Spanish Past Perfect Subjunctive

Welcome to our grammar lesson about the Spanish Past Perfect Subjunctive, also called Pluperfect Subjunctive (“Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto del Subjuntivo”).

A couple of sentences with verbs in Spanish Past Perfect Subjunctive
A couple of sentences with verbs in Past Perfect Subjunctive (in green)

This lesson will teach you everything about the Past Perfect Subjunctive: how to conjugate verbs and how to use it, providing example sentences.

At the end, you’ll find a Quiz and Exercises for practice.

Conjugation of verbs in Past Perfect Subjunctive

The formula to construct the Past Perfect Subjunctive consists of 2 words:

  • The first word is the verb “haber” in Imperfect Subjunctive. Because there are two ways of conjugating “haber” in Imperfect Subjunctive, you can choose between these two sets of forms:
    – hubiera, hubieras, hubiera, hubiéramos, hubierais, hubieran
    – hubiese, hubieses, hubiese, hubiésemos, hubieseis, hubiesen
  • The second word is the Past Participle of the main verb. The Past Participle is the same for all persons.


As an example, here’s the conjugation of “cantar”, which has a regular Past Participle:

 Conjugation of "cantar" with "hubiera..."Conjugation of "cantar" with "hubiese..."
yohubiera cantadohubiese cantado
hubieras cantadohubieses cantado
élhubiera cantadohubiese cantado
nosotroshubiéramos cantadohubiésemos cantado
vosotroshubierais cantadohubieseis cantado
elloshubieran cantadohubiesen cantado


And here is the conjugation of “hacer”, which has an irregular Past Participle:

 Conjugation of "hacer" with "hubiera..."Conjugation of "hacer" with "hubiese..."
yohubiera hechohubiese hecho
hubieras hecho hubieses hecho
élhubiera hechohubiese hecho
nosotroshubiéramos hechohubiésemos hecho
vosotroshubierais hechohubieseis hecho
elloshubieran hechohubiesen hecho

Remember…

The Past Participle of regular verbs in -ar ends in -ado.
The Past Participle of regular verbs in -er and -ir ends in -ido.

But some verbs have an irregular Past Participle.

Click here to learn more about the Past Participle and its Irregularities.

Uses of the Past Perfect Subjunctive

In this part of the lesson we are going to learn the most common types of sentences where we use the Past Perfect Subjunctive.

Here are the most frequent types of sentences where we use the Past Perfect Subjunctive:

1) After “ojalá” or “ojalá que”, when they express a regret about something that can’t be fulfilled anymore:

Ojalá te hubiera conocido antes.
I wish I had met you before.


2) As the unfulfilled condition of something that could have happened, but didn’t.

The unfulfilled condition (introduced by “si…”) is expressed in Past Perfect Subjunctive, and what could have happened is either in Conditional or in Conditional Perfect:

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 hubiese tenido tiempo.
Marta would have organized the party if she had had time.


3) Expressing doubts, disbelief or speculation in the past about an action that is even further in the past. That action further in the past is the one we express in Past Perfect Subjunctive:

Yo dudaba que ellos hubiesen llamado a Antonio.
I doubted that they had called Antonio.

Ana no podía creer que su novio hubiera comprado un coche tan caro.
Ana couldn’t believe that her boyfriend had bought such an expensive car.

4) After “como si…”, which means “as if… like if…”, referring to something in the past:

Estoy lleno, me siento como si hubiera comido una vaca entera.
I’m full, I feel like if I had eaten a whole cow.

Practice

Quiz

Take this Quiz about the Past Perfect Subjunctive!:


Exercise 1

We will begin our practice by conjugating verbs.

Conjugate the following verbs in Past Perfect Subjunctive for the given person:

yo ___ 1.(trabajar)
tú ___ 2.(comprender)
él ___ 3.(pensar)
nosotros ___ 4.(sentir)
vosotros ___ 5.(repetir)
ellos ___ 6.(contar)
yo ___ 7.(dormir)
tú ___ 8.(hacer)
él ___ 9.(romper)
nosotros ___ 10.(ver)
vosotros ___ 11.(volver)
ellos ___ 12.(descubrir)

Solutions:
1) hubiera trabajado / hubiese trabajado
2) hubieras comprendido / hubieses comprendido
3) hubiera pensado / hubiese pensado
4) hubiéramos sentido / hubiésemos sentido
5) hubierais repetido / hubieseis repetido
6) hubieran contado / hubiesen contado
7) hubiera dormido / hubiese dormido
8) hubieras hecho / hubieses hecho
9) hubiera roto / hubiese roto
10) hubiéramos visto / hubiésemos visto
11) hubierais vuelto / hubieseis vuelto
12) hubieran descubierto / hubiesen descubierto


Exercise 2

Now we are going to practice with sentences.

Fill the gaps using the Past Perfect Subjunctive of the verbs in brackets:

1) Ojalá yo ___ (ser) más amable con ellos.
I wish I had been nicer to them.

2) Si tú ___ (comprar) un móvil, ahora podrías llamarme.
If you had bought a cellphone, now you could call me.

3) Yo nunca creí que vosotros ___ (robar) el coche.
I never believed that you guys would have stolen the car.

4) Ellos hablan español como si ___ (crecer) en España.
They speak Spanish as if they had grown up in Spain.

Solutions:
1) hubiera sido / hubiese sido
2) hubieras comprado / hubieses comprado
3) hubierais robado / hubieseis robado
4) hubieran crecido / hubiesen crecido