mail tip Sign up for daily tips
Chat about grammar Ask a grammar question
grammar checker Try a grammar checker
Follow Us on Twitter Like us on Facebook by Craig Shrives

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

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
Note
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
Interactive Test
 
 

Take a longer test on the past perfect progressive tense.