Past Perfect Continuous # Grammar For IELTS

Past perfect continuous takes the following form –
Had been + present participle
I had been waiting for you since morning.
At that time he had been writing novel for five months.
Past perfect tense is used in the following cases –

When something begins in the past and continues for sometime
Past perfect continuous is very much like present perfect continuous. It is used when something begins in the past and continues for a certain time and then finishes off in the past itself.



  • She had been working in the company for few months, before she left to pursue her passions.
  • How long had you been waiting to get the bus?
  • He had been working hard for four months before he got his first break.
Past perfect continuous tense is often used to express the “cause and effect” relationship.

  • He is tired because he had been jogging for past 2 hours.
  • He gained weight as he had been overeating.
  • Archie failed the final exams because he had not been attending the classes for a year.

NOTE – Past Continuous emphasizes interrupted actions, whereas Past Perfect Continuous emphasizes a duration of time before something in the past.
He was tired because he was running.
This shows that he is tired because he is running at the moment.
He was tired because he had been running for an hour.
This shows that he ran for over a period of one hour and therefore he is tired.

Past Perfect Tense # Grammar For IELTS

Past perfect tense is used to express a time before a certain moment in the past. It is used to make clear that one event happened before another in the past. The simple past is used in one clause and the past perfect in the other.

  1. Anmol had come when I arrived.
  2. When they arrived, we had already left.
  3. He was very tired because he had not slept well.

In the above sentences, the words that have been emphasized, denote the action that was performed earlier.




Formation of Past Perfect Tense

The past perfect tense is composed of two parts –

  1. Past tense of the verb to have (had)
  2. Past participle of the main verb


  • She had given her notebook to him.
  • I had written the letter before time.
  • We had not decided.

Past Perfect + just

‘Just’ is used with the past perfect to refer to an event that was only a short time earlier than before now.

  • The train had just arrived when I reached the station.
  • He had just left seeing the police arrive.
  • I had just put the washing out when it started to rain.


Simple Past Tense # Grammar For IELTS

Simple past represents the following –

Indicates an event that has already occurred in the past.

  1. I received the letter yesterday.
  2. The plane landed at 3:00 am.
  3. She left the college early.
To express a habit of the past

  1. They studied for many hours.
  2. She sang for various companies.
  3. She always carried a gun.
simple past tense

simple past tense

To express an action going on at the time stated.

  1. While they danced, we sang.
  2. While they bathed, we fished.
  3. While they studied, he played.

NOTE – it is not compulsory to state the time when the event completed in the past, in a simple past sentence.
For Example-

  1. I learnt how to play guitar.
  2. He defeated Akhilesh in the war.
  3. I did not slept well yesterday.