More verb constructions

This page contains less common verb constructions, followed by examples and links to quizzes on the topic.

Present perfect continuous

Note that continuous tenses convey the idea of an event or state going on for a period of time in the past, present or future.

  • I have been working in the garden all day, and now I'm extremely tired.
  • She has been living in a one-room apartment since she left home.
  • How long have you been playing the piano?
  • He's been learning German for two years, but he still can't speak it very well.
  • We've been painting our house since last Friday, but we're still a long way from finishing.
  • [Passive] The auditorium has been being redecorated since December last year.*
  • We haven't been living in Germany very long.
  • Why are you sweating? Have you been running?

* The passive form of the present perfect continuous is rare.

Do a quiz on this grammar topic.

Past perfect continuous

  • I had been working in the garden all day, and all I wanted to do was sleep.
  • She had been living in a one-room apartment for a year before getting married.
  • How long had you been playing the piano before the accident with your hand?
  • He'd been learning German for two years, but he stopped when he returned to Japan.
  • We'd been painting our house for two weeks, but we were still a long way from finishing.
  • [Passive] The road had been being constructed for three years when they decided it wasn't needed.*

* The passive form of the past perfect continuous is very rare.

Future perfect

  • I hope my mother will have finished cooking dinner by the time I get home.
  • You can come at 6 o'clock. I will have done my homework by then.
  • There's no point calling her at home. She will have left for work already.
  • On June 25 2020 they will have been married for 60 years.
  • [Passive] If you arrive late, all the food will have been eaten.

Future continuous

  • At this time next week I will be sitting in the plane on the way to New York.
  • Don't call me after 10 o'clock. I'll be sleeping.
  • If you want to see Miho tomorrow, you will have to go to the school. She will be taking a test all afternoon.
  • I won't be working on my car this weekend. My mother-in-law will be here.
  • [Passive] There's not point in going to the cafeteria. The food will still be being cooked.

Future perfect continuous

  • By the time I retire I will have been working here for 45 years!
  • If she reaches her 60th birthday, she will have been smoking for half a century!
  • He will have been practising the piano every day for 5 years by the time he is ready for the audition.

Other constructions

There are more verb constructions than those listed above and on the other pages of this part of the site. They are based on various combinations of verb tense, aspect and mood in both the active and passive voices, including the modal verbs.

Such constructions can be very complex and as such are very rare:

  • If you hadn't told me to bring a net, I would have been being bitten all night by mosquitos.

Wikipedia has a good page listing and exemplifying uses of English verb forms.

More resources

There are several interactive quizzes on the less common verb constructions in the Verb grammar: Tenses drop-down menu on the Grammar index.

You will find them under the main tense headings. For example, quizzes on the future perfect can be found in the Future sub-menu.