Pretérito perfecto del subjuntivo: Formation, use and examples

The preterite perfect subjunctive is a verb tense used to express actions or situations that occurred in the past, but have relevance in the present. This verb tense combines the subjunctive, which indicates subjectivity, possibility or doubt, with the notion that the past action or situation still has some kind of connection to the present moment.


The past perfect subjunctive tense at a glance

The preterite perfect subjunctive is a verb tense used to express actions or situations that occurred in the past, but that have relevance or implications in the present or at a time subsequent to the event in question. This verb tense is a combination of two elements: the subjunctive, which indicates uncertainty, desire, possibility or opinion as opposed to the indicative which is used to express concrete and objective facts, and the preterite perfect which refers to a past action that has a direct impact on the present.

Formation of the past perfect subjunctive tense

The conjugation of the past perfect subjunctive is formed from the third person plural of the past perfect indicative (haber + past participle) and adding the specific endings of the subjunctive.

The past participle is obtained in different ways depending on the verb ending:

  1. Verbos en -ar: Se reemplaza la terminación -ar con -ado.
  2. Verbos en -er: Se reemplaza la terminación -er con -ido.
  3. Verbos en -ir: Se reemplaza la terminación -ir con -ido.

Conjugation table

Personal pronoun Verb "haber" Verbs ending in -ar such as hablar Verbs ending in -er such as comer Verbs ending in -ir such as vivir
Yo haya hablado comido vivido
Tú hayas hablado comido vivido
Él / Ella / Usted haya hablado comido vivido
Nosotros / Nosotras hayamos hablado comido vivido
Vosotros / Vosotras hayáis hablado comido vivido
Ellos / Ellas / Ustedes hayan hablado comido vivido
Do you want to perfect your Spanish and take it to the next level?

Explore the world and improve your Spanish at the same time! Learn with Sprachcaffe in an international group and live the adventure of a lifetime in Malaga, Madrid, Barcelona or Havana!

More information

Uses of the past perfect subjunctive tense

The past perfect subjunctive is used to express actions or situations that took place in the past, but that maintain some connection or relevance in the present. Some of its most common uses are:

  1. Recent or finished actions: It is used to talk about actions that occurred in the recent past and that may have consequences in the present.
    For example: "Espero que hayas terminado el informe."
  2. Personal experiences: It is used to talk about personal experiences that someone has had at some point in his or her life.
    For example: "No creo que hayas viajado a Europa antes."
  3. Hypothetical situations in the past: It is used to express hypothetical or conditional situations in the past that could have taken place.
    For example: "Si hubiera estudiado más, habría aprobado el examen."
  4. Expressing doubts or assumptions in the present about past actions: It is used to express doubts or assumptions about past actions that could have happened.
    For example: "No creo que ellos hayan entendido la tarea."

Table of examples

Past actions in relation to the present: Temporal or conditional adverbial clauses: Wishes or requests:
Espero que hayas comprendido la lección. Cuando hayas terminado tus tareas, podrás salir a jugar. Ojalá que hayas tenido un excelente cumpleaños.
Me alegra que hayas llegado a tiempo para la fiesta. Si ella hubiera llamado, yo habría ido al cine. Quisiera que hayas encontrado lo que estabas buscando.
No creo que hayan terminado todavía. Después de que hayamos comido, podremos salir a caminar. Espero que hayas tenido un buen descanso.
Expressions of possibility or probability: Recommendations or advice: Expressions of surprise or disbelief:
Puede ser que ellos ya hayan llegado a la reunión. Te sugiero que hayas revisado tu trabajo antes de entregarlo. No puedo creer que hayas ganado el premio.
Es posible que hayas olvidado recoger tus llaves. Es mejor que hayas hablado con ellos sobre el problema. Es increíble que hayas terminado tan rápido.
Quizás hayas visto esa película antes. Sería conveniente que hayas reservado tus boletos con anticipación. ¿En serio crees que hayan vendido todas las entradas?

Learn Spanish with Sprachcaffe