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Pretérito pluscuamperfecto in Spanish

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What is the pretérito pluscuamperfecto?

The pluperfect tense (Spanish: el pretérito pluscuamperfecto) is one of the compound tenses of the past. It is used to talk about what had happened or had been true at a point in the past. The pretérito pluscuamperfecto has two parts:

  • the imperfect tense of the auxiliary verb haber
  • the past participle (participio) of the verb

enlightenedpretérito pluscuamperfecto = haber (imperfecto) + participio

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Conjugation of the verb haber

Personal pronounsAuxiliary haber in imperfect
Él / Ellahabía
Ellos / Ellashabían


enlightenedAttention! Note that there are written accent marks on the í of all the imperfect forms of haber.

Regularly conjugated past participle of verbs on -AR, -ER, -IR

Verbs in -arVerbs in -erVerbs in -ir
The verb ending is replaced by -ADOThe verb ending is replaced by -IDOThe verb ending is replaced by -IDO

hablar → hablado

viajar → viajado

comer → comido

beber → bebido

vivir → vivido

sentir→ sentido

The complete formation of the pretérito pluscuamperfecto in Spanish (pluperfect)

The complete formation of the pluscuamperfecto is made with the conjugated form of the auxiliary verb haber in the imperfect and the participle form of the verb:

Personal pronounAuxiliary haber in imperfectParticipio
















Irregularly conjugated participles of verbs

There are a few irregular participles in Spanish. Here is a list of the most important exceptions:

abrir (to open)abierto (opened)
cubrir (to cover)cubierto (covered)
decir (to say)dicho (said)
devolver (to return /to give back)devuelto (returned)
disolver (to dissolve)disuelto (dissolved)
escribir (to write)escrito (written)
hacer (to do)hecho (done)
ir (to go)ido (gone)
morir (to die)muerto (died)
poner (to put)puesto (put)
romper (to break)roto (broken)
ser (to be)sido (been)
ver (to see)visto (seen)
volver (to come back)vuelto (come)

When to use the pluscuamperfecto?

The past perfect or pluperfect is another compound tense that is similar in Spanish and English and its use is practically the same in both languages.

For an action or event completed in the past before other actions or events.

  • La fiesta había comenzado (The party had started).
  • Marta había salido cuando yo entré (Marta had left when I arrived).

Marker words of the pretérito pluscuamperfecto.

These expressions indicated the use of the pluscuamperfecto.

todavía nonot yet
aún nonot yet
siemprealways (I had always...)
en mi vida…in my life

Example sentences

  • Todavía no había salido de casa. (She had not left home yet)
  • Siempre había sido mala comedora. (She had always been a fussy eater)
  • Ya había realizado la actividad en el libro. (He had already done the activity in the book)

Example text

“José Arcadio Buendía, que era el hombre más emprendedor que había existido en la tierra, había puesto de tal modo la ubicación de las casas, que desde todas podían llegar al río y recolectar agua con igual esfuerzo, y había organizado las calles con tan buen sentido que ninguna casa recibía más sol que otra, a la hora del calor.”

Texto tomado y adaptado del libro “Cien años de soledad” del autor Gabriel García Márquez.


"José Arcadio Buendía, who was the most enterprising man that had existed on earth, had put the location of the houses in such a way that they could reach the river and collect water with the same effort, and had organized the streets with good sense that any house received more sun than another, at the time of heat. "

Retrieved and adapted from “Cien años de soledad” del autor Gabriel García Márquez.



  1. Exercise to practice the Pretérito pluscuamperfecto.
  2. Do you know how to conjugate verbs in Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto?
  3. Do you know the most common irregular participles?

Exercise to practice the Pretérito pluscuamperfecto.

Do you know how to conjugate verbs in Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto?

Do you know the most common irregular participles?

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