Quick Answer

The past perfect (el pretérito pluscuamperfectoo el antecopretérito), also known as the pluperfect, is used to talk about a past action that happened prior to another action in the past.

Past Perfect

The past perfect is often used to talk about what a person had done before something else happened in the past. It is formed by combining haber in the imperfect with a past participle.

Past Perfect Spanish Formula

  • haber in the imperfect + past participle

Check out these examples of the Spanish past perfect.

Había visto ya a mi primo.
I had already seen my cousin.
Habías cantado en la fiesta cuando llegué.
You had already sung at the party when I arrived.
Usted había leído el libro antes que él.
You had read the book before him.
Él había sacado su gorro cuando entró en mi casa.
He had taken off his hat before entering my house.
Ella había comido antes de ir al cine.
She had eaten before going to the movies.
Nos habíamos sentado cuando el tren salió.
We had sat down when the train left.
No habíais oído la canción antes de ahora.
You had not heard the song before now.
Ustedes habían vuelto cuando ellos salieron.
You had returned when they left.
Ellos habían puesto los pasteles en la mesa.
They had put the cakes on the table.
Ellas habían hablado mucho cuando la fiesta terminó.
They had talked a lot when the party ended.

Notice that the auxiliary verb (haber) and the past participle are never separated. If object pronouns are present, they go immediately before haber.

Ya lo había visto.
I had already seen him.
Usted lo había leído antes que él.
You had read it before him.
Él lo había sacado cuando entró en mi casa.
He had taken it off before entering my house.
No la habíais oído antes de ahora.
You had not heard it before now.
Ellos los habían puesto en la mesa.
They had put them on the table.
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