Past perfect in Spanish
The past perfect is conjugated by using the imperfect tense of haber as the auxiliary verb, followed by the past participle of the main verb.
- Ellos ya habían visto la película que yo quería ver.
- They had already seen the movie that I wanted to watch.
Use the following conjugations of haber for the past perfect tense.
The past perfect is used to talk about actions that had occured prior to another event in the past.
- Mi familia ya había comido cuando por fin llegué.
- My family had already eaten when I finally arrived.
- Los estudiantes dijeron que ya habían hecho la tarea.
- The students said that they had already done the homework.
The past perfect may also be used in its subjunctive form as well for commenting in the past on things that happened previous to the comment.
- Yo quería que me hubieran esperado.
- I was hoping they had waited for me.
- ¿Dudabas que yo lo hubiera llamado?
- Did you doubt that I had called him?
Past subjunctive conjugations
Unlike in English when the auxiliary “have” and the main verb cannot be separated in the present perfect, in Spanish, haber and the past participle must stay together.
- Ellos ya habían decidido no venir .
- They had already decided not to come.
- María no había visto a nadie.
- Maria had not seen anyone.
Since the auxiliary and main verb cannot be separated, object pronouns, as well as reflexive pronouns, must be placed before haber.
- Mis padres me habían llamado tres veces ese día.
- My parents had called me three times that day.
- ¿Se habían dormido?
- Had they fallen asleep?