Perfect Infinitive

Infinitivo compuesto

The Spanish perfect infinitive indicates an action that occurred before the action of the main verb, but only when the subject of both verbs is the same. The perfect infinitive sounds awkward in English – we usually change it to another tense or reword the sentence completely, as you can see in the following examples:

Espero haber terminado antes del mediodía.   I hope to have finished (to finish) by noon.
Gracias por habernos invitado.   Thank you for having invited us (for inviting us).

The Spanish perfect infinitive is a compound tense formed with the infinitive of the auxiliary verb haber plus the past participle of the main verb. 

haber hablado   haber comido haber ido

Since the infinitive auxiliary verb is unconjugated, the past infinitive is the same for all subjects. In addition, the past participle is invariable.

Quisiera haber comido…   I want to have eaten…
Ella quisiera haber comido…   She wants to have eaten…
Quisiéramos haber comido…   We want to have eaten…

Using the Spanish perfect infinitive

A. Modify the verb in the main clause:

Se disculpó por haber olvidado   He apologized for forgetting
¿Recuerdas haber ido a España?   Do you remember going to Spain?

B. Modify the adjective in the main clause:

Estoy encantada de haberte visto I’m delighted to see you.
Era necesario haberlo terminado. It was necessary to have it finished.

C. With the preposition después (after):

Después de haber comido, fui al parque   After eating, I went to the park
Quería viajar después de haber terminado mis estudios   I wanted to travel after finishing my studies

D. When expressing gratitude:

Gracias por habernos ayudado.   Thank you for helping us.
Gracias por haber venido.   Thanks for coming.

Notes on word order

Unlike other compound tenses, object pronouns used with the perfect infinitive are attached to the end of the auxiliary – learn more.

Después de haberte visto…   After seeing you…
Gracias por haberme ayudado.   Thanks for helping me.

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