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Learn ganar conjugation in Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto

ganar means: to win, to earn, to gain
Click to see all conjugation charts of ganar in every tense

In this Spanish conjugation lesson we are going to learn how to inflect the verb ganar in the Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto tense of the Indicativo mood. It means we will see step by step how to create and translate forms of each grammatical person.

How to translate Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto to English

Note that the English phrases provided below next to each conjugation are not direct translations from Spanish to English. They are usually the closest general equivalents. The example differences are:
  • In Spanish conjugation, there is the form usted in the third person singular. But this person does not translate to the English third person singular. It translates to the so called formal you and uses the inflected form which is most often represented as he/she/it in English conjugation charts.
  • Similar situation happens in the third person plural, where ustedes translates to the English plural formal you but uses the form which corresponds to the they form in English.
  • Tenses are used differently in Spanish and English, so the actual translation should always take into account the context and focus on translating the meaning, not just words.
  • In both languages each verb may have multiple meanings and not every meaning translates directly to the other language. Here also, the context and focusing on the particular meaning helps to create the most accurate translation.


Step by step instructions

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

A compound tense is indicated by the ending of the auxiliary verb, not by the ending of the main verb, which is the case in Spanish simple tenses.In the compound tenses, every person’s form consist of two parts:
  • An inflected 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
See 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 ganar only here.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 start by splitting the infinitive into a stem and an ending. It’s really easy to do – just 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 in case of our verb:
  • the stem is: gan-
  • and the ending is: -ar
Based on the ending of the infinitive we can tell that ganar 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: ganado.

And now, as we understand how both parts used by this tense are created separately, we can proceed with creating the final conjugation forms.
In order to create the first person singular form, we need to take the first person singular form of haber conjugated in Pretérito Imperfecto de Indicativo, which is había. To that we add the Participio ganado to get había ganado:
  • yo había ganado – I had won
Next, to create the form for the second person singular, we again simply take the second person singular form of haber from the Pretérito Imperfecto de Indicativo tense, and that is habías. And to this auxiliary verb we add the Participio ganado (so the exact same word as previously) to get habías ganado:
  • tú habías ganado – you had won
Similarly, if we want to create the form for the third person singular, we conjugate haber in the 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 ganado:
  • él había ganado – he had won
  • ella había ganado – she had won
  • usted había ganado – (formal) you had won
The first person plural has the form habíamos ganado. 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 ganar: ganado to get habíamos ganado:
  • nosotros habíamos ganado – we had won
  • nosotras habíamos ganado – (feminine) we had won
Again, let’s do the same for the second person plural. We need to get the inflected form of the verb haber in the Pretérito Imperfecto de Indicativo tense, second person plural, and that’s habíais. Next, we take our unchanged Participio, we join them, and we get habíais ganado:
  • vosotros habíais ganado – (plural) you had won
  • vosotras habíais ganado – (feminine, plural) you had won
And finally, the last grammatical person on the list, the third person plural, has the form habían ganado. 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 Imperfecto conjugation. It is habían. We add the Participio of ganar again (ganado) to get habían ganado:
  • ellos habían ganado – they had won
  • ellas habían ganado – (feminine) they had won
  • ustedes habían ganado – (formal, plural) you had won

¡Ya está! The conjugation is now finished. That’s the final result:

yohabía ganadoI had won
habías ganadoyou had won
él/ella/ustedhabía ganadohe/she/it had won
nosotros/nosotrashabíamos ganadowe had won
vosotros/vosotrashabíais ganadoyou had won
ellos/ellas/ustedeshabían ganadothey had won
Click to see all conjugation charts of ganar in every tense

But do not end your session yet – it is very important to repeat and practice the material in order to remember it. Check below for next steps.

Next Steps to Perfection

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


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