Using ya with El Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto

In Spanish, "ya", meaning "already", can be used with El Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto. Read and listen to these examples:

Ya había hecho la tarea cuando me echaste la bronca.I had already done the task when you told me off.

Ya habías entendido la explicación cuando el profesor te lo explicó.You had already understood the explanation when the teacher explained it to you.

Miguel había salido de casa ya cuando se acordó de las llaves.Miguel had already left the house when he remembered his keys.

Ya nos habíamos acostado cuando llegó el paquete.We had already gone to bed when the parcel arrived.

Cristina había pedido ya el entrante cuando yo llegué al restaurante.Cristina had already order her starter [US: appetizer] when I arrived at the restaurant.

Antes del partido en la tele, ya habíamos pedido las pizzas.Before the match on the TV, we had already ordered the pizzas.

Para las ocho y media, ya habías terminado el pastel.By eight thirty, you had already finished [baking] the cake.

Notice how we place "ya" either at the beginning of the verbal structure or right at the end of it. It cannot be placed between haber and the participle the way it is in English.

One could even place ya after other elements of the main sentence. See all the correct options here:

  • Carmen ya había comprado un coche nuevo.
  • Carmen había comprado ya un coche nuevo.
  • Carmen había comprado un coche nuevo ya.
  • Carmen había ya comprado un coche nuevo.

Carmen had already bought a new car.

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Examples and resources

Ya habías entendido la explicación cuando el profesor te lo explicó.You had already understood the explanation when the teacher explained it to you.
Ya nos habíamos acostado cuando llegó el paquete.We had already gone to bed when the parcel arrived.
Antes del partido en la tele, ya habíamos pedido las pizzas.Before the match on the TV, we had already ordered the pizzas.
Ya había hecho la tarea cuando me echaste la bronca.I had already done the task when you told me off.
Cristina había pedido ya el entrante cuando yo llegué al restaurante.Cristina had already order her starter [US: appetizer] when I arrived at the restaurant.
Miguel había salido de casa ya cuando se acordó de las llaves.Miguel had already left the house when he remembered his keys.
Para las ocho y media, ya habías terminado el pastel.By eight thirty, you had already finished [baking] the cake.
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