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LEARN SPANISH "PRETÉRITO ANTERIOR" (Past Perfect Simple) INDICATIVE MOOD

Before we study the "pretérito anterior" (past perfect simple) we need to learn some basic concepts about Spanish verbs. Spanish verbs are always either regular or irregular as it happens with English verbs. All Spanish verbs end either in "-ar", "-er" or "-ir ". These are the three Spanish conjugations.

Example

Hablar (to speak) Correr (to run) Añadir (to add)

To form the "pretérito anterior" (past perfect simple) of the indicative mood, we need to use the auxiliary verb "haber" (have) in its "pretérito perfecto simple" (past simple) and the past participle of another verb. To form the past participle of the regular verbs in Spanish, we need to take the verb as we find it in the dictionary and remove the last two letters. Then, if the verb ends in "-ar" we will add the ending "-ado" and if the verb ends in "-er" or "-ir" we will add the ending "-ido".

Example

For the verbs ending in -ar:

yo (I) hube
tú (You) hubiste
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) hubo
nosotros, nosotras (we) hubimos
vosotros, vosotras (you all) hubisteis
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) hubieron

Example: We take the verb "hablar" (to speak). We remove the "-ar": We are left with "habl-" (the stem) and then we add "-ado". In this way we have the past participle of the verb "hablar" (to speak).

To conjugate the pretérito anterior (past perfect simple) of the verb"hablar" (to speak) we will use the "pretérito perfecto simple" (past simple) tense of the verb "haber" (to have) and the past participle of the verb "hablar" (to speak).

hablar habl--
yo (I) hube hablado (I had spoken)
tú (you) hubiste hablado (you had spoken)
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) hubo hablado (he, she had spoken)
nosotros, nosotras (we) hubimos hablado (we had spoken)
vosotros, vosotras (you all) hubisteis hablado (you all had spoken)
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) hubieron hablado (they had spoken)

For the verbs ending in -er:

yo (I) hube
tú (You) hubiste
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) hubo
nosotros, nosotras (we) hubimos
vosotros, vosotras (you all) hubisteis
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) hubieron

Example: We take the verb "correr" (to run). We remove the "-er": We are left with corr- (the stem) and then we add "-ido". In this way we have the past participle of the verb "correr" (to run).

To conjugate the pretérito anterior (past perfect simple) of the verb "correr" (to run) we will use the "pretérito perfecto simple" (past simple) tense of the verb "haber" (to have) and the past participle of the verb "correr" (to run).

correr corr--
yo (I) hube corrido (I had run)
tú (you) hubiste corrido (you had run)
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) hubo corrido (he, she had run)
nosotros, nosotras (we) hubimos corrido (we had run)
vosotros, vosotras (you all) hubisteis corrido (you all had run)
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) hubieron corrido (they had run)

For the verbs ending in -ir:

yo (I) hube
tú (You) hubiste
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) hubo
nosotros, nosotras (we) hubimos
vosotros, vosotras (you all) hubisteis
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) hubieron

Example: We take the verb "añadir" (to add). We remove the "-ir": We are left with añad- (the stem) and then we add "-ido". In this way we have the past participle of the verb "añadir" (to add).

To conjugate the pretérito anterior (past perfect simple) of the verb "añadir" (to add) we will use the "pretérito perfecto simple" (past simple) tense of the verb "haber" (to have) and the past participle of the verb "añadir" (to add).

añadir añad--
yo (I) hube añadido (I had added)
tú (you) hubiste añadido (you had added)
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) hubo añadido (he, she had added)
nosotros, nosotras (we) hubimos añadido (we had added)
vosotros, vosotras (you all) hubisteis añadido (you all had added)
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) hubieron añadido (they had added)

The differences between the persons "tú" (you), "vosotros" (you all), "usted" (you formal) and "ustedes" (you all formal) are explained in Spanish Personal Pronouns .

Some of the irregular verbs will be conjugated exactly in the same form, adding the same sets of endings; the only difference is that they will have some spelling changes in the stem of the verb. ***Remember*** Spanish Irregular verbs can be highly irregular and the general rule is "The rules do not apply".

Decir To say
yo hube dicho I had said
tú hubiste dicho you had said
el hubo dicho he had said
nosotros hubimos dicho we had said
vosotros hubisteis dicho you all had said
ellos hubieron dicho they had said

SOME GENERAL USES

The "pretérito anterior" is falling in disuse nowadays and you will probably never hear this tense if you visit a Spanish speaking country. It has been practically substituted by the "pretérito pluscuamperfecto" (past perfect simple).

Example

Cerramos cuando hubimos terminado.
We closed down when we had finished.

In spoken Spanish the above would be:

Cerramos cuando habíamos terminado.
We closed down when we had finished.

The "pretérito anterior" is used to express a past action that happened immediately before another past action.

Example

Tan pronto hube terminado el proyecto, salí de la oficina.
As soon as I had finished the project, I left the office.

Pudieron ver la tele cuando hubieron terminado de estudiar.
They could watch TV when they had finished studying.

No nos llamaron hasta que hubieron terminado la reunión.
They did not phone us until they had finished the meeting.

Apenas hube terminado la colada, salí de casa.
As soon as I had finished the washing, I left home.