I have mastered the basic tenses in Spanish (present – I have – tengo, present perfect – I have had – he tenido, imperfect – I was having/used to have – tenía, preterite – I had – tuve), but the Spanish pluperfect subjunctive I really struggle with.  I think this is because we don’t use the English pluperfect forms when speaking – we use a simplified version.  In older English literature you will find the pluperfect used, but as languages evolve they often become more simple.

The plusperfect is a past tense and is always used to indicate an action in the past occurred before another action in the past.  The helper verb is always the imperfect tense of haber and the past participal of the main verb.  The subjunctive form is the most common kind, combined with the conditional perfect (I would have had – habría tenido).



If I had had the money, I would have bought – Si hubiera tenido dinero, me habría comprado

If I had left the house earlier, I wouldn’t have missed the train. Consequently I wouldn’t have arrived late at work. – Si hubiera salido más temprano, no habría perdido el tren y consecuentamente no habría llegado tarde al trabajo.

What would you do if you had lost your house keys? – Qué harías si hubieras perdido los llaves de la casa?

What would you do if you lost your house keys? – Qué harías si perdieras los llaves de la casa?  Llamaría al cerrajero (locksmith).

If I had the money I would buy – Si tuviera dinero, compraría


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