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Published on: Grammar Bites

Uses of the pretérito pluscuamperfecto

We form the conjugation of the verbo HABER in pretérito imperfecto del indicativo tense + participio:

Conjugation Chart Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto - Easy Español

1. We use the pretérito pluscuamperfecto to indicate a complete action in the past that precedes another past action:

a) Cuando + pret. indefinido + pret. pluscuamperfecto:

  • Cuando llegamos al cine, la película ya había comenzado. When we arrived to the cinema, the movie had already started.
  • Cuando yo les conté la verdad a mis padres, ellos ya se habían enterado por otros. When I told my parents the truth, they had already heard it from other people.
  • Cuando me levanté ya había dejado de llover. When I got up, the rain had already stopped.

b) Verbo de opinión o de información + pret. pluscuamperfecto:

  • Ellos me contaron que se habían casado cuando estaban viajando por Australia. They told me they had gotten married when travelling through Australia.
  • Tú me dijiste que habías aprendido español en la escuela secundaria. You told me you had learned Spanish in high school.
  • Ustedes nos informaron que ya habían cobrado su sueldo. You informed us that you had already cashed in your paycheck.

c) Antes de infinitivo / o sustantivo + pret. pluscuamperfecto:

  • Antes de almorzar, ellos habían tomado un bocadillo, por eso no comieron todo. They had a snack before lunch, that’s why they didn’t finish their meal.
  • Antes de la visita al museo, ellos habían ido al supermercado para comprar algo de comer. They had gone to the supermarket to get some food before the museum visit.
  • Antes de salir al parque, los chicos se habían duchado. The kids had taken a shower before going to the park.
2.  We use the pretérito pluscuamperfecto to indicate a prolonged action in the past that’s interrupted at the moment of speaking:
  • Nunca antes había comido esta sopa con curry y plátano, pero me encanta. (Ahora es la primera vez que la como). I had never eaten curry and plantain soup, but I love it. (This is the first time I’m having this soup).

En mi vida me había pasado algo como esto. (Este día me ha ocurrido algo por primera vez). This had never happened to me before in my life. (Something happened to me for the first time).

Activities for private students & members: 

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