Estoy leyendo los cuentos en español de Penguin (soy un autodidacta de español). En uno de los cuentos hay la oracion: 'A los Noriega, ¡zas!, los hubiera borrado.' que esta traducido a ingles en esta forma: 'You should have struck off the Noriegas just like that.'

Alguien puede explica el uso de 'hubiera' en vez de deberia haber borrado' o algo así.

  • Hi! Welcome to the community. Have you learned already the subjuntivo? Do you understand the difference between subjuntivo and condicional? Sep 22, 2019 at 9:30
  • Yes 'hubiera' is subjunctive imperfect. 'Habria' would be conditional. But I am interested in why the subjucntive imperfect is used here, as the parrallek text translation seems strange. Sep 22, 2019 at 9:44
  • @Samuel Keays The tense is actually the pluperfect subjunctive grammar.spanishintexas.org/verbs/subjunctive-pluperfect I would say that in your example it’s being used to express a wish that something had happened in the past
    – Traveller
    Sep 22, 2019 at 10:03

1 Answer 1


Some tenses and verb forms can be used interchangeably as they express the same meaning in some cases.

This can be the case with the pluperfect subjunctive and the form "debería" followed by a perfect infinitive: both can be used to express regret or reproach.

  • Te perdiste lo mejor de la fiesta. Hubieras venido antes.
  • Te perdiste lo mejor de la fiesta. Deberías haber venido antes.

(You missed the best fun of the party. You should have come earlier.)

Similarly, the sentences proposed can be used to express regret on the part of the speaker:

  • Hubiera borrado a los Noriega.
  • Debería haber borrado a los Noriega.

(I wish I had eliminated them, but I didn't.)

Note: There seems to be some person inconsistency in the sentences as transcribed: 'A los Noriega, ¡zas!, los hubiera borrado' has a first person as subject, while 'You should have struck off the Noriegas just like that' has a second person as subject. Here follows a transcription of the part in question. It seems to me that the second person was used to mean: If I were you, I would have struck the Noriegas off -> You should have struck the Noriegas off.

Short stories in Spanish


  • I noticed that too but I decided to go with a working hypothesis of usted. Who knows.... Sep 22, 2019 at 16:41
  • @aparente001 It doesn't seem to be the case. See above.
    – Gustavson
    Sep 22, 2019 at 19:14
  • Good catch..... Sep 23, 2019 at 1:02

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