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Spanish Lesson Seventy: Past Perfect Indicative

Updated on December 16, 2013

Good Afternoon Readers,

Thanks so much for continuing to read these lessons. It's been a huge pleasure of mine to be able to share my love of the Spanish language. Over the past year and a half, I've learned a great deal more about the language and about teaching it to people like you. Your continued viewings of these lessons have made me more successful as a writer and as a member of HubPages. Now that the Christmas season is here, I want to say thanks for all your support and I look forward to teaching you more Spanish into the next year.

If you don't already know, today's lesson will be the last for 2013. I will then pick back up on these lessons on January 6, 2014. So enjoy your Christmas and New Years and I'll see you all back here on January 6th!


  • To Be Able To conjugate the verb "haber" into the past perfect
  • To Be Able To identify moments in which the past perfect is needed
  • To Be Able To use the past perfect to describe events taking place in the past

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Past Perfect Indicative

Hey Readers,

Today we're going to discuss the Past Perfect Indicative. It's the same exact tense that we use in English to describe actions that take place in the past before another action. Remember that the word "indicative" simply refers to phrases that are not "subjunctive" in mood. The Past Perfect Indicative is translated identically in English as the Preterit Anterior, however, the Past Perfect is what is used in spoken language. The Preterit Anterior, as I've said before, is used in formal writing projects such as telling the history of something.

This is the 3rd compound tense we are learning and thus one of the easier to understand. Take your time learning this tense and understand that the only change occurring in Compound Tenses are their meanings and the verb "haber" which is used as a helping verb. Participles are still used throughout. Don't worry, I'll explain more of this in a later section. Check out Today's Vocabulary.

English Word
Spanish Equiv
To Understand
El Peso
To Flee
La Caza
To Pay
La Entrevista
By Chance
To Delay
El Ambiente
To Arrive
El Hermano
To Recognize

Today's Vocabulary

Hey Readers!

Welcome to Today's Vocabulary. It's been some time since we've had a list of random words to go along with our lesson. That is due to the fact that we've been focusing on different themes. So thus it makes more sense to feature words pertinent to the theme discussed.Today's Vocabulary is brought to you by "Word of The Day" Spanish words from Spanishdict. I signed up for daily emails in order to expand my vocabulary.

I'm certain, those of you who are new, will find some words that you've also never seen before. If you want those emails, head on to the website and sign up. It's really simple and you'll be glad you did it.

Find a native speaker and see if you can learn some new things. Recently I learned a phrase I had never heard before. Its meaning was pretty obvious once I broke it down in mind. There will always be moments like that. Don't fret if you don't get something. Break it down just like you would in English. Its meaning may become clearer once you focus. Anyway, check out these words and read up on the conjugation of "haber" for the Past Perfect Indicative. Then we'll discuss the tense together.

  • Never separate "haber" from the participle
  • "Haber" must ALWAYS reflect the subject of the sentence
  • Used to express an action which has happened in the past before another past action
  • Translates exactly the same in English as Preterit Anterior, but used more commonly. Preterit Anterior is used in formal writing.

Using The Past Perfect Indicative

Hey Readers!

Thanks so much for reading today. As the holidays get closer and closer, I know things get even more chaotic. That's why this will be the last lesson until January 6, 2014. It just makes sense that none of us will have the appropriate time to learn anything new as we're trying to work on things around the house, prepare for wrapping presents and whatnot. Anyway, I appreciate all the support this year. By lesson one hundred, I will say we've gone through enough Spanish and I hope to move on to another language in and of itself.

As you can see above, I've already provided the Imperfect conjugations for the verb "haber". Once you add a participle to the phrase it will be considered the "Past Perfect" which is translated exactly the same in English as the Preterit Anterior. The only difference is this one requires the imperfect form of "haber" and is spoken over the Preterit Anterior which is used more in formal writing. So let's discuss the grammar of this tense.

Antes de ella había salido, besamos. Before she had left, we kissed. If you didn't notice, I used the exact same sentence from the lesson discussing the Preterit Anterior as the tenses have the same meaning. Ensure that a phrase emphasizing time is used in order to express what you're trying to say. Otherwise you're better off using the Present Perfect Indicative which doesn't involve an action taking place before another.

The Present Perfect Indicative is also called Pluperfect or Pluscuamperfecto de Indicativo. So if you see any of those phrases, they are referring to this tense. Want another example? Okay... look at this one.

Cuando llegaron mis amigos, mi familia ya había comido. When my friends arrived, my family had already eaten. See how these sentences involve two actions? Remember that when you're using this tense. One must come before the other in order to need this tense. Break up your sentences word for word in order to understand its complete meaning.

Well Readers... there isn't much more to this lesson. Thanks for your support and I hope you all have a wonderful holiday. When we return January 6, 2014, we will be discussing Hacerse, Ponerse, and Volverse. Until next time...

© 2013 A.E. Williams


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