Difference between Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous

What is the difference between Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous Tense?

Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous

Difference in Form

  • Past Perfect Tense:

We form the Past Perfect with had and the past participle:

Had + Past Participle

  • Past Perfect Continuous Tense:

We form the Past Perfect Continuous with had been and the -ing form of the verb:

Had been + V-ing

Differences in Usage

  • The past perfect tense expresses the past action, already finished when another past action happened; the past perfect continuous tense describes a past action which started in the past and continued to happen after another action or time in the past.

Examples:

I met them after they had divorced each other. (past perfect)

Sara had been working here for two weeks when she had the accident. (past perfect continuous)

  • The past perfect tense emphasizes the result of an activity in the past; In contrast, the past perfect continuous tense emphasizes the duration of an activity in the past.

Examples:

had been to London twice by the time I got a job in New York. (past perfect)

Richard needed a holiday because he had been working hard for six months. (past perfect continuous)

  • The past perfect tense shows two events in the past that are linked, while the past perfect continuous tense shows the cause of a past action.

Example:

I couldn’t take my flight because I had forgotten my boarding pass. (past perfect)

had been travelling all night, so I was tired. (past perfect continuous)

Difference between Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous | Picture

Difference between Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous

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