The Conditional Perfect Tense

Posted on 16th December 2013 in Conjugation

The Conditional Perfect Tense

by Russell Sabo

The conditional perfect tense, or “el potencial compuesto,” is a compound tense used to express “would have.” For example: Yo habría cocinado pero no tenía mantequilla. – I would have cooked, but I did not have butter. You can use the conditional perfect tense to say what would have happened (in general), what would have happened if something else had occurred, or to express probability. If you tend to make a lot of excuses, this is the tense you use to make them. “I would have done it, but something important came up.”

  • Katy creía que yo habría corrido en la correra. – Katy believe that I would have run in the race.
  • Nosotros habríamos comido, pero no teníamos hambre. – We would have eaten, but we weren’t hungry.
  • Habría habido un desfile. – There had to have been a parade.

How to Form the Conditional Perfect Tense

Click here to learn more about the Conditional Perfect Tense – Learning Spanish Like Crazy Level 2 Nivel 2

  1. The conditional perfect tense is a compound tense, meaning that it will use the conditional form of the auxiliary verb Haber (to have).
  2. Use the needed form of haber + the verb with the past participle.
    • (yo) Hablar – Habr receives “ía” becoming “Habría hablado”. Yo habría hablado.
    • (tú) Hablar – Habr receives “ías” becoming “Habrías hablado”. Tú habrías hablado.
    • (Usted, él, ella) Hablar – Habr receives “ía” becoming “Habría hablado”. Usted habría hablado. Él habría hablado. Ella habría hablado.
    • (nosotros/as) Hablar – Habr receives “íamos” becoming “Habríamos hablado”. Nosotros/as habríamos hablado.
    • (vosotros/as) Hablar – Habr receives “íais” becoming “Habríais hablado”. Vosotros/as habríais hablado.
    • (Ustedes, ellos, ellas) Hablar – Habr receives “ían” becoming “Habrían hablado”. Ustedes habrían hablado. Ellos habrían hablado. Ellas habrían hablado.
  3. For verbs that normally end with ER and IR, add the same endings as the AR verbs to the conditional root of Haber, but use the normal past participle with the verb itself.
    • (yo) Comer – Habr receives “ía” becoming “Habría comido”. Yo habría comido.
    • (tú) Comer – Habr receives “ías” becoming “Habrías comido”. Tú habrías comido.
    • (Usted, él, ella) Comer – Habr receives “ía” becoming “Habría comido”. Usted habría comido. Él habría comido. Ella habría comido.
    • (nosotros/as) Comer – Habr receives “íamos” becoming “Habríamos comido”. Nosotros/as habríamos comido.
    • (vosotros/as) Comer – Habr receives “íais” becoming “Habríais comido”. Vosotros/as habríais comido.
    • (Ustedes, ellos, ellas) Comer – Habr receives “ían” becoming “Habrían comido”. Ustedes habrían comido. Ellos habrían comido. Ellas habrían comido.
    • (yo) Vivir – Habr receives “ía” becoming “Habría vivido”. Yo habría vivido.
    • (tú) Vivir – Habr receives “ías” becoming “Habrías vivido”. Tú habrías vivido.
    • (Usted, él, ella) Vivir – Habr receives “ía” becoming “Habría vivido”. Usted habría vivido. Él habría vivido. Ella habría vivido.
    • (nosotros/as) Vivir – Habr receives “íamos” becoming “Habríamos vivido”. Nosotros/as habríamos vivido.
    • (vosotros/as) Vivir – Habr receives “íais” becoming “Habríais vivido”. Vosotros/as habríais vivido.
    • (Ustedes, ellos, ellas) Vivir – Habr receives “ían” becoming “Habrían vivido”. Ustedes habrían vivido. Ellos habrían vivido. Ellas habrían vivido.
  • Here are the conjugated verbs once again with their meanings.
    • Habr+ía=yo habría hablado (I would have spoken), yo habría comido (I would have eaten), yo habría vivido (I would have lived)
    • Habr+ías=tú habrías hablado (you would have spoken), tú habrías comido (you would have eaten), tú habrías vivido (you would have lived)
    • Habr+ía=Usted habría hablado (you (formal) would have spoken), él habría hablado (he would have spoken), ella habría hablado (she would have spoken)
    • Habr+ía=Usted habrá comido (you (formal) would have eaten), él habría comido (he would have eaten), ella habría comido (she would have eaten)
    • Habr+ía=Usted habría vivido (you (formal) would have lived), él habría vivido (he would have lived), ella habría vivido (she would have lived)
    • Habr+íamos=nosotros/as habríamos hablado (we would have spoken), nosotros/as habríamos comido (we would have eaten), nosotros/as habríamos vivido (we would have lived)
    • Habr+íais= vosotros/as habríais hablado (you all (informal) would have spoken), vosotros/as habríais comido (you all (informal) would have eaten), vosotros/as habríais vivido (you all (informal) would have lived)
    • Habr+ían=Ustedes habrían hablado (you all (formal) would have spoken), Ustedes habrían comido (you all (formal) would have eaten), Ustedes habrían vivido (you all (formal) would have lived)
    • Habr+ían=ellos habrían hablado (they (males or a mixed group) would have spoken), ellos habrían comido (they (males or a mixed group) would have eaten), ellos habrían vivido (they (males or a mixed group) would have lived)
    • Habr+ían=ellas habrían hablado (they (all females) would have spoken), ellas habrían comido (they (all females) would have eaten), ellas habrían vivido (they (all females) would have lived)

