Conditional Perfect in Spanish Grammar

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What is the conditional perfect in Spanish?

The conditional perfect (condicional compuesto), is a Spanish compound tense. It is used to express possibility in the past i.e. actions that could or would have taken place under different circumstances.

Learn when to use the conditional perfect in Spanish grammar and master the conjugation of regular and irregular verbs in this tense. Then test your knowledge in the exercises. In tense comparison, you will find an overview of all the tenses in Spanish grammar.


—¿Qué habría hecho usted en mi lugar?

—Pues no lo sé, supongo que le habría preguntado su opinión sobre el matrimonio antes.

—Si hubiera conocido su opinión, jamás le habría propuesto matrimonio, es cierto.

When to use the conditional perfect in Spanish

The conditional perfect expresses:

  • things that would have, could have or might have happened in the past, but didn’t
¿Qué habría hecho usted en mi lugar?What would you have done in my place?
Supongo que le habría preguntado su opinión.I guess I would have asked for his opinion.
Si hubiera conocido su opinión, jamás le habría propuesto matrimonio.If I had known his opinion, I never would have proposed.
  • a reproach about something that could have been done, but wasn’t: poder + infinitive (formal language)
Habría podido decir algo antes.You could have said something sooner.

¿habría podido…? vs. ¿podría haber…?

The use of the conditional perfect of poder followed by an infinitive is mainly restricted to formal language.

This turn of phrase is often replaced by podría haber + participle.

Podría haber dicho algo antes.He could have said something sooner.

How to conjugate the conditional perfect in Spanish

To conjugate verbs in the conditional perfect, we use the condicional simple of the verb haber + participle.

Person haber Participle
yo habría




él/ella/usted habría
nosotros/-as habríamos
vosotros/-as habríais
ellos/ellas/ustedes habrían

How to form the Spanish participle

We form the Spanish participle by adding -ado or -ido to the root of the verb.

  • add -ado to the root of -ar verbs
    hablar → habladospeak → spoken
  • add -ido to the root of -er and -ir verbs
    aprender → aprendidolearn → learned
    vivir → vividolive → lived


When the root of the verb ends in a vowel, the -i of the ending -ido takes an accent: -ído.

leer → leídoread → read
oír → oídohear → heard
traer → traídobring → brought

Note: Participles that contain a dipthong (weak vowel + weak vowel) such as construido or huido do not take an accent.

Check out our Spanish-language page on accents to learn more about dipthongs.

Irregular participles

Certain verbs have an irregular participle form as shown in the table below:

Verb Irregular Participle Regular Participle
abrir abierto
cubrir cubierto
decir dicho
escribir escrito
hacer hecho
freír* frito freído
imprimir* impreso imprimido
morir muerto
poner puesto
proveer* provisto proveído
romper roto
satisfacer satisfecho
suscribir** suscrito/suscripto
ver visto
volver vuelto

*Some verbs have two participle forms, one regular and one irregular. There is no difference in meaning and they can be used interchangeably.

**The participle suscripto is used in certain countries in Latin America.

Derivative irregular verbs

Many verbs are derivative; they are derived from irregular verbs by adding a prefix. Their participles are also irregular:

encubrir → encubiertohide → hidden
descubrir → descubiertodiscover → discovered
componer → compuestocompose → composed
posponer → pospuestopostpone → postponed
proponer → propuestopropose → proposed
revolver → revueltostir → stirred
resolver → resueltoresolve → resolved
devolver → devueltoreturn → returned
deshacer → deshechoundo → undone
predecir → predichopredict → predicted
prever → previstoforecast → forecasted

Note: although derived from the irregular verb romper, the participle of the verb corromper is regular.

corromper → corrompidocorrupt → corrupted
not: corroto