Spanish/Pluperfect

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Verbs


The pluperfect (el pluscuamperfecto de indicativo) is similar to the present perfect, but implies that an action had already occurred at a given time. For example:

I had already bought a newspaper. Yo ya había comprado un periódico.

It is formed, similar to the present perfect, using the imperfect form of Haber with a past participle of the action verb. Había is the first-person imperfect form of Haber and comprado is the past participle of Comprar. It is often used with the adverb ya which means "already," indicating that the condition occurred in the past.

Examples:

Tú ya habías mirado la película. You had already seen the movie.
Ella ya había hecho las galletes. She had already made the cookies.
Nosotros habíamos viajado a España. We had traveled to Spain.
Vosotros habíais sacado fotos. You (plural, familiar) had taken picture.
Ellos ya habían perdido el libro. They had already lost the book.

Para cuando[edit]

The pluperfect is often used with clauses beginning in para cuando which means "by the time that." The verb following para cuando is conjugated in the present subjunctive form. For example:

Ud. se había comido la merienda para cuando llegó al cine.
You (singular, formal) had eaten the snack by the time that you arrived at the theatre.
¿Habías terminado la tarea para cuando tu amigo te llamó?
Had you finished your homework by the time that your friend called you?