Pluperfect indicative in Spanish (B1)


The pluperfect (called pretérito pluscuamperfecto de indicativo in Spanish) is a tense that is used to talk about what had happened or had been true at a point in the past, before another past point. Look at the example: The pyramids had been built before she was born.


Using the pluperfect indicative in Spanish

When talking about the past, we sometimes refer to things that had happened previously. In English, you often use had followed by a past participle such as spoken, eaten, lived or been to do this. This tense is known as the pluperfect or past perfect tense.

The Spanish pluperfect tense or pretérito pluscuamperfecto is used and formed in a similar way.

Ya habíamos comido cuando  Pedro llegó. (We’d already eaten when Peter arrived.)

Nunca lo había visto antes de aquella noche. (I’d never seen it before that night.)

Aprobó el examen porque había estudiado mucho. (He passed the exam because he had studied a lot.)

Forming the Spanish pluperfect indicative

Like the pretérito perfecto, el pluscuamperfecto has two parts: the imperfect tense of the verb haber + the past participle:

Subject pronoun Imperfect of haber Past participle Meaning
Yo había hablado I had spoken
habías trabajado You had worked
Él, ella, usted había comido He/she/you had eaten
Nosotros, -as habíamos vendido We had sold
Vosotros, -as habíais vivido You had lived
Ellos, -as, ustedes habían decidido They/you had decided

Remember some very common verbs have irregular past participle: escribir: escrito, hacer: hecho, ver: visto… Click on the link to see more

Pluperfect indicative, practice and quizzes

Now you can practice everything that you have learned with the quizzes below and remember that you can contact your tutor with any question you have about the pluperfect indicative in Spanish. Don’t you have a Spanish personal tutor yet?

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