How is the past perfect continuous used?

The past perfect continuous is a tense that makes reference to two past actions. The tense is principally to describe an action that started at a specific moment in the past and then continues until another moment in the past.



+ I had been working since 8 am when you finally turned up at midday.

– I had not been studying at university long until I realised that the course was too hard for me.

? Had you been learning English long before you took the exam?


The past perfect continuous is similar to the past perfect simple, but the continuous is exclusively for  actions that are still in progress when the second action happens. In the past perfect simple, they are both completed actions.


Speaking questions:

  1. Had you been living in this city long before you made friends?
  2. Had you been studying at school before you decided what you wanted to do for a living?
  3. Had you been doing your favourite hobby for a long time before you decided that it was your favourite?
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