Past perfect simple and continuous
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Past perfect simple vs. continuous PDF exercises
Free PDF worksheets to download.
Past perfect simple + continuous:
Past perfect simple + continuous PDF exercise 1
- Complete sentences with verbs in brackets:
I had to have a break. I ___ so long. (drive)
Before we parked our car we __ the ticket. (collect)
Past perfect simple + continuous PDFexercise 2
- Use the words in brackets to answer questions:
A: When did they finish the house?
B: ___ . (after - build it for a year)
Past perfect simple + continuous PDF exercise 3
- Rewrite sentences and keep the same meaning:
After finishing his drink he got up.
After he ___ his drink he got up.
Past perfect simple + continuous PDF exercise 4
- Choose correct expressions and write answers:
(try to get Jill on the phone, go to a wrong departure lounge, forget the map)
Why did you miss the plane?
Because ___ .
Past perfect simple + continuous PDF exercise 5
- Find mistakes and correct them:
Before that I had never been seeing a ghost.
Before that I ___ .
Online exercises with answers:
Past perfect simple and continuous exercises Online practice to learn the difference.
Grammar rules PDF:
Past perfect simple + continuous PDF rules Grammar rules with examples.
English tenses PDF Grammar rules on all English tenses.
English grammar PDF All PDF rules on e-grammar.org.
Past perfect simple vs. past perfect continuous
We use the past perfect to talk about activities that ended (the simple form) or were in progress (the continuous form) before a point in time in the past.
These tenses are used in the following way.
1. For activities that can continue for a long time (work, run, study, travel, sleep) we can use both the past perfect simple and continuous. There is practically no difference in meaning, but the continuous is more usual in English.
Stephen was pretty tired. He had worked all day.
Stephen was pretty tired. He had been working all day.
2. In other cases these two forms have a completely different meaning. The past perfect simple refers to actions that were completed while the past perfect continuous describes activities that were not completed before a point in time in the past.
Past perfect simple:
Before midnight Paul had translated the article.
(He finished his work.)
Past perfect continuous:
Before midnight Paul had been translating the article.
(He did not finish it. He was still translating at that moment.)
3. If we refer to a number of individual events or events that were repeated, we must use the simple form.
Before the lesson ended they had written three tests.
(We talk about three individual completed activities.)
4. If we describe one uninterrupted continuous activity we use the continuous form.
It was exhausting. They had been writing tests since the lessons started.
(We talk about one uninterrupted incomplete activity.)
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