Past Perfect Continuous Verb – lesson 11


What is the Past Perfect Continuous Verb?

This verb is a difficult verb to learn and this lesson is for more advanced students of English.  The verb is similar to the Present Perfect Continuous in talking about the past but this time it is not referring to ‘now’.  It refers to an action or event in the past which happened before and leading up to another point in the past but before now.  This event could be temporary or unfinished.

This verb uses: had been + ing (main verb plus ‘ing’).  Examples: I had been walking / we had been trying / I hadn’t been trying (negative) / had you been eating? (question).

Examples: we had been driving for five hours when we saw lights in the sky / I had been living with my father up to then / Jane’s mother found out that she had been (she’d been) avoiding training sessions at school / I failed the exam because I had been (I’d been) studying the wrong book.  All of these examples are about events which happened in the past before a further point in the past.  For example: I had been (I’d been) studying the wrong book and then I failed the exam.  Or, Jane had been avoiding training sessions and then her mother found out about it.  He said: “He hadn’t been eating there after that time.  there was a food scare which is being investigated by the health authorities”.

Contractions that you can use: had not: hadn’t / I had: I’d / they had: they’d / she had: she’d.




Lesson 11

Theme for the lesson: Global Goal 3 – Good Health and Well-being



Vocabulary for the lesson:

Prosperous…..this is when somebody is working towards a better future.  Mostly relates to finance (adjective)

Maternal………this word relates to mothers and their connection to children (adjective)

Mortality……..this is relates to how a person’s life span must come to an end at some stage of their life (noun)

Commitment…a definite purpose in doing something (noun)

Disease……… illness which can possibly be serious to a person’s health (noun)



Eating in the restaurant (see the story below)



Please read as much as possible of this story:


A few weeks ago I was in a restaurant and couldn’t help over hearing a group of people who were sat at a table which which was not very far away

One man said: “It seems that a lot of countries have not given enough commitment to healthcare needs.  An example is where there has been a lack of preparedness, organisation and funding with regard to the recent arrival of the Corona virus”.  The same man continued to speak: “The problem is that some governments didn’t take the virus seriously because they didn’t want to cause an unnecessary panic.  It was not long before it was established as a serious global health risk.  This is an example of why governments have to come to terms with the reality of investing in people’s health needs not only for the present time but more importantly for the future”.

Another person said:”I had been going to a restaurant a few miles away before somebody told me that there was a lack of cleanliness there.  On one occasion I hadn’t been eating for more than five minutes before horrible things happened.  I don’t go there any more.  I had been going there before the health authorities decided to close it down”.

A woman said: “Governments hadn’t been trying hard enough and had not done enough.  They have little choice but to invest in people’s health because it’s a fact that they can no longer afford the terrible consequences of a huge amount of people becoming ill or the consequences of people who are suffering because of avoidable illnesses.   Statistics prove that where there is a healthy population there is also a healthy economy”. 

Raymond Van Neste

February 2020


Final task:

If you are a beginner look again at basic verbs ending with ing  Examples: living / swimming / running / working.  Then with your friends see if you can create some simple sentences with: had been / hadn’t been If you are a more advanced student start to develop some longer sentences using had been or hadn’t been.  Look at the story above to get an example of how the verb is used in context. 


End of Lesson



Next lesson:

The next lesson (lesson 12) will be on Saturday 29th February 2020.  The lesson will be on the Future Perfect Continuous Verb and the theme will be about Global Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth


Useful links: 

Global Goal 3 – Good health and well-being: Why it matters

Global Goal 8 – Decent work and economic growth

Global Goal 8 – Decent work and economic grown: Why it matters

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