Pretérito Perfecto vs. Pasado Perfecto | SpanishDict Answers
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3 Vote

What is the difference in meaning between the two?

I know from looking at the conjugations that the Pretérito Perfecto uses the preterit tense of the verb haber, and the Pasado Perfecto uses the imperfect tense of the verb haber. But since they are both past perfect tenses, what is the difference in meaning? I have not found the answer in the reference section thus far.

Can someone please explain or point me to the right reference to check out?

Thanks

  • Posted Sep 20, 2009
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9 Answers

1 Vote

I think this is cleared up in a later thread, but much of the confusion here is arising from the fact what we call in English the present prefect tense (has spoken) in Spanish is called the pertérito perfecto compuesto ( he hablado) which we would translate as compound past perfect.

So when you start talking about the past perfect (had spoken) in English you are talking about what the Spanish call the pretérito pluscuamperfecto (había hablado) or pretérito anterior (hube hablado).

Therefore, I suggest when you use the term past perfect that you make clear that you are speaking about the English past perfect or a Spaniard is going to think that you are talking about the English present perfect.

Or quit using those anglicized terms such as pretérito perfecto referring to the (hube hablado) when actually it would refer to either the pretérito perfecto simple (hablé) or the pertérito perfecto compuesto (he hablado). In other words, quit translating English verb labels into Spanish without knowing the proper titles for the Spanish tenses.

1 Vote

You know when I search "Pretérito perfecto" that supposed to be "hube hablado" ect. I always find grammar lessons in Spanish, but they talk about the "he hablado", "has habado"...ect. Is there some mistake on this site?

Wikipedia.org - Pretérito perfecto

You use the Pasado perfecto when you are talking about something that you ¨had done¨ and do not do anymore.

Hasta ahora, nunca había hablado español.

Until now, I had never spoke Spanish.

1 Vote

It is more for writing, not for speaking.


The preterite perfect is very rare in spoken Spanish - it is found almost exclusively in formal writing such as literature. It can only be used after expressions like apenas, cuando, después de que, and tan pronto como, that mean "when" or "as soon as." Its non-literary equivalents are the preterite and pluperfect.


Cuando hubo salido, empecé a llorar.

When he had left, I began to cry.

Despues de que hubimos comido, fuimos a la tienda.

After we ate, we went to the store.

Apenas hube terminado cuando él llegó.

I had hardly / just finished when he arrived.

1 Vote

Sorry everybody, I have just sent this to Paralee:

HI Paralee, have a look at this, a thread came up and I did not really understand what the forer was getting at and it turns out that Quentin has cleared this up as he always knows everything. He is right, a tense presente perfecto does not exist in Spanish.,

Oh, I checked your reference article and it did not turn up there but on the conjugation tab, Very wrong indeed! and very confusing , Can you have a look at this? The tenses on the conjugation tab should urgently be changed and corrected. I had no idea this was happening until today.

As you can see I thought this was some kind of mistake in the reference article.

To cut things short:

Presente perfecto does not exist in Spanish.

Pretérito anterior or antepretérito : hube comido (Nikki, this tense is NOT pretérito perfecto)

Pretérito perfecto (compuesto) /we normally refer to this tense simply as "pretérito perfecto": He comido

Have a look at the name of tenses here on this site.

We are sorry the conjugation tab presents these mistakes which are frankly extremely confusing as I can see even for proficient speakers like NIkki,

I hope we will get to correcting this as soon as possible smile

1 Vote

Yes, I see the correct name for the tense is the Pretérito anterior. Yet people still call it the pretérito perfecto as well... why?

  • We did you see that? It took me a long time to find a site that called verb tenses by their Spanish name (at least, the compound ones). The Englsh name used for that tense is preterite perfect so someone may have just done a word for word translation. - 0074b507 Sep 21, 2009 flag
0 Vote

HI nikki, I have just seen this post of yours, this is incorrect, where have you seen this?

The preterite perfect is very rare in spoken Spanish - it is found almost exclusively in formal writing such as literature. It can only be used after expressions like apenas, cuando, después de que, and tan pronto como, that mean "when" or "as soon as." Its non-literary equivalents are the preterite and pluperfect.

Actually the pretérito perfecto is the most used tense in my part of Spain!smile

He comido, he hablado....

0 Vote

Thanks for all the responses

0 Vote

Actually the pretérito perfecto is the most used tense in my part of Spain!smile

He comido, he hablado....

No, it's not incorrect. I said before that their are two tenses with the same name. That one is "hube comido, hubiste comido, ect." It is referred to as the pretérito anterior as well as the pretérito perfecto. It is almost only used for formal writings.

  • The use of pretérito perfecto for preterite perfect is a misnomer. That is the title of the simple past (pretérito perfecto simple) and present perfect (pretérito perfecto compuesto) in Spanish. -. That you have seen it improperly used, I have no doubt. - 0074b507 Sep 21, 2009 flag
  • There is no presente perfecto in Spanish either , but you often see it used. Present Perfect is Pretérito perfecto (they often omit the compuesto), but it is not the hube+past participle that our conjugator lists. - 0074b507 Sep 21, 2009 flag
0 Vote

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