English Daily Workout: The Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous Tense

The Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous Tense

The Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous Tense

The Past  Perfect Tense is used:

.  To talk about  a finished event or situation which took place before a particular time in the past.
They had failed the first exam.

.  To describe an event, situation, or event which happened before another event in the past.
By the time we got to the bank, it had already closed.

.  When a time reference (e.g. before/after) makes explicit which action took place first, the Past Perfect is optional.
The burglar disappeared (had disappeared) before the police arrived.

The Past Continuous Perfect Tense is used:

.  To describe a completed action which lasted during a period of time in the past before another event, we use the Past Perfect Continuous.
When I got back home, my son had been playing on the computer for two hours.

Note: Sometimes the difference between them has to do with emphasis. If the focus is on the duration of a particular event or situation, use the Past Perfect Continuous tense. If the focus is on the completion of the event opt for the Past Perfect Tense.