Grammar Time: Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous

Let’s revise the Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous Tenses.

Exam in Mind Level B1/B2

Past Perfect is used to describe:

  • past action completed before another past event or before a certain moment in the past: She had already typed all the letters before her boss arrived. 
  • completed past action in the subordinate clause with superlative constructions, ordinal numerals or ‘the only’ in the principal clause when the action refers to the past: He was the worst pilot I had ever flown with.
  • with the verbs hope, intend, plan, expect to describe past intentions which were unfulfilled: I had intended to make a cake, but I ran out of flour.

Time expressions: by the time, before, after, till/until,  already, just, yet, never, for, etc.

Past Perfect Continuous is used to describe:

  • duration of a past action occurring before another past action: She had been cooking all day long when Tom came home with fish and chips.
  • action producing visible result in the past: She was covered in paint because she had been painting her room.

Time expressions: for, over, since, how long, etc.

Have practice using in using past tenses.

Task 1. Choose the right variant. Use Past Simple, Past Continuous, Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous

1.The restaurant was packed last night. Luckily, we _____ a table in advance.

a. was booking
b. had booked
c. had been booking
d. booked

2. There was a power cut last night. What _____ when the lights went out?

a. was you doing
b. did you do
c. had you been doing
d. were you doing

3. Tom _____ the piano for years before he became famous.

a. was practicing
b. had been practicing
c. practiced
d. has been practicing

4. They _____ a house for six months before they found one they liked.

a. were looking for
b. had been looking
c. have been looking
d. had looked

5. No sooner _____ into the house than the telephone rang.

a. he went
b. he had gone
c. had he gone
d. did he go

6. Ann _____ the table, but Jane was still cooking dinner.

a. had lain
b. had laid
c. had been lying
d. was laying

7. When I found my wallet, I discovered that someone _____ my driving license out of it.

a. has taken
b. took
c. was taking
d. had taken

8. Mary _____ her old coat for years so she decided to buy a new one.

a. was wearing
b. had worn
c. has been wearing
d. had been wearing

9. I soon _____ that he was the worst pilot I _____ with.

a. realized, have ever flown
b. had realized, had ever flown
c. realized, had ever flown
d. realize, has ever flown

10. Why are you so disappointed? – Because I _____ that I would pass the test, but I didn’t.

a. hoped
b. had hoped
c. was hoping
d. has hoped

11. How did you tear your dress? – I _____ on it as I _____ out of the car.

a. stepped, was getting
b. was stepping, got
c. had stepped, got
d. stepped, got

12. She said she _____ Pedro twice while she _____ in Madrid.

a. had met, had been staying
b. met, stayed
c. met, has been staying
d. had met, was staying

13. I felt dizzy because I _____ in the sun for too long.

a. have been laying
b. was lying
c. had been lying
d. had been laying

14. I was wet because as I _____ back from the shop it started to rain.

a. had been going
b. had gone
c. have been going
d. was going

15. We waited until the sun _____ down before we _____ of on a trip.

a. would go, set
b. had gone, had set
c. went, set
d. had gone, set

Task 2. Choose the correct tense form using the Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous and the Past Simple Tense.

  1. By the time we (arrive)_______________, the party (finish)_______________.
  2. They (lock)_______________ the gates before I (get)_______________ there.
  3. I (ring)_______________ the shop quickly as soon as I (check)_______________ the contents of the box.
  4. After we (discuss)_______________ it on the phone, I (write)_______________ him a letter about it.
  5. We (have)_______________ a good rest, when all the guests (leave)_______________.
  6. I (know)_______________ I (see)_______________ her before somewhere.
  7. When she (ring)_______________ the office this morning, Jim already (go out)_______________.
  8. Before we (take)_______________ him to the theatre, he never (see)_______________ a stage before.
  9. When I (get)_______________ home, I (find)________________ that Jill (paint)_______________ her room.
  10. I (be)_______________ sorry that I (not/be)_______________ nicer to him.
  11. Nobody (come)_______________ to the meeting because Mary (forget)_____________ to tell people about it.
  12. We (sleep)_______________ for 12 hours when he (wake)_______________ us up.
  13. Because he (not/check)_______________ the oil for so long, the car (break)_______________ down.
  14. All the people we (invite)______________ came to the party, and some that we (not/invite)_______________.
  15. They never (find)_______________ where he (hide)_______________ the money.
  16. I (tell)_______________ him to drive more slowly, but he (choose)_______________ to ignore my advice.
  17. When she (come)_______________ in, we all (know)_______________ where she (be)_______________.
  18. The lesson already (start)_______________ when I (arrive)_______________.
  19. After I (finish)_______________ the report, I (realize)_______________ that it (be)_______________ too late to post it.
  20. By the time we (get)_______________ to the stadium the match (start)_______________.
  21. I (think)_______________ about that before you (mention)_______________ it.
  22. The students just (open)_______________ the books when the alarm (go)_______________ off.
  23. He (take)_______________ me to the kitchen and (ask)_______________ if I (have)_______________ breakfast.
  24. He (shout)_______________ so loudly that he (have)_______________ a sore throat.
  25. The party (be)_______________ a great success because we (prepare)_______________ for it all week.
  26. We (look for)______________ her ring for two hours and then we (find)_______________ it in the bathroom.
  27. Nick (show)_______________ the teacher the picture which he (draw)____________________.
  28. Susan (think)_______________ about the idea for a while before she (make)_______________ the suggestion.
  29. She (feel)_______________ much safer after she (lock)_______________ all the doors.
  30. She (save)_______________ for a long time before she (buy)_______________ her ticket to Australia.
  31. I (clean)_______________ the carpet when the dog (come)_______________ in and (shake) himself.
  32. We (make)_______________ chicken soup so we (offer)_______________ her some when she (come)_______________ in.
  33. Doors (swing)________________ open and then (shut)_______________ when the hospital porters (push)_______________ a patient down the corridor.
  34. We (live)_______________ in Sydney for ten years when the company Jack (work)_______________ for (offer)________________ him a position at the London office.
  35. When I (get)_______________ home, I (find)________________ that someone (break)_______________ into my flat and (steal)_______________ my fur coat.

Task 3. Use Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous. Choose the correct tense.

  1. I had to have a break. I _______ (drive) so long.
  2. Before we parked our car we _______ (collect) the ticket.
  3. I arrived on Sunday. I _______ (be) at home for two days.
  4. The roads were blocked in the morning. It _______ (snow) all night.
  5. They got to the beach after they _______ (walk) for hours.
  6. She called the police when she _______ (see) the light in the hall.
  7. Her English was perfect. She _______ (study) it since she started school.
  8. I was really hungry. I _______ (not eat) anything since morning.
  9. She didn’t go to work. She _______ (catch) a cold.
  10. When we moved to Park Street, the Johnsons ______ (live) there for ages.
  11. We _______ (sign) the contract before the meeting ended.
  12. Mike was so sweaty because he _______ (jog).

Use Past Perfect and Past Perfect Continuous in the sentences of your own.