First, be sure to review our small lesson on the past perfect. Once you understand how to use the past perfect, the past perfect progressive shouldn't be too difficult. Like the past perfect, the past perfect progressive occurs before the past tense. The progressive or "ing" form means that we're focusing on an activity that is happening until a point in the past. This activity may continue or it may stop at this specified point in the past.
The structure of the past perfect progressive is had + been + past participle. For example, the past perfect progressive of eat is had been eating, and the past perfect progressive of fly is had been flying. In addition, because the past perfect progressive conveys an activity that occurred to a point in the past, it usually includes for or since or some way of showing the duration of this activity.
Here are some examples:
1. We had been driving for 5 hours when we got pulled over (stopped) by the cop.
2. The kids were not hungry at dinner because they had been eating sweets since two o'clock this afternoon.
3. They had been chatting for hours when the lights suddenly went out.
4. Sue wanted to take a walk because she'd been studying all day.
5. Jack was thrilled to finally get his car fixed. He'd been taking the bus since last Friday when the battery died and the garage found other things wrong with it.
Alright, folks. I hope that makes the past perfect progressive clear for you. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know here, on Facebook, on Twitter, or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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