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LEARN SPANISH PRETÉRITO PLUSCUAMPERFECTO (Past Perfect Simple) INDICATIVE MOOD

Before we study the "pretérito pluscuamperfecto" (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 pluscuamperfecto" (past perfect simple) of the indicative mood, we need to use the auxiliary verb "haber" (have) in its "pretérito imperfecto" (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) había
tú (You) habías
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) había
nosotros, nosotras (we) habíamos
vosotros, vosotras (you all) habíais
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) habían

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 pluscuamperfecto (past perfect simple) of the verb "hablar" (to speak) we will use the "pretérito imperfecto" (past simple) tense of the verb "haber" (to have) and the past participle of the verb "hablar" (to speak).

hablar habl--
yo (I) había hablado (I had spoken)
tú (you) habías hablado (you had spoken)
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) había hablado (he, she had spoken)
nosotros, nosotras (we) habíamos hablado (we had spoken)
vosotros, vosotras (you all) habíais hablado (you all had spoken)
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) habían hablado (they had spoken)

For the verbs ending in -er:

yo (I) había
tú (You) habías
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) había
nosotros, nosotras (we) habíamos
vosotros, vosotras (you all) habíais
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) habían

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 pluscuamperfecto (past perfect simple) of the verb "correr" (to run) we will use the "pretérito imperfecto" (past simple) tense of the verb "haber" (to have) and the past participle of the verb "correr" (to run).

correr corr--
yo (I) había corrido (I had run)
tú (you) habías corrido (you had run)
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) había corrido (he, she had run)
nosotros, nosotras (we) habíamos corrido (we had run)
vosotros, vosotras (you all) habíais corrido (you all had run)
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) habían corrido (they had run)

For the verbs ending in -ir:

yo (I) había
tú (You) habías
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) había
nosotros, nosotras (we) habíamos
vosotros, vosotras (you all) habíais
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) habían

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 pluscuamperfecto (past perfect simple) of the verb "añadir" (to add) we will use the "pretérito imperfecto" (past simple) tense of the verb "haber" (to have) and the past participle of the verb "añadir" (to add).

añadir añad--
yo (I) había añadido (I had added)
tú (you) habías añadido (you had added)
el, ella, usted (he, she, you formal) había añadido (he, she had added)
nosotros, nosotras (we) habíamos añadido (we had added)
vosotros, vosotras (you all) habíais añadido (you all had added)
ellos, ellas, (they) ustedes (you all formal) habían 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 había dicho I had said

tú habías dicho

you had said
el había dicho he had said
nosotros habíamos dicho we had said
vosotros habíais dicho you all had said
ellos habían dicho they had said

SOME GENERAL USES

We use the pretérito pluscuamperfecto (past perfect simple) tense when we are talking or writing about the past and we want to say that one action happened before another past action.

Example

Te llamé esta mañana pero ya te habías ido a trabajar.

I called you this morning but you had already gone to work. (= you went to work before I called you))

Él suspendió el examen. ¿Había estudiado algo?

He failed the exam. Had he studied at all?

Ella había estudiado, por eso aprobó con tan buenas notas.

She had studied, that's why she passed with such a good result

In some cases we can find the words "durante" (for) or "desde" (since) with the pretérito pluscuamperfecto (past perfect simple) to indicate the duration or starting point of the action in the past.

Example

Habían estado esperando el autobús durante horas.

They had been waiting for the bus for hours

Él no había fumado desde su boda hasta hoy.

He had not smoked since his wedding up until today