The past perfect continuous

         They had been playing football on that field for three hours. 

  1. Are they still playing football?
  2. For how long had they been playing?

Answers:

  1. No, the action happened in the past.
  2. They had been playing for three hours.

  We use the past perfect continuous to talk about:

an action that started in the past continued up until another time in the past, and usually lasted for a long period of time.

Past perfect continuous form

Affirmative           + S+had+ been+V+ing
Negative               - S+had+not+ been+V+ing
Interrogative         ? Had+S+been+V+ing

Past perfect continuous examples

  • Anouar had been studying in the library for three hours.
  • We had been shopping in that shop before we came home.
  • We had been watching a movie on Netflix for two hours.
  • I had been singing different kinds of songs for an hour.
  • I had been playing tennis since the morning.
  • Zineb had been traveling around the world since the month of December.

Task 1

  The plane landed at the airport.

What had these passengers been doing before it landed?

 

Mr. Clark - read a newspaper

Mrs. Clark - look out of the window

Julie - play with her teddy bear

Peter - learn how to use his new phone

Mr. Gregson - sleep

Mrs. Gregson - take photos

Melanie - draw pictures

Fiona and Eve - talk to each other

Ben - listen to Fiona and Eve

Miss Smith, the flight attendant - deliver food to passengers

    Use the past perfect continuous to complete the sentences below:   Mr.Clark.............................................................................................................................  Mrs. Clark.......................................................................................................................... Julie....................................................................................................................................  Peter................................................................................................................................... Mr. Gregson...................................................................................................................... Mrs. Gregson..................................................................................................................... Melanie............................................................................................................................. Fiona and Eve................................................................................................................... Ben.................................................................................................................................... Miss Smith........................................................................................................................

Correction:

Mr. Clark had been reading a newspaper.

Mrs. Clark had been looking out of the window.

Julie had been playing with her teddy bear.

Peter had been learning how to use his new phone.

Mr. Gregson had been sleeping.

Mrs. Gregson had been taking photos.

Melanie had been drawing pictures.

Fiona and Eve had been talking to each other.

Ben had been listening to Fiona and Eve.

Miss Smith had been delivering food to passengers.

Task2

Respond to the following situations using the past perfect continuous:

Why were you so red?

  1. Because I ................................................................ before we met. (jog) 

Your test was absolutely correct. 

  1. Really? I .................................................................. for it so long. (revise) 

Did you see Jane?

  1. She was so angry. No wonder. She ....................................................... with her brother all day. (argue)

Bill was exhausted. 

  1. Yes, he really was. He ............................................................... too long. (work) 

Your parents went to bed very late

  1. They ............................................................................. all afternoon. (have a rest) 

Why were all the players so dirty at the end of the match? 

  1. Because they .................................................................... in mud. (play) 

Did you get in touch with Richard in time?

  • Not really. But I ............................................................ to contact him all the time. (try)

 

Correction:

  • Because I had been jogging before we met.
  • Really? I had been revising for it so long.
  • No wonder. She had been arguing with her brother all day.
  • Yes, he really was. He had been working too long.
  • They had been having a rest all afternoon.
  • Because they had been playing in mud.
  • Not really. But I had been trying to contact him all the time

Task3

Write three sentences of your choice using the past perfect continuous

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