is the Past Perfect Progressive Tense? (with Examples)

The past perfect progressive tense is used to show that an on-going action in the past has ended.

Examples of the Past Perfect Progressive Tense

Here are some examples of the past perfect progressive tense (shaded):
  • She had been painting the door before the dog scratched it.
  • The jury had been considering its verdict for several hours when the judge effectively ordered them to find Jones guilty.
  • He just couldn't summon the energy. He had been working at the dock all afternoon.
Of course, you can also have a negative version:
  • She had not been painting the door.
  • The jury had not been considering its verdict for very long when the judge effectively ordered them to find Jones guilty.
  • He had plenty of energy. He had not been working at the dock at all that afternoon.
And, the question version:
  • Had she been painting the door?
  • Had the jury been considering its verdict for very long when the judge ordered them to find Jones guilty.
  • Why was he so tired? Had he been working at the dock all afternoon?

Forming the Past Perfect Progressive Tense

Here is an infographic explaining the past perfect progressive tense:



The Other Past Tenses

The past perfect progressive tense is one of four past tenses. They are:

The 4 Past Tenses Example
simple past tense I went
past progressive tense I was going
past perfect tense I had gone
past perfect progressive tense I had been going
The past perfect progressive tense is formed:

had been + [present participle]

For example:
  • I had been jumping.
  • They had been meeting.

The last word in each example above (i.e. the [verb] + "ing" part) is known as a present participle. It is formed like this:

Add "ing" to most verbs:
  • play > playing
  • shout > shouting

For verbs that end "e", remove the "e" and add "ing":
  • prepare > preparing
  • ride > riding

For verbs that end "ie", change the "ie" to "y" and add "ing":
  • lie > lying
  • untie > untying

For verbs whose last syllable is written [consonant-vowel-consonant] and is stressed, double the final consonant and add "ing":
  • run > running
  • forget > forgetting
 
 

Take a longer test on the past perfect progressive tense.