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The past perfect continuous tense, also known as the past perfect progressive tense, is a verb tense used to describe an action that started in the past, continued for a period of time, and was completed before another past action or time in the past.

It is formed by using the auxiliary verb “had been” followed by the present participle (verb + -ing) of the main verb.

For example, “I had been studying for three hours before I took the exam” indicates that the action of studying was ongoing for a period of three hours before the action of taking the exam. Here, “had been studying” is the past perfect continuous tense.

The past perfect continuous tense is often used to describe a longer action or event that started before another past action and continued up to that point. It can also be used to indicate the cause or reason for something that happened in the past, such as “I was exhausted because I had been running for an hour.”

It’s important to note that the past perfect continuous tense is often used in combination with other verb tenses to show the order of events in the past. For example, “I had been waiting for two hours before the train arrived” uses both the past perfect continuous and simple past tense to indicate that the action of waiting was ongoing before the action of the train arriving.

The Past Perfect Continuous is another tense that expresses the “past in the past”.

In this lesson we look at the structure and use of the Past Perfect Continuous tense, followed by a quiz to check your understanding.

How do we use the Past Perfect Continuous tense?

The Past Perfect Continuous tense is like the Past Perfect tense, but it expresses longer actions in the past before another action in the past. For example:

  • Ram started waiting at 9 am. I arrived at 11 am. When I arrived, Ram had been waiting for two hours.



I had been playing a traditional game with Andy for almost two hours when Andy’s little sister ruined everything.

(Aku telah bermain Scrabble bersama Andy selama hampir dua jam ketika adik kecil Andy menghancurkan segalanya.)


Wayan had been practicing the guitar for about fifteen minutes before he came out of his room and had dinner with his family.

(Wayan telah berlatih gitar selama sekitar lima belas menit sebelum dia keluar dari kamarnya dan makan malam bersama keluarganya.)


Mr Nadiana had been combing his hair for ten minutes when his housewife picked him up last night.

(Bapak Nadiana telah menyisir rambutnya selama tiga puluh menit saat istrinya menjemputnya semalam.)


They had been planting trees around their village for over a year when they got the scholarship to Australia.

(Mereka telah menanami pohon disekitar desa mereka selama lebih dari satu tahun ketika mereka mendapatkan beasiswa ke Australia.)


The dog had been scratching its back for over three minutes when the owner put it in its cage.

(Anjing itu telah menggaruk punggungnya selama lebih dari tiga menit saat pemiliknya meletakkan anjing itu di kandangnya.)


Nick had been paying attention when Mr Wayan gave him a surprise question about the material yesterday.

(Nick telah memperhatikan ketika Mr Wayan memberinya pertanyaan kejutan tentang materi pelajaran kemarin.)


She had been exercising for more than thirty minutes when I arrived at the gym.

(Perempuan itu telah berolahraga selama lebih dari tiga puluh menit ketika saya tiba di gym.)


They had been eating all day when she met them at their dorm yesterday.

(Mereka telah makan seharian ketika perempuan itu bertemu mereka di asrama mereka kemarin.)


I had been waiting for more than 15 minutes when you showed up with your new car yesterday.

(Saya telah menunggu selama lebih dari 15 menit ketika kau muncul dengan mobil barumu kemarin.)


My company had been using old car services for ten years when the board directors decided to use it again.

(Perusahaan saya sedang menggunakan mobil tua selama sepuluh tahun ketika dewan direksi memutuskan untuk menggunakannya lagi.)



He had not been making brownies in the kitchen when the salesman knocked on the door.

(Laki-laki itu belum membuat brownies di dapur ketika penjual itu mengetuk pintu rumah.)


Jim had not been watching half of the movie when we arrived.

(Jim belum menonton setengah dari film itu ketika kita tiba.)


They had not been bought mangos from the market when you came home yesterday.

(mereka belum membeli mangga dari tamanmu ketika kamu pulang kemarin)


They had not been helping Lucy when professor Wayan asked for their help.

(Mereka belum membantu Lucy ketika professor Wayan meminta bantuan mereka.)


They had not been working as translators in Sydney for two years when they decided to return home.

(Mereka belum bekerja sebagai penerjemah di Sydney selama dua tahun saat mereka memutuskan untuk pulang.)


She had not been waiting for an hour when she finally got her turn to be vaccinated.

(Perempuan itu belum menunggu selama satu jam ketika dia akhirnya mendapat gilirannya untuk vaksin.)


She had not been reading her novel all day, and all she wanted to do was drink ice chocolate.

(Perempuan itu belum membaca novel sepanjang hari, dan yang ingin dia lakukan adalah minum coklat dingin.)


He hadn’t been exercising for an hour when his mother asked him to stop.

(Laki-laki itu belum berolahraga selama satu jam ketika ibunya memintanya untuk berhenti.)


I hadn’t been studying at the University of Indonesia for a year because I moved to another University.

(Aku belum belajar di Universitas Indonesia selama satu tahun karena aku pindah ke Universitas lain.)


John hadn’t been practicing English for two hours when Mr Wayan told her to go home.

(John belum berlatih bahasa inggris selama dua jam ketika Mr. Jazz menyuruhnya untuk pulang.)



Had Wayan been studying when you entered his room last night?

(Apakah Wayan sedang belajar ketika kamu masuk ke kamarnya semalam?)


Had Mike been jogging for several minutes when you ran into her at the park two days ago?

(Apakah Mike telah jogging selama beberapa menit ketika kamu secara tidak sengaja bertemu dengannya di taman dua hair lalu?)


Had they been riding their motorcycle up to the mountain when the accident happened?

(Apakah mereka tengah mengendarai sepeda motor mereka menaiki gunung itu ketika kecelakaan itu terjadi?)


Had you been doing your homework when she called you last night?

(Apakah kamu tengah mengerjakan PR mu ketika perempuan itu menelpon mu semalam?)


Had the University been celebrating its anniversary when you visited it last two months?

(Apakah sekolah itu tengah merayakan hari jadi nya ketika kamu mengunjungi sekolah itu dua bulan lalu?)


Had she been staying up till late at night a day before?

(Apakah dia telah begadang hingga larut malam sehari sebelumnya.)


How long had you been dreaming to buy the car before you finally managed to do so?

(Sudah berapa lama kamu memimpikan untuk membeli mobil itu sebelum akhirnya kamu berhasil melakukannya?)


Had you been dreaming to buy the car for three years until you bought it?

(Apakah anda telah bermimpi untuk membeli mobil itu selama tiga tahun hingga and membelinya?)


How many chapters had Kim been reading before she fell asleep last night?

(Berapa bab yang telah Kim baca sebelum dia ketiduran semalam?)


Had they been reading three chapters when they fell asleep last night?

(Apakah mereka telah membaca tiga bab ketika mereka ketiduran semalam?)


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