What is Their Main Difference?
Uses and Comparison
1. Past Actions
While both tenses tend to talk about past actions, there is a tiny detail you need to consider. When we want to talk about ongoing activities in the past, we use past continuous tense. Now to talk about longer actions in the past before another action in the past we use past perfect continuous.
Here, we are talking about an action that was in process in the past.
Here, we are referring to an action that happened in the past while another took place.
2. Frequent Actions
When we want to talk about something that happened several times before a point in the past and continued after that point, we use past perfect continuous. When we want to talk about an action that happened frequently in the past, we use past continuous with adverbs or adverb phrases to indicate the repetition of actions.
Here, we are referring to a past action that used to be a routine.
Here, we are indicating the duration of an ongoing action in the past.
When we want to narrate a past action or tell a story in the past tense, we tend to start with past continuous to give a general background.
Here, we are giving a background knowledge before moving on with the story.
had been going to her grandmother when the wolf saw her.
Here, we do not have a typical story telling pattern.
4. Reported Speech
When we want to report someone's speech, we use reported speech. We use the past perfect continuous instead of the present perfect continuous.
Harry said, "I have been reading all day." = Harry said he
Here, we have a reported speech in which present perfect continuous tense has been replaced by past perfect continuous tense.
They said, "We were helping the others." = They said they
Here, we have a reported speech in which past continuous tense has been replaced by past perfect continuous.
Now that we have talked about uses and compared the two tenses, we will talk about structure:
1. Past Continuous
When we want to create past continuous tense, we following pattern:
2. Past Perfect Continuous Tense
In order to create past perfect continuous, we use the past simple of 'have,' the past participle form of 'be,' followed by the present participle form of the main verb. Look at the following pattern for better understanding: subject + had + been + verb + -ing
Now, pay attention to the table below:
|Past Form of Have||Past Participle of be||Present Participle of the verb|
You might also like
Past Simple vs. Present Perfect
There are similarities and differences between past simple and present perfect, which might cause confusion.
Past Perfect vs. Past Perfect Continuous
There are similarities and differences between past perfect and past perfect continuous, which might cause confusion.
Past Perfect vs. Past Participle
There are similarities and differences between past perfect and past participle, which might cause confusion.
Future Simple vs. Future Continuous
There are similarities and differences between future simple and future continuous, which might cause confusion.
Future Simple vs. Future Perfect
There are similarities and differences between future simple and future perfect, which might cause confusion.