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Grammar and StructureGRAMMAR & STRUCTURE — Examples
Past Perfect Continuous


Examples sentences using past perfect continuous:


Continuous Action (first past action)

Simple Past Action (second past action)


I had been typing my report for an hour when my boss told me he needed it.

had been typing

told me he needed it

The person began typing an hour before the boss told the typist he needed it. Both actions are in the past. The typing was continuing until the boss told the typist he needed it.

Michelle had been running for half an hour when it became dark.

had been running

it became dark

Michelle began running half an hour before it got dark. When it became dark, the running was interrupted.

Joseph had been studying all night when he fell asleep.

had been studying

he fell asleep

Joseph studied all night. He was studying when he fell asleep.

What had Gail been doing before she started working here?

had been doing

started working here

The question asks what Gail was doing before she started working here. Both actions are past actions.