Unit 16: Translation considerations (part 5)
16.6 The Preterite Perfect Tense
The preterite perfect tense is formed by the preterite of the auxiliary verb haber + past participle:
|yo||hube salido||I had left|
|tú||hubiste salido||you (fam. s.) had left|
|él, ella, Ud.||hubo salido||he/she/you (form. s.) had left|
|nosotros||hubimos salido||we had left|
|vosotros||hubisteis salido||you (fam.pl.) had left|
|ellos, ellas, Uds.||hubieron salido||they/ you (form. pl. [fam. pl. in L.A.]) had left|
The preterite perfect tense is an “alternate” form of the past perfect tense (e.g., había salido) and translates the same (“had left”). It was routinely used in Old Spanish and is still seen today, almost exclusively in literature (and almost never heard in speech). It is only used after conjunctions of time: después (de) que, luego que, apenas (“hardly,” “barely”), así que, en cuanto, no bien (all three translating as “as soon as”), cuando, tan pronto como, when one action takes place immediately after another, the latter almost always in the preterite tense:
|Así que le hubimos hablado, nos fuimos.||As soon as we had spoken to him, we left.|
|Apenas me hube graduado, se murió mi padre.||I had barely graduated and (when) my father died.
No sooner had I graduated, my father died.