Spanish Conditional Perfect – Conjugation and Use of this Tense

Spanish Conditional Perfect, Title of the Grammar Lesson

The Spanish Conditional Perfect Tense (“Condicional Perfecto”) is a verb tense in Spanish. It is used to talk about something that would have happened, if only a condition had been fulfilled (but it wasn’t).

For example, we can express regret with it: That girl years ago, who would have kissed us if we had been nicer to her 🙂 That Spanish test we would have passed if only we had studied hard instead of playing video games until 4 AM…

In this post we will learn how to conjugate verbs in Spanish Conditional Perfect, and also how to use it in sentences. We will go through the following points:

1. Conjugation of verbs in Spanish Conditional Perfect – Forms

The formula to construct the Conditional Perfect consists of 2 words:

  • The first word is the verb “haber” conjugated in Conditional tense: “habría, habrías, habría, habríamos, habríais, habrían”
  • The second word is the Past Participle of the main verb. It is the same for all persons.

Remember… The Past Participle of a verb is usually formed with the ending “-ADO” for verbs whose infinitive ends in “-AR”, and “-IDO” for verbs ending in “-ER, -IR”). But there are also some Irregular Past Participles. Click here to learn more about the Past Participle and its Irregularities.

Examples of verbs conjugated in Conditional Perfect

With our formula in mind, here are some examples of verbs fully conjugated in Conditional Perfect. These particular verbs have a Regular Past Participle:

yohabría jugadohabría bebidohabría sentido
habrías jugadohabrías bebidohabrías sentido
élhabría jugadohabría bebidohabría sentido
nosotroshabríamos jugadohabríamos bebidohabríamos sentido
vosotroshabríais jugadohabríais bebidohabríais sentido
elloshabrían jugadohabrían bebidohabrían sentido

And here are a couple more verbs conjugated in Conditional Perfect. In this case, they have an Irregular Past Participle:

yohabría hechohabría visto
habrías hechohabrías visto
élhabría hechohabría visto
nosotroshabríamos hechohabríamos visto
vosotroshabríais hechohabríais visto
elloshabrían hechohabrían visto

2. Uses of the Spanish Conditional Perfect

We use Conditional Perfect to talk about what WOULD HAVE HAPPENED, if only a condition had been fulfilled (but it wasn’t).

Almost always, the part about the unfulfilled condition is introduced but the word “si” (English “if”)

Read the following example sentences. The unfulfilled condition is highlighted in green, and the verb in Conditional Perfect in black:

¿Qué habrías hecho si te lo hubiera contado?
What would you have done, if I had told you?

Si me lo hubieras contado, habría actuado de otra forma.
If you had told me, I would have acted differently.

Si hubiéramos hecho las tareas, habríamos impresionado a nuestro profesor.
If we had done the homework, we would have impressed our teacher.

Marta habría organizado la fiesta si hubiera tenido tiempo.
Marta would have organized the party if she had had time.

¿Habríais comprado el juego si hubiera sido más barato.
Would you have bought the game if it had been cheaper?

Si los jugadores hubieran entrenado más duro, habrían ganado el partido.
If the players had trained harder, they would have won the match.

Notice this!

The Conditional Perfect is only used for the part of the sentence which expresses what WOULD HAVE HAPPENED, not for the part that expresses the unfulfilled condition.

For the unfulfilled condition itself (the green part in the sentences above), we use another tense called Past Perfect Subjunctive.

Read the sentences above once again, and notice that the Conditional Perfect tense is used only for the part about what would have happened, and not for the condition.

All examples we have given above have a similar structure. In all of them, we have expressed the unfulfilled condition introduced by “si…”.

But it is also possible to use the Conditional Perfect without using that exact structure, as long as you are expressing what would have happened in some circumstance.

Here are some examples:

¿Qué habrías hecho en mi lugar?
What would you have done in my place?

En tu lugar, habría bailado con la chica.
In your place, I would have danced with the girl

Yo también habría bailado con ella, pero su novio llegó.
I would have danced with her too, but her boyfriend arrived.

¿Habríais venido a mi cumpleaños?
Would you guys have come to my birthday?

3. Practice: A Quiz

Take this short Quiz to test your knowledge about the Spanish Conditional Perfect!:

4. Practice: An Exercise

A man thinks about what he and other people would have done differently, if only they had been smarter. Fill the gaps in your mind or on a piece of paper using the Conditional Perfect. Then check the solutions at the end of this post.

“Si todos nosotros hubiéramos sido un poco más inteligentes…
Yo no _____ 1.(comprar) aquel coche de segunda mano que se rompió poco después.
Mis amigos Carlos y Ángel _____ 2.(llevar) ropa de abrigo en su viaje a Rusia.
Mis hijos y yo no _____ 3.(ver) esa lamentable peli de superhéroes en el cine. _____ 4.(elegir, nosotros) otra.
Hay muchas cosas que yo no _____ 5.(decir) en momentos de tensión o nerviosismo.
Mi mujer _____ 6.(casarse) con otro… ¡Es broma!” 🙂

Solutions to the Exercise: 1 = habría comprado, 2 = habrían llevado, 3 = habríamos visto, 4 = habríamos elegido, 5 = habría dicho, 6 = se habría casado