Lesson of the day-every day

Past Perfect vs Past Perfect Continuous (part II)

snowing day

When we reached the mountains it had been snowing for 3 days .


The past perfect continuous is formed by using the auxiliary had been+ing form of the verb  ( had been working ) .

AFFIRMATIVE     : I/you/he/she/it/we/they had been working .

NEGATIVE            :I/you/he/she/it/we/they had not( hadn’t) been working.

INTERROGATIVE :Had I/you/he/she/it/we/they been working ?


When do we use Past Perfect Continuous ?

We use Past Perfect Continuous to talk about the duration of an activity up to a point in the past .


We use the Present Perfect Continuous to talk about how long an activity had been going on up to the present .

Example. I have been working here for three months. ( I am still working here now .)

We use the Past Perfect Continuous to talk about the duration of an activity up to a point in the past .

Example . When I left my last job , I had been working there for four years. ( I started in 1990 and I left in 1994 ).

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Present Perfect vs Present Perfect Continuous(part I)

animal cat face close up feline
When I arrived home the party had already finished.

We form past perfect with had + past participle

I/you/he/she/it/we/they had worked .

I/you/he/she/it/we/they had not( hadn’t ) worked.

Had I/you/he/she/it/we/they worked?


had = ‘d             had not = hadn’t

Some verbs are ‘ regular’ , other verbs are ‘irregular’ :

  • The past participle of regular verbs has an –ed ending ( example: clean –cleaned , play–played )

When we add -ed to verbs , there are sometimes changes in spelling ( example : stop–stopped) .

  • Irregular verbs have different past participle forms ( eg. know —knew , sit--sat )

When do we use past perfect simple?

1. When we are talking about the past , sometimes when we refer back to an earlier past .

EARLIER PAST ————————————-   PAST                                                                        (Past Perfect) 

2. We use the past perfect ( eg. she had left ) to talk about something which had happend before the past time we are thinking about ( when I called ).

EXAMPLES . We arrieved at the party at 9:00 , but the show had started at 8:00 .

I couldn’t understand why Simon hadn’t received the books .

I saw Alice a few days ago. She had returned from holiday . She looked well.

  • The Past Perfect is used with ‘as soon as’ , ‘after’ , ‘when’ and ‘by the time’ .

Example . When I arrived at the office , the meeting had started .                                                       ( The meeting started before I got to the office. I was late.)

  • The past perfect is also used with adverbs like ‘just’ , ‘already’, ‘never’ .

Example . I was nervous because I had never spoken in public .

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We form the present perfect contiuous with have/has been + ….ing .

 I have been working  I haven’t been working  Have I been working?
He/she/it has been


He /she/it hasn’t been working  Has he been working?
 You/we/they have been working   You/we/they haven’t been working  Have they been working?


have=’ve                       have not=haven’t

has=’s                            has not= hasn’t


Sentences with present perfect contiuous connect the present and the past .

  1. We usually use the present perfect continuous to talk about something that started in the past and has been in progress up to the present .

We can say how long with since and for .

We use since when we give the beginning of the time ( for example since Tuesday) .

EXAMPLE . It’s been snowing since Tuesday .

We use for when we give the length of time.

EXAMPLE . It’s been snowing for three days .

2. We use present perfect continuous when an action has been in progress up to the recent past , especially when the action has results in the present .

EXAMPLE . It has been snowing .( Explanation . It isn’t snowing now , but there is snow on the ground .)


  1. We use present perfect mostly for the presentfinished actions but the results are shown in                                                                                                               Example  . I‘ve witten to John , so he knows everything .

We also use the present perfect to say how much or how often.

Example . I’ve traveled to nine countries this year .

2. We use the present perfect continuous ( progressive) mostly for unfinished actions continuing up to now . We mostly use it to say how long .

Example . The children have been playing all day .

The present perfect progressive can also be used for longer , more permanent situations . However , we often prefer a simple present perfect, especially when we are talking about unchanging states rather than actions.

Example . He’s been standing here for hours . – Present perfect progressive

The castle has stood on this hill for 900 years . – Present perfect simple


VERB TENSES-Present Continuous vs Present Simple

We use Present Simple to talk about

  • something is true in general
  • something happens all the time or repeatedly


I am  ( I’m) reading

he/she/it is doing

we/you/they are working

A. Moment of speaking . We use present continuous to talk about an activity taking      place at the moment of speaking :                                                                                              Example: Please don’t disturb me. I’m trying to work.

B. Current activities . We use present continuous to talk about actions or activities        that are taking place over a period of time( even if they are not taking place                  precisely at the moment of speaking) .

Example : I am reading a very interesting book at the moment. It’s an adventure                            book.                                                                                                                                                 Explanation I am not reading the book at the moment of speaking ; I have started it but I haven’t finished it . I am in the middle of reading it.

C. Temporary situations . We also use present continuous to indicate that an action        or activity is temporary rather than permanent .

Example : Mrs. Parker organizes our parties.                                                                                           ( Here we use Present Simple because this is generally true)

Mrs. Parker is away on vacation , so I am organizing them.

(Here the Present Continuous is used because this is true only for a                                  limited time.)


Present continuous (1).png




We use Present Simple to talk about things in general . We use it to say that

  • something happenns all the time or reapeatedly ,
  • something is true in general


I usually sleep late at weekends.

The shop opens at 7.30 in the morning .


I work                                                                He works

We work                                                            She works

You work                                                           It works

They work




Teady bear reading


We form the present perfect simple with have/has + past participle .

AFFIRMATIVE                                                               NEGATIVE

I have worked.                                                               I have’t worked.   

You/we/they have worked                                          You/we/they haven’t worked 

She/he/it has worked                                                    She/he/it hasn’t worked



Have I worked?

Have you/we/they worked?

Has he/she/it worked?


have= ‘ve                   have not = haven’t

has=’s                         has not = hasn’t

When we form present perfect , some verbs are ‘ regular’ and other verbs are   ‘irregular’ .

  • The past participle of regular verbs ends in -ed ( work – worked , live – lived)
  • Irregular verbs have different past participle forms ( eg. come–came , be–been)

When do we use present perfect?

a. We use the present perfect to talk about something that started in the past and continues up to the present :

I was here at 10:00                            I am still here now

               PAST   ———————————————–PRESENT

EXAMPLE . She has worked in Spain for ten months.( She still works in Spain now .)

How long have you lived here ? ( You still live here now.)

Alice and John have been married for 20 years .( They are still married now.)

b. We also use the present perfect for things which have happend during a period of time that continues up to the present. ( usually used with ‘indefinite’ time words such as : ever , never , yet and before .

EXAMPLE . I’ve been to Africa and India .(=in my life , up to now)

Have you ever eaten Chinese food ?(=in your life , up to now )

What’s the best play you’ve ever seen ?

I’ve never seen a penguin alive .

She has been here before .

c. We often use present perfect with just , yet and already .

EXAMPLE . Tom has just arrived .

He has already finished the homeworks.

We haven’t finished the lessons yet.


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