Past Perfect — Past Perfect Progressive (Continuous)

23 Sep

I. Past Perfect is used to indicate:

1. An action that happened before another action in the past; there usually are two actions in the sentence.

John had gone  (1st action) to the store before he went (2nd action) home.

Jack told (2nd action) us yesterday that he had visited (1st action) England in 1970.

The past perfect is usually used with the adverbs before, after, or when.

Look at the following formulas:

subject  +  past perfect  +  before  +  subject  +  simple past tense

 e.g.: John had gone to the store,before he went home.


subject  +  simple past  tense +  before  +  subject  +  past perfect

 e.g.: John went home, before he had gone to the store.

Before  +  subject  + simple  past tense  +  subject  +  past perfect

 e.g.: Before  John went home, he had gone to the store.

After  +  subject  +  past perfect  +  subject  + simple past tense

 After John had gone to the store, he went home.


NOTE: The adverb WHEN can be used in place of BEFORE  or AFTER in any of these four formulas without change in meaning. We still know which action happened first because of the use of past perfect.

2.  A state which continued for a time in the past, but stopped before now.  (see rule number (3) on the previous posting about Present Perfect, but in this case, there is no connection with the present:


Abdu had lived in New York  for ten years before he moved  to California.

II. Past Perfect Progressive (Continuous):

For category (2) of past perfect only, we can also use the past perfect progressive (continuous).  Study the following formula:

Subject  +  had  +  been  +  (verb  +  ing) ………….

Abdu had been living  in New York for ten years before  he moved  to California.


More examples of past perfect :

  • The professor had reviewed the material before he gave the quiz.
  • After Henry had visited  Puerto Rico, he went to St. Thomas.
  • Before Ali went to sleep, he had called his family
  • George had worked at the university for forty five years   before he retired

YOUR TASK: Pick  up which sentence/s that can also use with Past Perfect Progressive (Continuous).


h   a   v   e      f   u   n


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Posted by on September 23, 2011 in Uncategorized


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