Grammar Tutorial: Past Perfect Progressive Tense

Past perfect progressive tense of the verb is used to state an action that is continuous in the past when another past action occurred.

Form: had been + present participle

Examples:

1. We had been waiting for my brother to come when I received a phone call from a friend.

2. The program had been going on when I arrived.

3. The teachers had been preparing to welcome the new principal when the office received and advice for its postponement.

Always remember here that this tense of the verb requires two past actions. One is on going in the past uses the had plus been then, another past action( which is in simple past) happened.

Exercises: Write the correct form of each verb inside the parentheses.

1. The Philippine government (try) diplomatic tactics to solve territorial dispute over China when Visiting Forces Agreement (begin) its “Balikatan Exercises”.

2. The people (support) the call for peaceful settlement when the opponent country (start) aggressive action towards our military.

3. Before my brother (join) the band, he (sing) in a five star hotel.

4. When the rain (pour), my family (pack) our things to go home.

5. I (do) my laundry when my sister (ask) me to accompany her to the mall.

Answers:
1. Had been trying, began
2. Had been supporting, started

For sentence 1 and 2, the first past on-going action uses the past perfect progressive. For sentence 1, had been trying and sentence 2, had been supporting. Notice that the subsequent verbs are in the simple past tense began and started respectively.

3. Joined, had been singing
4. Poured, had been packing

For sentence 3 and 4, if you notice the simple past tense comes before the past perfect progressive. Here, careful attention is needed to identify which comes first before another one happens. In this case, you can tell that one cannot automatically say that the first verb given will always use the past perfect progressive.

5. Had been doing, asked
Please go back to the above explanation for this number.

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