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Learn estar conjugation in Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto step by step with detailed explanations

Image of estar conjugation in Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto
estar means: to be

In this lesson we will see how to conjugate the verb estar in the Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto tense of the Indicativo mood. It means we will see step by step how to create the following conjugation:

yohabía estado
habías estado
él/ella/ustedhabía estado
nosotros/nosotrashabíamos estado
vosotros/vosotrashabíais estado
ellos/ellas/ustedeshabían estado

The aim of our lessons is to show as much as possible the logic behind spelling corrections, exceptions and special cases. That way the amount of material which needs to be learned by heart will be minimal and the learning process will be more effective. It means learning quicker and with much less effort.

Step by step instructions

Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto is a compound tense (Spanish: compuesto). It means that all of its inflected forms consist of two words. In Spanish language, there are also simple tenses, where each conjugated verb form is one word long.

In a compound tense the endings of the auxiliary verb change, not the endings of the main verb, which is the case in Spanish simple tenses.

In the compound tenses, every person’s form consist of two parts:
  • A conjugated form of the auxiliary verb haber. In case of the Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto de Indicativo tense, we use the Pretérito Imperfecto de Indicativo (Imperfect) conjugation of haber
  • Past Participle, which is always the same in every compound tense for a given verb
Image of Compound
Image of est arCheck out the conjugation charts and this haber conjugation lesson to learn how to conjugate the auxiliary verb haber. That’s a separate topic, so for brevity we will focus on the parts derived from estar only in this lesson.

In order to create the Participio form, we need a stem and an ending. We use the stem of the infinitive of the main verb, and a single ending, which depends on the conjugation group of the main verb. So we need to begin by splitting the infinitive into a stem and an ending. It’s really easy to do – simply remove two letters from the end of the infinitive to get the ending – one of -ar, -er, -ir. What’s left is the stem.

So for estar:
  • the stem is: est-
  • and the ending is: -ar
Based on the ending of the infinitive we can tell that estar belongs to the -ar verb group. This group, in turn, uses the -ado ending in its Participio form. Putting all that together, our Participio is: estado.

Now, as we understand how both parts used by this tense are created separately, let’s move on with creating the final conjugation forms.
Image of -ado
Image of Conjugate haber in Pretérito Imperfecto ...In order to create the first person singular form, we simply take the first person singular form of haber conjugated in Pretérito Imperfecto de Indicativo, which is había. And to that we add the Participio estado to get había estado:
  • yo había estado

Next, to create the form for the second person singular, we again need to take the second person singular form of haber from the Pretérito Imperfecto de Indicativo tense, and it is habías. To this auxiliary verb we add the Participio estado (so the exact same word as previously) to get habías estado:
  • tú habías estado
Similarly, if we want to create the form for the third person singular, we conjugate haber in the Pretérito Imperfecto tense and we utilize the corresponding person’s form (third person singular), namely había. Then we also take the same Participio as for all other persons, and putting them together we get había estado:
  • él había estado
  • ella había estado
  • usted había estado

The first person plural has the form habíamos estado. It’s created by following the same logic as in the other persons. We first take the form of the first person plural from haber conjugation in the Pretérito Imperfecto de Indicativo tense: habíamos. Second, to this word we again add the Participio of estar: estado to get habíamos estado:
  • nosotros habíamos estado
  • nosotras habíamos estado
Image of ... create a common Participle ...
Image of ... join them into a compound formAgain, let’s do the same for the second person plural. We have to get the inflected form of the verb haber in the Pretérito Imperfecto de Indicativo tense, second person plural, and it is habíais. Next, we take our unchanged Participio, we join them, and we get habíais estado:
  • vosotros habíais estado
  • vosotras habíais estado

And finally, the last grammatical person on the list, the third person plural, has the form habían estado. We create it in the exact same manner as in all the other grammatical persons. We need the third person plural of haber first, from its Pretérito Imperfecto conjugation. It is habían. We add the Participio of estar again (estado) to get habían estado:
  • ellos habían estado
  • ellas habían estado
  • ustedes habían estado

This is it! The conjugation is now done. But don’t end your session yet – it is very important to repeat and practice the material in order to remember it. Check below for suggestions.

Next Steps

  • To practice this conjugation and test yourself try this Conjugation Exercise or the Memory Game
  • To see other conjugation lessons for this verb choose another tense:  
  • For exercises and examples related to estar visit our Exercise section
  • To see conjugation charts in all tenses for estar visit the Conjugator
  • To explore other learning materials visit the Study section

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