# Past perfect continuous for a non continuous action

http://www.eltbase.com/get_quiz.php?id=22

Level 3 - Narrative tenses quiz : a creepy story

So who...or what...______________ around upstairs?

The options are: 1) had walked 2) walked 3) had been walking 4) was walking

The answer is had been walking but not had walked why? It was not a continuous activity is it to show the surprise and the fear they have now because it was not Sarah's mother who walked .

• may be the continuous means only recently – user5577 May 25 '17 at 6:20
• I guess this never got answered satisfactorily because the question is so unclear unless someone actually takes the test. You need the context of the other questions in it. – SamBC Feb 5 '19 at 23:21

Okay, I took up the quiz and got all correct! The answer is in the title! Filling blanks will make a story.

Now, the story is in past and therefore, the event you are talking about will take the past perfect continuous form.

Why?

Well, check the question number 6 that says, "someone walking." It is a present continuous. After a little while, it becomes past but you should keep the act of 'walking' intact. Said that, was walking and had been walking are the two options to choose from. But if you think a bit more, you'd choose something that talks about the 'distant past' which means 'had been' over 'was'.

• yes what surprises me is the continuous aspect At the time of speaking the hearing had been finished, it only lasted a very few time so we can use continuous ? does it mean who had been walking until Sarah's mother arrived , in that case I understand the use of the continous form – user5577 May 25 '17 at 9:01
• Yes, what they heard was 'walking', the continuous event. Walked/had walked is thus out of choice. 'Was' won't fit there as it does not talk about a distant past in this context. @user5577 – Maulik V May 25 '17 at 13:11

I got 9 out of 10. In number 3 I chose "invited" which is also a correct answer. Anyway about your question, "had been walking" is correct because it's connected to number 6 which"someone is walking".

• Please, all of you, recognise that the suggested interpretations simply are not justified; neither by particular circumstances nor by general rules of grammar. The point here is that the details on which the OQ relied, make no sense. If you doubt that please, explain in detail how you see the problem… – Robbie Goodwin May 10 '18 at 21:00

Uh… Had been walking is fine and did you notice, none of the other options is wrong?