Using haber + participle for you should/shouldn't have done something

In European Spanish we can express "you should/shouldn't [have done something]", as a reproach, by using this structure:

Haber/No haber + past participle of main verb

For example:

-Qué poco dinero tengo en el banco. -¡Haber ahorrado un poco más!-I hardly have any money in the bank. -You should have saved a bit more!

-Llevo días sin domir. -¡Habérmelo dicho, hombre! No sabía nada.-I haven't slept in days. -You should have told me, mate! I didn't know.

-No me gusta nada mi trabajo nuevo. -Pues, haberlo pensado mejor antes de decir que sí.-I don't like my new job at all. -Well, you should have thought about it more carefully before saying yes.

-El fontanero me ha cobrado mucho por arreglarme el grifo. -¡Haber llamado a Juan! Es un manitas y super barato.-The plumber charged me a lot for fixing the tap [US: faucet]. -You should have called Juan! He is a handyman and super cheap.

-Me cuesta mucho entender este tema. -¡No haber faltado tanto a clase!-I find this topic very difficult to understand. -You shouldn't have skipped so many classes!

-Cristina, esta noche estás insoportable. -¡No haberme invitado a cenar entonces!-Cristina, you are unbearable tonight. -Then, you shouldn't have invited me to dinner!

It often uses direct and indirect pronouns. Remember that:

  • they are placed immediately after "haber", as part of the same word.
  • If there are two different pronouns, i.e. direct and indirect pronouns, the indirect one goes first, then the direct pronoun:

¡Habérmelo dicho, hombre!
(Lit: You should have told me it.)

me = indirect pronoun; lo = direct pronoun

One way to remember this structure is to see it as a construction where we are omitting the first modal verb: "deberías/deberíais"

For example, the literal translation of:

"You should have told me."

is:

Deberías/deberíais habérmelo dicho. 

You omit "deberías/deberíais" and use the haber + participle construction:

Deberías/deberíais habérmelo dicho. = ¡Habérmelo dicho!

Bear in mind that sometimes, (more often in Latin America), El Pluscuamperfecto de Subjuntivo may also be used with the same purpose. For example:

-Cristina, esta noche estás insoportable. -¡No me hubieras invitado a cenar entonces!-Cristina, you are unbearable tonight. -Then, you shouldn't have invited me to dinner!

-Llevo días sin dormir. -¡Me lo hubieras dicho, hombre! No sabía nada.-I haven't slept in days. -You should have told me, mate! I didn't know.

 In this case, the pronouns are placed in front of "hubiera/hubiese".

 See also How to say "must have [done something] with the verb deber

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Examples and resources

-Me cuesta mucho entender este tema. -¡No haber faltado tanto a clase!-I find this topic very difficult to understand. -You shouldn't have skipped so many classes!
-Cristina, esta noche estás insoportable. -¡No me hubieras invitado a cenar entonces!-Cristina, you are unbearable tonight. -Then, you shouldn't have invited me to dinner!
-El fontanero me ha cobrado mucho por arreglarme el grifo. -¡Haber llamado a Juan! Es un manitas y super barato.-The plumber charged me a lot for fixing the tap [US: faucet]. -You should have called Juan! He is a handyman and super cheap.
-Llevo días sin domir. -¡Habérmelo dicho, hombre! No sabía nada.-I haven't slept in days. -You should have told me, mate! I didn't know.
-No me gusta nada mi trabajo nuevo. -Pues, haberlo pensado mejor antes de decir que sí.-I don't like my new job at all. -Well, you should have thought about it more carefully before saying yes.
-Qué poco dinero tengo en el banco. -¡Haber ahorrado un poco más!-I hardly have any money in the bank. -You should have saved a bit more!
-Llevo días sin dormir. -¡Me lo hubieras dicho, hombre! No sabía nada.-I haven't slept in days. -You should have told me, mate! I didn't know.
-Cristina, esta noche estás insoportable. -¡No haberme invitado a cenar entonces!-Cristina, you are unbearable tonight. -Then, you shouldn't have invited me to dinner!
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