Quick Answer

The conditional perfect (el condicional compuestoo el antepospretérito) describes an action in the past that would have happened but did not due to some other event. It can also be used to express the probability of an action that has already been completed.

Conditional Perfect Forms

The conditional perfect is a combination of the past participle and the conditional of the verb haber.

Conditional Perfect Formula

  • haber in the conditional + past participle

Haber in the Conditional

SubjectHaber in the Conditional
él, ella, usted
ellos, ellas, ustedes

Conditional Perfect Uses

In the examples below, the conditional perfect is used to talk about actions that would have happened had something else not gotten in the way.

Yo habría comprado los regalos pero no tenía tiempo.
I would have bought the gifts, but I didn't have time.
Él habría leído el libro, pero el teléfono sonó.
He would have finished the book, but the telephone rang.
Nosotros habríamos cenado en ese restaurante si hubiera sabido lo bueno que era.
We would have eaten at that restaurant if I had known how good it was.

In the examples below, the conditional perfect is used to talk about an action that probably happened or was true.

Habría comido antes de salir.
He had probably already eaten before leaving.
Habrían sido las ocho cuando llegamos.
It must have been eight o’clock when we arrived.

There are four other perfect tenses in the indicative: the present perfect, the past perfect, the preterite perfect, and the future perfect. Read more about the conditional in this article.

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