Compound tenses are formed by an auxiliary verb and a verb of the action that is expressed. This article treats all compound tenses in Spanish.

In Spanish compound tenses are expressions with the auxiliary verb haber and the participle (-ado or -ido) of the action.

Past perfect tense

The past perfect (pretérito perfecto compuesto) is used to express an action in the past but near the present; It is common to use the following temporary expressions: hoy (today), esta mañana (this morning), este mes (this month), este fin de semana (this weekend). The form: haber (presente) + participio. For example:

Hoy he visitado mi hermano.
Today I've visited my brother.

Pretérito pluscuamperfecto

It is used to express actions in the past realised at a given moment in the past. The form: haber (pretérito imperfecto) + participio. For example:

Cuando llegué a casa, Carlos había salido para el Instituto.
When I arrived at home, Carlos had gone for school.

Pretérito anterior

The preterite perfect or past anterior is used to express an accion that occured directly before another action in the past. For example:

Después de que hubimos comido, fuimos al supermercado.
After we had lunch, we went to the supermarket.

Futuro compuesto

The future compound tense is used to express future actions that have taken place before another future. The form: haber (futuro) + participio. For example:

Yo saldré al escenario y tu ya habrás subido el telón.

Present participle / Gerund

The gerund (gerundio) ends with -iendo or -ando.

The gerund is a form which is used to express actions that are taking place.

Está lloviendo.
It is raining.
Laura estaba leyendo un libro.
Laura was reading a book.