    Conditional Perfect Tense and Reflexive Verbs

    The reflexive pronoun will appear in front of the conjugated form of Haber.

    • Ducharse – to take a shower
    • me habría duchado
    • te habrías duchado
    • se habría duchado
    • nos habríamos duchado
    • os habríais duchado
    • se habrían duchado

    Hay and the Conditional Perfect Tense

    When you use the conditional perfect tense of the word “Hay”, which means “there is” or “there are” you will use “habría habido” – there would have been.

    • Habría habido un accidente, pero vi el otro carro justo a tiempo. – There would have been an accident, but I saw the other car just in time.
    • Habría habido una buena cosecha, pero no lovía durante meses. – There would have been a good crop, but it didn’t rain for months.

    When you want to say “it would have been necessary to” you will use “Habría habido que” + infinitive.

    • Habría habido que correr diez millas para evitar las patrullas. – It would have been necessary to run ten miles in order to avoid the patrols.

    When to Use the Conditional Perfect Tense

    Mainly, there are three situations in which you will use the conditional perfect tense: when something would have happened, when something would have happened if something else had occurred, and to express probability.

    It Would Have Happened

    Quite simply, if something would have happened, use the conditional perfect tense.

    • Ella me dijo que no habría podido venir. – She told me that she wouldn’t have been able to come.
    • Jeff sabía que ella habría mentido a sus amigas. – Jeff knew that she would have lied to her friends.

    It Would Have Happened, But…

    If something would have happened if another thing had been possible, use the conditional perfect tense. The words “but” or “if”

    • Mary habría hablado más, pero nadie la escuchaban. – Mary would have spoken more, but nobody was listening to her.
    • Nosotros habríamos ido a España si tuvieramos el dinero. – We would have gone to Spain if we had the money.

    Expressing Probability

    Use the conditional perfect tense to express probability, or when something just had to have happened or had to have been. In reference to times and dates, “habría sido” can be used to say, “it must have been.”

    • ¿Habrían comido la cebiche? – I wonder if they had eaten the cebiche.
    • Habría habido un concierto. – There had to have been a concert.
    • Habrían sido las cuatro cuando él murió. – It must have been four o’clock when he died.

     

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    Click here to learn more about the Conditional Perfect Tense – Learning Spanish Like Crazy Level 2 Nivel 2
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