Spanish Past Perfect Subjunctive – Conjugation and Uses

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

The Past Perfect Subjunctive is one of the last tenses taught in Spanish courses. Its conjugation is actually easy (all perfect tenses are easy), but as it always happens with the Subjunctive Mood, we need to know the exact types of sentences where we use it.

In this lesson, we will learn both the conjugation or verbs in Spanish Past Perfect Subjunctive, and the cases where its use is appropriate.

We will go through the following points:

1. Conjugation of verbs in Spanish Past Perfect Subjunctive

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

  • The first word is the verb “haber” conjugated in Imperfect Subjunctive for the specific person. Because there are two ways of conjugating “haber” in Imperfect Subjunctive, you can choose between these two sets of forms: Either “hubiera, hubieras, hubiera, hubiéramos, hubierais, hubieran”, or “hubiese, hubieses, hubiese, hubiésemos, hubieseis, hubiesen”.
  • The second word is the Past Participle of the main verb. It’s 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 Past Perfect Subjunctive

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

yohubiera jugadohubiera bebidohubiera sentido
hubieras jugadohubieras bebidohubieras sentido
élhubiera jugadohubiera bebidohubiera sentido
nosotroshubiéramos jugadohubiéramos bebidohubiéramos sentido
vosotroshubierais jugadohubierais bebidohubierais sentido
elloshubieran jugadohubieran bebidohubieran sentido

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

yohubiera hechohubiera visto
hubieras hechohubieras visto
élhubiera hechohubiera visto
nosotroshubiéramos hechohubiéramos visto
vosotroshubierais hechohubierais visto
elloshubieran hechohubieran visto

2. Uses of the Past Perfect Subjunctive

In general, the Subjunctive mode is used in sentences that express some kind of subjectivity. The problem is, it is only in certain types of sentences that we use the Past Perfect Subjunctive, and because of that it is better to learn each individual case.

Most frequent cases

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. The unfulfilled condition (introduced by “si…”) is expressed in Past Perfect Subjunctive, and what could have happened is expressed 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 hubiera tenido tiempo.
Marta would have organized the party if she had had time.

3) Expressing past doubt, disbelief speculation about an action that is even further in the past:

Yo dudaba que tú hubieras llamado a Antonio.
I doubted that you had called Antonio.

Ana podía creer que su novio hubiera comprado un coche tan caro.
Ana couldn’t believe that her boyfriend had bought such an expensive car.