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Haber (to have) Conditional / Subjunctive
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Video Lesson
Summary of Lesson
Looking at how ‘haber’ is used with the present subjunctive tense. Formation rules and in what situations it may be used.
Looking at how ‘haber’ is used with the past subjunctive tense and with ‘if statements’.
How and when ‘haber’ is used with the conditional tense (would have). Conjugation patterns.
How and when ‘haber’ is used with ‘could’ and ‘should’. Conjugation patterns.
Deciding which tense to use with ‘haber’, the conditional or the subjunctive!
   
  What you can learn from this lesson
   
Understanding how the verb ‘haber’ is used to express or talk about certain situations that occur both in the conditional and subjunctive tenses.
Being able to correctly form sentences in the conditional and subjunctive tenses when using ‘haber’. Understanding when ‘haber’ should be used in its base form and when stem and ending changes occur.
Knowing how to correctly conjugate the verb ‘haber’ in the present and past subjunctive tenses and the conditional tenses with would, could and should. Recognising formation patterns.
Understanding how the conditional and subjunctive tenses are used in comparison to how they may be used in English.
Knowing in what situations the conditional and subjunctive tenses with ‘haber’ may be used to express the same meaning.
An appreciation of the formation rules that are sometimes used with ‘haber’ and the past subjunctive tense in older style Spanish texts.
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PART 1

 

This first part of the lesson looks at how the auxiliary verb ‘haber’ is used in conjunction with the present subjunctive tense. For a general understanding of how the verb ‘haber’ is used to form other tenses take a look at the lesson on the perfect tenses. This lesson concentrates on how the verb ‘haber’ is used in more complex sentence structures.

 

In this lesson different formations of ‘haber’ are illustrated by using regular verb examples. Again to understand how irregular verbs are formed with ‘haber’ take a look at the lesson on the perfect tenses.

 

The present subjunctive tense with ‘haber

 

The following example uses three regular verbs to illustrate how ‘haber’ is formed with the present subjunctive tense.

 

personal pronoun haber besar comer vivir
  (to have) (to kiss) (to eat) (to live)
yo haya besado comido vivido
hayas besado comido vivido
él/ella/usted haya besado comido vivido
nosotros/nosotras hayamos besado comido vivido
vosotros/vosotras hayáis besado comido vivido
ellos/ellas/ustedes hayan besado comido vivido

 

When the present subjunctive tense with ‘haber’ is used

 

1)      In the same types of sentences and situations where the present subjunctive tense might be used. Where a sentence has two different verbs and two different subjects and the first verb in the sentence is in either the present simple, future or imperative tense.

 

No creo que ellos hayan terminado todavía. - I don't think they have finished yet.

Me alegro que ella haya pasado el examen. - I’m happy that she passed the exam.

Él vendrá después de que yo haya salido. - He will come after I have left.

Espera hasta que ellos hayan regresado. - Wait until they have come back.

 

2)      As with the present subjunctive tense, ‘haber’ is sometimes used in sentences with the word cuando.

 

Cuando (tú) hayas terminado. - When you have finished.

Cuando ellos hayan regresado. - When they have come back.

 

PART 2

 

The second part of the lesson looks at how ‘haber’ is used with the past subjunctive tense. ‘Haber’ is usually used with the past subjunctive tense more frequently than it is used with the present subjunctive tense.

 

If you have studied the lesson on the past subjunctive tense you will know there are two ways of forming the tense. The same is true of the past subjunctive tense with ‘haber’. The first method of formation illustrated below is the most common. The second method may still be used however, especially in some older texts.

 

Formation method 1

 

personal pronoun haber besar comer vivir
  (to have) (to kiss) (to eat) (to live)
yo hubiera besado comido vivido
hubieras besado comido vivido
él/ella/usted hubiera besado comido vivido
nosotros/nosotras hubiéramos besado comido vivido
vosotros/vosotras hubierais besado comido vivido
ellos/ellas/ustedes hubieran besado comido vivido

 

Formation method 2

 

personal pronoun haber besar comer vivir
  (to have) (to kiss) (to eat) (to live)
yo hubiese besado comido vivido
hubieses besado comido vivido
él/ella/usted hubiese besado comido vivido
nosotros/nosotras hubiésemos besado comido vivido
vosotros/vosotras hubieseis besado comido vivido
ellos/ellas/ustedes hubiesen besado comido vivido

 

When the past subjunctive tense with ‘haber’ is used.

 

1) One of the most common ways in which ‘haber’ is used with the past subjunctive tense is with ‘if’ statements that convey hypothetical situations in the past.

 

Si él hubiera mirado diez segundos más temprano estaría vivo ahora.

If he were to have looked ten seconds earlier he would be alive now.

 

Si hubiéramos sabido acerca de las condiciónes no habríamos ido.

If we had know about the conditions we wouldn’t have gone.

