Spanish Past Perfect Subjunctive – Learn and Practice

Welcome 😊 to our grammar lesson on 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)

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to conjugate verbs in Past Perfect Subjunctive and use them in sentences.

You will also find a Quiz and Exercises to practice.

Conjugation of verbs

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

  • First, the verb haber in Imperfect Subjunctive. Because there are 2 ways of conjugating «haber» in Imperfect Subjunctive, we can choose between these 2 sets of forms:
    hubiera, hubieras, hubiera, hubiéramos, hubierais, hubieran
    hubiese, hubieses, hubiese, hubiésemos, hubieseis, hubiesen
  • Second, the Past Participle of the verb expressing the action. The Past Participle is the same for all persons.


As an example, here are the 2 possible conjugations of «cantar» using the formula we just learned:

 With "hubiera..."With "hubiese..."
yohubiera cantadohubiese cantado
hubieras cantadohubieses cantado
élhubiera cantadohubiese cantado
nosotroshubiéramos cantadohubiésemos cantado
vosotroshubierais cantadohubieseis cantado
elloshubieran cantadohubiesen cantado


And here are the 2 possible conjugations of «hacer»:

 With "hubiera..."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.

Some verbs have an irregular Past Participle. The most important irregular ones are:

hacer → hecho
decir → dicho
ver → visto
escribir → escrito
romper → roto
poner → puesto
volver → vuelto
resolver → resuelto
satisfacer → satisfecho
descubrir → descubierto
morir → muerto

Click here to learn more about the Past Participle

Uses of the Past Perfect Subjunctive

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

a) After “ojalá” or “ojalá que”, when we express a regret about something that can no longer be remedied:

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


b) To express the condition that could have made something else happen:

The condition (introduced by «si…») is expressed in Past Perfect Subjunctive, and the something else can be in Conditional or more frequently 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 the time.


c) To express doubt or disbelief someone had in the past… about an action that is even further in the past (the action further in the past is the one we express in Past Perfect Subjunctive):

Yo dudaba que ellos hubiesen reservado el hotel.
I doubted they would have booked the hotel.

Ana no podía creer que su novio hubiera comprado un coche.
Ana couldn’t believe her boyfriend had bought a car.


d) After «como si…», which means «as if…», referring to an imagined past action:

Me siento como si hubiera dormido 24 horas.
I feel as if I had slept for 24 hours.

Practice

Quiz

Take this short Quiz about the Past Perfect Subjunctive:


Exercise 1

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

There are always 2 possible solutions, depending on whether we choose the «hubiera» or «hubiese» form. Click on the gray spaces to see the solutions:

1) yo hubiera trabajado / hubiese trabajado (trabajar)
2) tú hubieras comprendido / hubieses comprendido (comprender)
3) él hubiera pensado / hubiese pensado (pensar)
4) nosotros hubiéramos sentido / hubiésemos sentido (sentir)
5) vosotros hubierais repetido / hubieseis repetido (repetir)
6) ellos hubieran contado / hubiesen contado (contar)
7) yo hubiera dormido / hubiese dormido (dormir)
8) tú hubieras hecho / hubieses hecho (hacer)
9) él hubiera roto / hubiese roto (romper)
10) nosotros hubiéramos visto / hubiésemos visto (ver)
11) vosotros hubierais vuelto / hubieseis vuelto (volver)
12) ellos hubieran descubierto / hubiesen descubierto (descubrir)

Exercise 2

Fill the gaps conjugating the verbs in brackets in Past Perfect Subjunctive:

There are always 2 possible solutions, depending on whether we choose the «hubiera» or «hubiese» form:

1) Ojalá yo hubiera sido / hubiese sido más amable con ellos. (ser)
I wish I had been nicer to them.

2) Si tú hubieras comprado / hubieses comprado un móvil, podrías llamarme. (comprar)
If you had bought a cell phone, you could call me.

3) Yo nunca creí que vosotros hubierais robado / hubieseis robado el coche. (robar)
I never believed that you guys stole the car.

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