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

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

Had + Past Participle

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 a 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. (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

Difference between Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous

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