Past Perfect Continuous Tense: Lesson and Practice Questions

Past Perfect Continuous Tense: Usage, Structure and Examples

  • Usage:

    • Used for actions that were ongoing for a period of time before another action in the past.
  • Structure:

    • Affirmative: Subject + had been + present participle (e.g., They had been waiting).
    • Negative: Subject + had not been + present participle (e.g., She hadn’t been working).
    • Interrogative: Had + subject + been + present participle? (e.g., Had you been waiting?).
  • Examples:

    • They had been playing for hours before it started raining.
    • She hadn’t been studying for long when the phone rang.
    • Had you been practicing before the performance?

Past Perfect Continuous Tense: Practice Questions


  1. She ____________ (study) for three hours before the exam.


    a. studied
    b. had studied
    c. had been studying

  2. We ____________ (wait) for the train for half an hour.


    a. waited
    b. had been waiting
    c. had waited

  3. He ____________ (run) for 10 kilometers before he stopped.


    a. ran
    b. had run
    c. had been running

  4. They ____________ (work) on the project for weeks before it was completed.


    a. had been working
    b. had worked
    c. worked

  5. I ____________ (paint) the house for two days before it started raining.


    a. painted
    b. had painted
    c. had been painting

Answers: (Affirmative)

1. C, 2. B, 3. C, 4. A, 5. C


  1. She ____________ (not/study) for very long when she decided to take a break.


    a. did not study
    b. had not studied
    c. had not been studying

  2. We ____________ (not/wait) for the bus for more than 15 minutes.


    a. did not wait
    b. had not been waiting
    c. had not waited

  3. He ____________ (not/run) very far before he realized he was lost.


    a. had not been running
    b. had not run
    c. did not run

  4. They ____________ (not/work) on that project for too long before they abandoned it.


    a. did not work
    b. had not worked
    c. had not been working

  5. I ____________ (not/paint) the walls before I moved out of the house.


    a. did not paint
    b. had not painted
    c. had not been painting

Answers: (Negative)

1. C, 2. B, 3. A, 4. C, 5. C


  1. __________ she ____________ (study) before the power outage occurred?


    a. Did / study
    b. Had / been studying
    c. Was / studying

  2. __________ you ____________ (wait) for a long time before the event started?


    a. Did / wait
    b. Were / waiting
    c. Had / been waiting

  3. What ____________ you ____________ (do) before you found out about the cancellation?


    a. Did / do
    b. Had / been doing
    c. Were / doing

  4. __________ they ____________ (not/work) on that project for months before quitting?


    a. Did / not work
    b. Had / been not working
    c. Were / not working

  5. __________ he ____________ (not/paint) the room before moving in?


    a. Had / been not painting
    b. Did / not paint
    c. Was / not painting

Answers: (Interrogative)

1. B, 2. C, 3. B, 4. B, 5. A

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