When would I use the pluscuamperfecto de subjunctivo in comparison to the perfect subjunctive.

I believe these to be (for comer) hubiera comido and haya comido respectively.

What is the difference and how do I know when to use which.


  • Posted Apr 6, 2011
  • | link
  • present perfect subjunctive (haya+pp) versus past perfect subjunctive (hubiera+pp) in English terms - 0074b507 Apr 7, 2011

4 Answers



I'm still learning myself so hope I don't put you wrong but for me just thinking about the perfect tense and the pluperfect in the indicative mood works helps me know what their equivalents in the subjunctive mood are saying.

perfect - I have eaten, He comido or Haya comido

pluperfect - I had eaten, Había comido or Hubiera/Hubiese comido

Also here's some excerpts and a link that might be useful:

Ojalá que esté aquí. I hope she's here. [She might be here.]

Ojalá que haya estado aquí. I hope she's been here. [She may have been here.]

Ojalá que estuviera aquí. I wish she were here. [She's not here.]

Ojalá que hubiera estado aquí. I wish she had been here. [She has not been here.]

With a governing verb in a “present time” tense use only a “present time” tense of the subjunctive; with a governing verb in a “past time” tense, use only a “past time” subjunctive. In either case the simple subjunctive tense is used to express a simultaneous or future action, and the perfect tense is used to indicate a previous activity.

When to use which subjunctive

Also I know this isn't exactly what you were asking but I thought I'd share something a learned man once told me which comes in handy when using the subjunctive generally:

The present subjunctive is mainly used when the main verb is in present, future or imperative. For all other tenses (6 of them), imperfect subjunctive is normally used instead.

I hope that at least some of that makes some sense to you lol smile



El pretérito pluscuamperfecto del subjuntivo:

1- Se refiere a acciones de cumplimiento imposible: “Si yo hubiese estado abrigado,no me habria resfriado”(pero no me lo hice). 2-Se refiere a acciones que nos arrepentimos, en cierto modo, de no haber hecho: “ si le hubiese dado mi apoyo no se habria suicidado” 3-O se expresa algo que no pudo ser: “Me hubiese gustado casarme con tu hermana” (pero no pudo ser)

Ver más:

link text

Presente perfecto del subjuntivo: Relaciona acciones pasadas, relacionadas con el presente.

Ejemplos de uso:

link text

  • Apr 6, 2011
  • | link
  • I have a mistake:Donde dice "pero no me lo hice" debe decir "pero no lo hice" - lukaaxx Apr 6, 2011


Both the "pretérito perfecto" and the "pretérito pluscuamperfecto" are perfect tenses, so you expect complete actions. The first one is related to the present subjunctive, so it applies mainly to conceivable actions, i.e. present and future, while the pluperfect is related to the imperfect, which is about mental images, used for unlikely or unconciveable actions, including those that could have happened in the past or will never happen in the future.



It seems a little confusing when likaaxx's definition says that the Present Perfect of the subjunctive relates to past actions (related to the present), but they are labeled as "present time tenses" in Kiwi Girl's article.

I'm trying to follow how the if clause statements fit into Kiwi Girl's article.

If I won the lottery, I would retire. (contrary-to-fact. I have not won the lottery) and using the past tense to speak of present or future time...so imperfect subjunctive verb used.

Si ganara la lotería, me jubilaría.

Following the analysis of Kiwi Girl's article the governing verb must be the conditional verb which is considered a past tense. Therefore, the subjunctive verb is also in the past tense and since it address present or future time the simple past subjunctive is used.

Ok, I got it now.

alt text

  • Apr 7, 2011
  • | link
  • ja ja classic :) - Kiwi-Girl Apr 7, 2011
  • btw if it's right I can't take the glory as you can see I put it in a quote box as it's found at the link below it :) - Kiwi-Girl Apr 7, 2011