Pluscuamperfecto de subjunctive: what is it, how to use

THE past pluscuamperfecto in subjunctiveit is a compound tense that expresses unreal facts or actions prior to the moment of speech. this past tense highlights the unreality of the actions it designates, due to the fact that they are in a finished time. It can be used in concessive clauses, desiderative clauses (which express desires or wishes) and in main clauses of conditional clauses.

When we pass sentences from the direct to the indirect style - reproducing the speech of others or our own in an oral or written way by means of an introductory verb followed by the conjunction what -, The plumperfecto of subjunctive replaces the perfect past tense composed of subjunctive.

THEpast pluscuamperfecto in subjunctiveis formed with the auxiliary verb knowconjugate in the past tense imperfect of subjunctive and the main verb in the participle.

Read too: Pluscuamperfecto of callsign — verb tense that expresses actions or facts already completed

Summary about past tense pluscuamperfecto of indicative

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  • Expresses a past action before another action, equally past.

  • Expresses unreality.

  • It can be used in concessive clauses, desiderative clauses - which express desires or wishes - and in main clauses of conditional clauses.

  • It is formed with the auxiliary verb know conjugate in the past tense imperfect of subjunctive and the main verb in the participle.

  • In indirect style, it replaces the perfect past tense composed of subjunctive.

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How to use the Preterit Pluscuamperfecto of subjunctive?

  • Indicate past actions prior to another past:

I didn't believe that Ana hubiera / hubiese llegado.

(I didn't believe that Ana had arrived.)

Note that, in the example, the action expressed by hubiera/-se llegado is prior to that indicated by the verb creí.

When I lost the clock, I was upset that Ana was always in the hubiera/-if buried.

(When I looked at the clock, it bothered me that Ana still hasn't had arrived.)

  • concessive prayers

aunque me paid hubieran, would not have seen that party.

(Even though had paid me, would not have seen that game)

  • Desiderative prayers

Take me a cuatro in the exam. hello hubiera/-if studiedbut.

(I got four on the test. I wish I had studied most)

  • Main clauses of past hypothetical conditional clauses

Yes hubiera/-if could, would have gone with Maria.

(if could have, would have gone with Maria.)


  • Non-toggle:

The shapes hubiera/hubiese do not alternate in the main clause of unreal conditionals in the past. In these clauses, only the forms ending in -frog or the compound conditional (had).

If it is known before, not me habria/hubiera worried. (It doesn't say *worried hubiese)

(If I had known before, no would have worried.)

  • Indirect-style usage:

Replaces the perfect past tense composed of subjunctive.

I feel that not you hayan called to the fiesta. (perfect past tense composed of subjunctive)

Ana felt that she did not want me hubieran calledto the fiesta. (pluscuamperfecto of subjunctive)

(Ana regretted that she didn't had called meto the party.)

Read too:Subjunctive present in Spanish — know how to use this tense

Formation of the Preterit pluscuamperfecto of subjunctive

THE pluscuamperfecto is formed by verb know conjugate in the imperfect of subjunctive and a main verb in the participle.


HABER verb in subjunctive imperfect

Main verb in participle


hubiera / hubiese








Hubieras / Hubieses


hubiera / hubiese


hubieramos / hubiésemos

you (the)

hubierals / hubieseis

ellos (as)/ustedes

hubieran / hubiesen

irregular verbsare you nothis tense are only those who are already in the participle. Here is a list of the most common:

decide — dicho

to die — dead

resolve — resuelto

back — turn

do — hecho

poner — puesto

break — broken

see — seen

scribe — writing

to die — dead

Know more:Spanish defective verbs — verbs that have incomplete conjugation

Exercises solved on past Pluscuamperfecto of subjunctive

question 1

Complete with the correct conjugation of verbs between parentheses in the pluscuamperfecto of subjunctive:

a) It didn't seem to me that Juan ___________ (to be) in the school.

b) Si tú me lo ___________ (decir), yo _________ (hablar) with él.

c) I wouldn't have gone to that fiesta, even __________ me (invite).

d) Carolina le molestó that Juan no le ___________ (taste) la fiesta.

e) The oral presentation was a disaster, ojalá me ______________ (prepare) better.


a) hubiera/se state

b) hubieras/-ses dicho/hubiera hablado

c) hubieran/-sen invited

d) hubiera/-if liked

e) hubiera/be prepared

question 2

Look at the next fragment of the song If you haven't gone, del Mexican singer Marco Antonio Solís.

There is nothing more difficult than living without you

Sufriendo waiting to see you

El frio de mi body asks for you

Y no where are you?

If you haven't gone, you would be so happy

In the fragment, the verse “if you haven't gone away, it would be tan happy” expresses

a) the wish that the beloved person be studied with the lyrical one.

b) the impossibility for the beloved person to return.

c) a possible hecho.

d) an unfinished action.

e) a concession.


Alternative A

The verse under analysis expresses that if the loved one had not left (she left), the I lyric could be happy. In this sense, it expresses a desire of the lyrical self. Therefore, the correct alternative is the letter A.

By Renata Martins Gornattes
Spanish teacher

Would you like to reference this text in a school or academic work? Look:

GORNATTES, Renata Martins. "Pluscuamperfecto of subjunctive"; Brazil School. Available in: Accessed on December 15, 2021.
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