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PERFECT CONDITIONAL, CONTINUOUS

1. Perfect conditional, continuous – Form
This tense is composed of two elements: the perfect condtional of the verb ‘to be’ (would have been) + the present participle (base+ing).

Subject would have been base+ing
I
We
would have been
would have been
sitting
swimming
Affirmative    
I would have been studying.
Negative    
You wouldn’t have been living.
Interrogative    
Would we have been travelling?
Interrogative negative
Wouldn’t it have been working?

Examples: to work, Past continuous conditional

Affirmative Negative
I would have been working I wouldn’t have been working
You would have been working You wouldn’t have been working.
He would have been working She wouldn’t have been working
We would have been working We wouldn’t have been working
You would have been working You wouldn’t have been working
They would have been working They wouldn’t have been working
Interrogative Interrogative negative
Would I have been working? Wouldn’t I have been working?
Would you have been working? Wouldn’t you have been working?
Would he have been working? Wouldn’t she have been working?
Would we have been working? Wouldn’t we have been working?
Would you have been working? Wouldn’t you have been working?
Would they have been working? Wouldn’t they have been working?

2. Function
This tense can be used in Type 3 conditional sentences. It refers to the unfulfilled result of the action in the if-clause, and expresses this result as an unfinished or continuous action. Again, there is always an unspoken “but..” phrase:

  • If the weather had been better (but it wasn’t), I’d have been sitting in the garden when he arrived (but I wasn’t and so I didn’t see him).
  • If she hadn’t got a job in London (but she did), she would have been working in Paris (but she wasn’t).

Examples:

  • If I’d had a ball I would have been playing football.
  • If I’d had any money I’d have been drinking with my friends in the pub that night.
  • If I had known it was dangerous I wouldn’t have been climbing that cliff.
  • She wouldn’t have been wearing a seat-belt if her father hadn’t told her to.

June 13, 2008 - Posted by | Learn English - Tenses

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