Past Perfect Tense – Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto
Do you know what Past Perfect Tense is called in Spanish? Ha! I bet you didn’t know this one :)
Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto….en español.
There are 3 ways we could use this tense.
- When telling a story in the past
- When expressing regret (lamentar)
- Third Conditional sentence (advance form of English)
We use the pretérito pluscuamperfecto (past perfect) to describe actions that took place before a certain point in the past.
We always use the past perfect when we are telling a story (in the simple past) and then want to look back at something that happened earlier. Para mayor detalle, ver la siguiente figura:
So in my example above, I said “I left Chile” (I used a verb in Simple Past) literally translated, “salí de Chile”. Me fui de Chile.
Left is past tense of the verb To Leave/Salir
TIP: Past Perfect Tense and Simple Past Tense are usually used together to tell a story. Past Perfect Tense is formed with the past tense of helping verb “have” which is HAD + PARTICIPLE
See my example in the diagram below:
I assume you know what participle means – participio
Here is a short list of irregular and regular verbs I mentioned in my podcast Episode 10 – and their participle.
Hey, you can also use Past Perfect to join 2 sentences in the past. For example:
I went to bed. Before that I watched TV.
- Before I went to bed, I had watched TV.
- After I had watched TV, I went to bed.
In the above example, think about the past, which action happened first?
Using Past Perfect To Express Regret (Lamentar)
- I started a bad habit when I was younger, I started smoking. I wish I hadn’t started smoking when I was younger, I know it’s not good for my health.
Agarré (comencé, empecé) un mal hábito cuando era joven, comencé (empecé) a fumar. Ojalá no huebiesé empezado a fumar cuando era joven, se que no es bueno para mi salud.
- When I arrived in Australia, I realised I didn’t buy enough gifts. I wish I had bought more gifts for my family when I was in Chile.
Cuando llegué a Australia (desde Chile), me di cuenta de que no compré suficientes regalos. Ojalá hubiese comprado más regalos para mi familia cuando estuve en Chile
Wish – has many meanings in English. At the start of a sentence, it’s often used to express regret, to feel sorry about something/someone. Equivalent translation to Spanish is Ojalá. Ya me gustaría.Eso desearía. Eso quisiera.
Third Conditional Sentence
What would happen if I stayed back in Chile a little bit longer?
- I wouldn’t have forgotten to buy more gifts, if I had stayed just a couple of months longer in Chile. I would have planned my days better and would have gone shopping earlier.