The past perfect progressive, also called the pluperfect progressive is a compound verb form. It requires three verbs: the simple past of the auxiliary verb HAVE (had), the past participle of the verb BE (been), and a present participle (verb+ing). Before you continue, review these lessons: Verb HAVE | Present participle | Past perfect
The past perfect progressive is used to talk about on ongoing action that was occurring in the past before another event occurred in the past.
I had been sleeping deeply when the thunder awoke me.
Here is a diagram to help make this more clear.
Note that there are three events on the timeline:
- I was sleeping.
- I awoke.
- Now, I am telling you what happened.
Here is another example:
Two days ago the streets were slippery because it had been raining all night.
Again, there are three events on the timeline:
- It rained all night.
- The roads were slippery the next day.
- Now, two days later, I am telling you about this.
Warning! Some native English speakers might use the past progressive in the second clause instead of the past perfect progressive; however, this is incorrect.
|Two days ago the streets were slippery because it had been raining all night.||Two days ago the streets were slippery because it was raining all night.|