El Infinitivo Compuesto

Perfect infinitive

In Spanish the grammatical structure formed by the auxiliary verb haber in the infinitive followed by a past participle of another verb is called El Infinitivo Compuesto. This structure is very often used with modal verbs in different tenses, for example:

  • Miguel debe haber ido al cine. (Miguel must  have gone to the cinema.)
  • Miguel debería haber ido al cine. (Miguel should  have gone to the cinema.)
  • Ana podría haber estudiado en Oxford. (Ana could have studied at Oxford.)

El infinitivo compuesto can also be found on its own in different types of sentences, as a subject for example:

  • Haber hecho este master es la mejor idea que he tenido. (Doing this masters is the best idea I ever had.)
  • Haber venido aquí ha sido un error. (Coming here has been a mistake.)

Clever stuff happening!