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Usage note
This contraction is used as a short form of the past tense "they had" or the conditional "they would." In Spanish, the conditional is expressed by a verbal inflection.
A contraction is a shortened form of a word or group of words made by omitting a sound or letter (e.g. don't).
1. (they had)
a. habían
They'd been friends since elementary school.Habían sido amigos desde la primaria.
2. (they would)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
I remember they'd always have a glass of milk at bedtime when they were little.Recuerdo que siempre bebían un vaso de leche antes de acostarse cuando eran pequeños.
They'd love to see you on Sunday if you have time.Les encantaría verte el domingo si tienes tiempo.
3. (they had; used in combination with “if” clauses)
a. hubieran
If they'd seen how bad the traffic was, they would never have gone.Si hubieran visto cuánto tráfico había, no hubieran ido.
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