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The Past Perfect Continuous Tense

We use the past perfect continuous tense to talk about longer actions or situations in the past that had been going on continuously up to the moment in the past that we are talking about. The past perfect continuous is used to express how long something had been going on before something else happened in the past.

The past perfect continuous tense is formed using had been + the verb's present participle (base form + -ing). For a negative sentence add never between had and been.

To create a question we change the word order of the sentence.

For example: I had been working at the company for 3 years when I got the promotion.

She had been swimming for 2 hours when her mom told her to come inside.

When I arrived home from work my wife told me that my son had been playing

video games all day.

I had been doing my work since 6 o'clock that morning.

He had been training for the marathon for 6 months before he did it.

Had they been drinking when you arrived?

Let's practice!

Complete the following sentences by selecting the correct form of the verb in brackets and fill in the missing words where necessary.

  1. She ____ been ______ (write) articles for 5 years on the topic of money.

  2. They had _______(be) _______ (practice) for hours.

  3. He had been ______ (study) the whole week.

  4. I had been ______ (work) there for a month when I got promoted.

  5. They _____ _____ playing football all day until it started raining.

  6. Had ______ been drinking when you found him?

  7. What ___ they _____ doing all day?

  8. Had they been _____ (run) all day?

  9. ______ had they been buying their food before the grocery store opened?

  10. Why ______ she been studying so hard?

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