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The paradigm of the verb in the past perfect continuous

Affirmative Interrogative  
I He (she, it) We You They   had been speaking   Had   I he (she, it) we you they   been speaking?
I He (she, it) We You They     had not (hadn’t) been speaking  


Negative –interrogative

a)     Had   I he (she, it) we you they   not been speaking? b)     Hadn’t   I he (she, it) we you they   been speaking?

The past perfect continuous denotes an action which began before a given moment in the past, continued for a certain period of time up to that moment and possibly still continued at that past moment.

The moment of time in the past before which the action begins is usually indicated by other past actions in the past indefinite or, rather rarely, by the past continuous. Sometimes it is indicated directly by adverbials (by that time, by the 1st of August, etc.).


The past perfect continuous is used with actional verbs to denote:


1. Actions in progress that began before a certain moment of time in the past and continued up to that moment, but not into it. As a rule no indications of time are present: the exact time of the beginning of the action is more or less clear from the situation, while the end, closely precedes the given moment of past time (the exclusive past perfect continuous).


Dick, who had been reading aloud Pit’s letter, suddenly stopped.

I had been feeling very tired, but now I grew alert.

They had been walking rapidly and now they were approaching the spot.

Her eyes were red. I saw she had been crying.


2. Actions in progress that began before a certain moment of time in the past and continued into it. In this case either the starting point of the action or its duration is indicated (the inclusive past perfect continuous).


Ever since his return he had been losing strength and flesh.

She had been acting for a long time without a rest and she badly needed one.

Even now he could not stop, though he had been running all the way from the village.


The past perfect continuous is usually rendered in Russian by the past tense, imperfective.


Future tenses


§ 42. All the future tenses (the future indefinite (the simple future), the future continuous, the future perfect, the future perfect continuous) refer the actions they denote to the future. The difference between them is due to their different relation to the categories of aspect and perfect.

Their specific time reference limits their use in comparison with the present and the past tenses.

Among the future tenses the future indefinite is the most frequently used, while the use of the future continuous and the future perfect is rather limited, because the situations to which they are applicable seldom arise. As to the future perfect continuous, it is hardly ever used.


The future indefinite

§ 43. Formation. The future indefinite is formed analytically by means of the auxiliary verb shall for the first person singular or plural and willfor the second and third person singular or plural and the infinitive of the notional verb without the particle to.

The modern tendency is to use willfor all the persons*.

* In modern spoken English no person distinctions are found in future tenses. The only marker for any future tense is ‘ll used for all persons singular and plural (I’ll speak, He’ll speak). Historically ‘ll is the contracted form of will.


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