 

2)      It is also possible for ‘haber’ to be used in hypothetical sentences in the past that are not ‘if’ statements.

 

Ellos hubieran sido los primeros concursantes para estar en el programa.

They were to have been the first contestants to appear on the program.

 

The past subjunctive tense is often used interchangeably with the conditional tense with ‘would’ and ‘haber’ (would have). This is looked at in part five of the lesson.

 

 

PART 3

 

The third part of this lesson looks at how ‘haber’ is used with the conditional tense ‘would’. The formation of ‘haber’ in this way is as follows:

 

personal pronoun haber besar comer vivir
  (to have) (to kiss) (to eat) (to live)
yo habría besado comido vivido
habrías besado comido vivido
él/ella/usted habría besado comido vivido
nosotros/nosotras habríamos besado comido vivido
vosotros/vosotras habriáis besado comido vivido
ellos/ellas/ustedes habrían besado comido vivido

 

When the conditional tense with ‘would’ is used with ‘haber

 

The conditional tense with ‘would’ and ‘haber’ is used in a similar way that you might expect it to be used in English.

 

Yo le habría besado pero se salió. - I would have kissed him but he left.

Él lo habría comido peroestuvo lleno. - He would have eaten it but he was full.

Ellos habrían dicho si. - They would have said yes.

 

Often the use of ‘haber’ and the conditional tense ‘would’ is interchangeable with the use of the past subjunctive tense and ‘haber’. This is looked at in part five of the lesson.

 

PART 4

 

Part four of the lesson looks at how ‘haber’ is used with the conditional tenses ‘could’ and ‘should’. The way ‘haber’ is used with ‘could’ and ‘should’ is a little different to the formations we have looked at so far. In these situations the formation of haber does not change. It is always the formation of ‘could’ or ‘should’ that changes.

 

The important thing to remember when forming sentences with ‘haber’ and ‘could’ and ‘should’ is that one of these conditional tenses will always go before ‘haber’ in its infinitive form.

 

CONDITIONAL TENSE + HABER + VERB + PAST PARTICIPLE

 

The following examples show the various formations of ‘could’ and ‘should’ with ‘haber’ when using the verb ‘comer’ (to eat).

 

Could

personal pronoun poder haber verb + past
  (to be able) (to have) participle
yo podría haber comido
podrías haber comido
él/ella/usted podría haber comido
nosotros/nosotras podríamos haber comido
vosotros/vosotras podríais haber comido
ellos/ellas/ustedes podrían haber comido

 

Should

personal pronoun deber haber verb + past
  (to owe/owe a duty to (to have) participle
yo debería haber comido
deberías haber comido
él/ella/usted debería haber comido
nosotros/nosotras deberíamos haber comido
vosotros/vosotras deberíais haber comido
ellos/ellas/ustedes deberían haber comido

 

Yo podría haber comido. - I could have eaten.

Yo debería haber comido. - I should have eaten.

 

PART 5

 

The final part of this lesson looks at when the past subjunctive tense with ‘haber’ or the conditional tense with ‘would’ and ‘haber’ can be used interchangeably. Whether or not these two forms should be used interchangeably is actually a subject of debate amongst academics. Most people agree that such a usage is grammatically wrong and reflects a degeneration of the Spanish language, but many people who speak the Spanish language still use it.

 

Here are some examples of how ‘haber’ in the conditional and subjunctive tenses might be used interchangeably.

 

Que país (tú) hubieras visitado primero si fueras él? - less correct

Que país (tú) habrías visitado primero si fueras él? - more correct

What country would you have visited first if you were him?

 

Si yo la hubiera visto antes yo hubiera dicho algo. - less correct

Si yo la hubiera visto antes yo habría dicho algo. - more correct

If I had seen her before I would have said something.

 

From the above examples you might notice that the interchangeability occurs when the conditional tense is replaced with the subjunctive tense rather than the other way around.

 

Our advise on this matter is as follows:

 

1)      Do not use the conditional tense with ‘haber’ instead of using the past subjunctive tense with ‘haber’ where the past subjunctive tense is the obvious grammatical choice.

 

Solamente si yo hubiera ganado la lotería. - correct

Only if I were to have won the lottery.

 

Solamente si yo habría ganado la lotería - incorrect

Only if I would have won the lottery!!!!

 

2)      Make your own choice about whether you want to replace the conditional tense with ‘haber’ with the past subjunctive tense with ‘haber’. In today’s modern Spanish language it is really a matter of personal preference.

 

Si yo hubiera ganado yo lo habría comprado. - correct

If I were to have won I would have bought it.

 

Si yo hubiera ganado yo lo hubiera comprado. - correct

If I were to have won I would have bought it.

 

That concludes this lesson on ‘haber’ with the conditional and subjunctive tenses. If you have not done so already watch the actual video for this lesson and then try one of the associated quizzes to test your understanding.

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