The Past Perfect Progressive Tense in English

Following on from yesterday’s Past Perfect Simple Tense in English article, we’re going to cover the Past Perfect Progressive Tense. As always, you can view all our tense articles by moving down to the bottom of this page and using the links to the tense you want to learn about.

Past Perfect Progressive Tense: What is it?

The Past Perfect Progressive Tense is very similar to the Past Perfect Simple Tense. It describes an event or action that takes place in the past. However, you use it to emphasise the action itself, and not the result of the action. So, if Jimmy was running, you use the past perfect progressive tense to describe what happened while Jimmy was running, not what happened after it.

Past Perfect Progressive Tense: How Does It Work?

Jimmy had been running
Subject + had + been + verb in present participle form.

Past Perfect Progressive Tense: What Are The Issues?

Sometimes, native speakers will contract the subject and the verb “had.” In the example, it would be “Jimmy’d been running.”
Also, remember that “had” is a past tense verb, “been” is a past tense verb, but the main verb, “running” is a present participle.

Past Perfect Progressive Tense: Some Examples

I had been swimming.
You had been sailing.
He had been dancing.
She had been writing.
We had been working.
They had been listening.
Jimmy had been running.


Using this and our other articles, you will be able to build sentences in English. This article will help you to talk about events of the past, and why they are important in the present.

As always, if your first language is English, and you are trying to learn a different language, you can use this information to look up the correct way to make sentences in your target language.

Using this particular article, you can describe how an action occurred in the past. The same grammar rule applies whether it was you or another person who did the action.

Other Articles in this Series:

Past Simple Tense.
Past Progressive Tense
Present Simple Tense.
Present Progressive Tense.
Present Perfect Simple Tense
Present Perfect Progressive Tense
Past Perfect Simple Tense
Past Perfect Progressive Tense

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