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This lesson is part of the Intermediate Spanish Course
(69 Spanish video or mp3 lessons. 4 hrs 8 mins)


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In this Spanish lesson we are going to learn more about the Spanish Past Perfect – El Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto. The Spanish Past Perfect grammar tense is formed with the imperfect tense of the auxiliary verb Haber and a past participle. Haber is conjugated: había, habías, había, habíamos, habíais, habían and past participles are formed by dropping the infinitive endings and adding either -ado or -ido (except with some verbs that have irregular past participles). The Spanish Past Perfect tense is used to describe a past action that was completed prior to another action in the past. This is the final Spanish lesson in a series of three videos on the topic of the Spanish Past Perfect El Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto and here we will learn exactly when to use the Spanish Past Perfect with example sentences. In the previous lessons we looked at the regular and irregular verbs of the Spanish Past Perfect. Try not to worry too much about all of these long and complicated-sounding titles for the Spanish grammar tenses. El Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto, El Pretérito Indefinido, El Pretérito Perfecto, etc are titles that strike fear in the hearts of many students studying Spanish simply because they are words that they have never used before and words that are long and difficult to pronounce. The best thing is to concentrate on the key elements of each Spanish grammar tense and keep everything as simple as possible. Make sure you are clear on exactly when to use one Spanish grammar tense over another and how to conjugate the regular verbs. Later you can start working on your repertoire of irregular verbs and more complex sentence structures.

Lesson notes:

To express an action in the past previous to another action in the past:
Ya me lo habían contado, por eso no me sorprendió: They had told me it already, that´s why it didn´t surprise me.
Cuando me llamaste para salir a cenar, ya había comido: When you called me to go out for dinner I had already eaten

To describe something that was done for the first time at that moment:
Hasta ahora nunca había comido pulpo: Up until now, I hadn´t eaten octopus.
No había hecho una tarta antes. He hadn’t made a cake before

Activity:

Translate the following…

We hadn´t tried Spanish wine before
I didn´t like the film because I had already read the book
They hadn’t travelled in an aeroplane before
I had studied a lot before the exam

Here are the answers to the last activity:

Había escrito
Habíamos abierto
¿Qué había dicho?
Habían cubierto
¿Qué habíais hecho?

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