Past Perfect Continuous or Past Perfect Progressive

Objectives of today’s lesson:

In this lesson, Learn English with Julia presents to you “Past Perfect Continuous”, in order for you to:

  • go through past perfect continuous examples
  • understand the past perfect continuous tense structure
  • go through the past perfect continuous form
  • complete some past perfect continuous exercises


Video Script: Past perfect continuous / Past perfect progressive

Hello and welcome back to our video on another tense today!

It’s all about the past perfect continuous.

This tense is also referred to as the past perfect progressive.

The reason why it’s called like that – let’s refresh our memory –

“past” because it has a simple past

“perfect” because it contains a past participle

and “continuous” because it ends in an “-ing form” or a present participle.

Now two forms are available here for the positive form:

you can either say: “I had been learning” or

“I’d been learning”

and that is true for all the subjects (you, he, they…)

For the negative form you have three options. You can either say:

I had not been learning.

I’d not be learning.

or: I hadn’t been learning.

And finally the interrogative or question form. You can say:

Can I be learning?

Or if it’s negative:

Hadn’t I been learning?

or: Had I not been learning?

Now when do I use this past perfect continuous?

I can use it when I want to express a cause,

when I want to stress the duration of the

or just specify that it lasted for a certain time.

So here we have various signal words that work well with this tense:

all…, the whole…, for…, since…,

how long…?

So we can say for example:

How long had he been learning English?

He had been playing sports all afternoon.

And so on.

For today’s class I only have a few hints for you.

Just a reminder that there are some non continuous verbs (verbs that cannot be formed in a continuous tense)

You won’t hear such things as:

I had been having.

You’d hear: I was having.

So you wouldn’t use this tense, the past perfect continuous.

In the example I have just given you.

You would use a past continuous instead. okay

Don’t forget to watch the videos with the other tenses so that you don’t get confused.

And also if you haven’t yet, please watch the video on phonetics and how to spell in this case: the present participle.


Grammar Quiz:


Keywords listed in English:

  • past perfect continuous or past perfect progressive
  • past participle
  • present participle
  • signal words or adverbs of time

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