Conjugation & verb forms of the past conditional continuous

(Formation of the progressive aspect of the conditional perfect mood in English)

Table of contents – past conditional progressive

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Formation of the past conditional continuous
  2. Verb forms of the past conditional continuous
  3. Further explanations and exercises

Formation of the past conditional continuous

The past conditional continuous consists of the three auxiliary verbs ‘would’ + ‘have’ + ‘been’ and the progressive form (ing-form / present participle) of the corresponding main verb. It frequently occurs as part of the third conditional sentence (if-clause type 3). Compare these example sentences and the following table illustrating the verb forms:

  • Examples of the past conditional continuous in third conditional sentences:
    • “If she hadn’t wanted to do all by herself, her brother would have been helping her with her homework.”
    • “They would have been lying on the beach if they hadn’t cancelled their holiday.”

Verb forms of the past conditional continuous

Example verb: ‘to eat

Positive/affirmative sentences

Person/pronoun Positive Short form Interrogative form Short form of question
I You would have been eating. You would’ve been eating.
or
You’d have been eating.
Would you have been eating?
you (singular)
he/she/it
we/you/they

Negative sentences

Person/pronoun Negative Short form Interrogative form Short form of question
I I would not have been eating. I wouldn’t have been eating.
or
I’d not have been eating.*
Would I not have been eating? Wouldn’t I have been eating?
you (singular)
he/she/it
we/you/they

* This form is not as common as the other one.

Further explanations relating to the ‘Formation of the past conditional progressive’

The following explanations relate to the topic ‘Conjugation & verb forms of the past conditional progressive/continuous’ and might also be interesting: