Using haber to say would have [done something]

In Spanish, to express that someone "would have [done something]",  referring to the past, we use auxiliary verb haber.

haber [ìn the conditional simple] + participle of main verb

Have a look and listen to the following examples:

Yo habría invitado a menos gente a la fiesta.
I would have invited fewer people to the party.

Él no te habría querido tanto como yo.
He would not have loved you as much as me.

Ellos dicen que habrían invertido su dinero en algo diferente.
They say that they would have invested their money in something different.

¿Qué habrías hecho tú en mi lugar?
What would you have done in my situation?

While in English there is the extra word would, in Spanish we do not have any extra word, we just conjugate the auxiliary verb haber in the conditional for "would have".

Also remember that compound verbs cannot be split by other words, such as pronouns, or adverbs like no.

These are incorrect:

  • ¿Qué habrías  hecho en mi lugar?
  • Él habría no te querido tanto como yo.

These are correct:

  • ¿Qué habrías hecho tú en mi lugar?
  • Él no te habría querido tanto como yo.

 

Note on Hubiera/hubiese

Sometimes haber in the conditional form (habría, habrías...) can be replaced by haber in the imperfect subjunctive form (hubiera/hubiese, hubieras/hubieses...). However habría cannot replace hubiera/hubiese in phrases that trigger the subjunctive. Here are some common examples:

Si hubieses llegado antes te hubiera llevado en mi coche.
Si hubieses llegado antes te habría llevado en mi coche
If you had arrived earlier I would have given you a lift.

A Antonio le hubiera gustado estudiar medicina.
A Antonio le habría gustado estudiar medicina.
Antonio would have liked to study medicine.

BUT

Structures that require the subjunctive must use the subjunctive and not the conditional. For example, verbs that express emotion trigger the subjunctive:

Me alegró mucho que te hubieran/hubiesen seleccionado para ese papel. 
Me alegró mucho que te habrían seleccionado para ese papel.
It made me really happy that they had selected you for that role.

 

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

¿Qué habrías hecho tú en mi lugar?
What would you have done in my situation?


Yo habría invitado a menos gente a la fiesta.
I would have invited fewer people to the party.


Ellos dicen que habrían invertido su dinero en algo diferente.
They say that they would have invested their money in something different.


Él no te habría querido tanto como yo.
He would not have loved you as much as me.


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