Inti qieghed hawn: Grammar > Verbs > Using the conditional perfect

Using the conditional perfect
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Tradott mill-Ingliz minn ...

ik zou hebben/zijn + pp
je zou hebben/zijn + pp
hij zou hebben/zijn + pp
we zouden hebben/zijn + pp
jullie zouden hebben/zijn + pp
ze zouden hebben/zijn + pp

We use the conditional perfect refers to hypothetical situations in the past. Just like simple conditional tense, it mainly serves to express a conditional clause: If certain criteria had been met, then a certain hypothetical situation would have been the case.

In the examples below, the verbs of the conditional perfect are written in blue.

Als je goed had opgelet, zou je hebben gemerkt dat... If you had paid attention, you would have noticed that...
Het zou nog veel erger zijn geweest als de motor het ook had begeven. It would have been a lot worse if the engine had also broken down.

In English, we cannot use the conditional tense on both sides of the comma. If the 'then-clause' is in the conditional perfect tense, the 'if-clause' usually gets the pluperfect tense.

In this respect, the Dutch are very easy-going: It does not matter which clause gets the conditional perfect. Moreover, you can completely do without the conditional perfect and still refer to a past hypothetical event (see the fourth example below).

The verbs of the conditional perfect are displayed in blue.

Four ways to say the same thing Literal translation
Als ik iets later was vertrokken, zou ik in de file hebben gestaan. If I had left a bit later, I would have been in a traffic jam.
Als ik iets later zou zijn vertrokken, zou ik in de file hebben gestaan. If I would have left a bit later, I would have been in a traffic jam.
Als ik iets later zou zijn vertrokken, had ik in de file gestaan. If I would have left a bit later, I had been in a traffic jam.
Als ik iets later was vertrokken, had ik in de file gestaan. If I had left a bit later, I had been in a traffic jam.

Although we do use the conditional perfect in Dutch, the last example shows us a very common way to refer to past hypothetical situations. We often do not use the conditional perfect at all. Instead, we opt for the pluperfect tense?.

Using the pluperfect to refer to past hypothetical events

In Dutch, we often use the pluperfect tense? to express a hypothetical situation in the past.

Ik had dat zeker niet gedaan. I certainly would not have done that.
Als je op tijd was geweest, dan had je het al afgehad. If you had been on time, (then) you would have finished it already.

Another way of writing an 'als-subclause' is to leave out 'als' and to invert the finite form (meaning that the finite verb and subject switch places):

Was je op tijd geweest, dan had je het al afgehad. Had you been on time, (then) you would have finished it already.

Should have

For "should have [past participle]", the Dutch say: "hadden moeten* [infinitive]." The Dutch construction is in the pluperfect tense?, which we often use instead of the conditional perfect.

Ik had dat niet moeten zeggen. I should not have said that.
Ik had mijn tentamen beter moeten voorbereiden. I should have prepared for the test better.

(*) Normally, the verbs that follow after hebben?, worden?, or zijn? are past participles: Here, we find an infinitive (moeten). For the explanation: see past participle turning into an infinitive?.

A very useful web site is link esternawww.verbix.com.

Note that the examples above give you the unstressed personal pronouns?. Some pronouns change when they are stressed in a phrase: je/jij, we/wij, ze/zij (both singular and plural).


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L-ahhar aggornament May 03, 2007 ::