Duolingo is the most popular way to learn languages in the world. Best of all, it's 100% free!

"She had formed an opinion."

Translation:Ella había formado una opinión.

4 years ago


  • 16
  • 16
  • 14
  • 3
  • 379

As a native speaker, I'm not aware of all the existing rules. The "hubo/había" is very confusing and often leads to discussions.

"Había" is pretérito imperfecto (imperfect preterite?) used for impersonal statements, and "había + verb(participle) is plusquamperfect (this is just like in english)

"Hubo" is pretérito perfecto simple (simple perfect?)when used for impersonal statements, like rspreng meant. In this case, however, your question points towards "hubo+verb(participle)" which is a whole different situation called "antepretérito". I am not sure if there is actually an equivalent in english.

As a general rule, I would say that "hubo" is used for events or changes that have occured only once or whose termination is known (and especially if they occured all of a sudden).

"Ayer hubo un accidente" "El año pasado hubo una exposición" Notice that these two examples show an impersonal statement because "hubo" is not declining according to the subjects "accidente/exposición", but according to the 3rd person singular. The equivalent is "There was..." . This sentence construction is very common and this is how you will find "hubo" 99,99999% of the time.

There are cases in which you could make the usage of "hubo" more personal and make the verb decline according to the existing subject. This would be the antepretérito or pretérito anterior (pre-preterite) I mentioned. Even as a native speaker, I find it almost impossible to find good examples. "Ella hubo formado una opinión" or "Ellos hubieron formado una opinión" is not truly incorrect, but they require specific situations and contexts, for example:

"Cuando ella hubo formado una opinión, se fue" Meaning "Once she had formed an opinion, she left". The action of forming an opinion is prior to the action of leaving, which was also in the past.

"Una vez que ellos hubieron formado su opinión, decidieron expresarla" Meaning "Once they had formed an opinion, they decided to express it". They first formed an opinion (formed in that very precise moment) , and after they decided to express it.

The thing is, these sentence constructions sound REALLY WEIRD, even though they are grammatically correct. You will never hear a native speaker use "hubo" this way because it sounds very unnatural. You might find in in texts, but even that is unlikely.

A spanish speaker would pick another construction in order to say the same things:

"Cuando ella formó su opinión, se fue" "Una vez que ellos formaron su opinión, se fueron"

These sound VERY NATURAL. I know that the verb tenses are different, but "cuando" and "una vez que", allow these sentences to mean exactly the same as the sentences I constructed with "hubo", because these already indicate a certain moment in the universe's timeline, in this case, two actions occuring in the past, one after the other. This was the job of "hubo + verb (participle)", but with those words it's not necessary.

This is why, I totally advise you against using sentences like "Ella hubo formado una opinión". The construction is not common and should not be there without a context; it should not be used out of the blue. And as I told you, there are easier, more natural alternatives that you should think of first. I believe that I never use that strange construction, as a native speaker, and you won't have to either because you will never encounter a situation that requires you to say it that way only.

Ok, now to the "había" part :)

"Había", in impersonal constructions is used to describe a scenario and/or details that are in progress (if you don't add more words to define a certain moment, this remains open and does not imply a specific time in the past)

For example: "There were people on the street" - "había gente en la calle" (and NOT "hubo", because you are describing the scenario and not talking about an event that started and finished). You also know that this happened in the past, but you can't tell if it is still like that or not. It's just as impersonal as saying "hubo gente en la calle", but because "hubo" was used you can safely conclude that the people are no longer on the street.

When it comes to talking about people, I believe that plusquamperfect works just like in english. You use it for certain situations (honestly, I do not know which ones right now) and for reported speech (when you talk about what someone said). This is why "Ella había formado una opinión" is the literal translation of "She had formed an opinion".

I hope this helps. I know it seems a bit difficult, but it really isn't. Just avoid at all cost the "antepretérito" I construction I mentioned. You may as well forget that it exists.

4 years ago


As a general rule, I would say that "hubo" is used for events or changes that have occured only once or whose termination is known (and especially if they occured all of a sudden).

Thanks. I don't know if you're still around but this is very interesting. I have seen antepretérito constructions in writing, but didn't realise that it sounded unnatural in speech. You are saying that the antepretérito doesn't work here because it usually requires a secondary clause - 'She had formed an opinion' does not qualify as it lacks context due to no secondary clause.

However, here's an example I found in a book where antepretérito was used:

En cuanto hubo sonado el timbre, salió disparado a jugar = As soon as he (had) heard the bell, he ran out to play

So, I guess phrases like 'en cuanto', 'una vez' and 'tan pronto como' could all trigger this usage

5 months ago


ok, thanks. That's a lot, but good to know...

4 years ago


What you are saying is, if we use hubo in cases like this we should feel comfortable that it will be accepted by spanish speakers regardless of Duolingo's ruling.

3 years ago

  • 19
  • 11
  • 4

Muchos gracias por la explanación, es muy útil

2 years ago


why only "habia" accepted and not "hubo"?

4 years ago


I think 'hubo' is a stand-alone verb like 'hay' and means 'there was/were' 'had formed' = habia formada

4 years ago


oh ok... i know "hay" is the present "there is" form of that impersonal haber verb and "ha" is the equivalent "it has" of the "other" haber verb but I think "hubo" IS the preterite form of both ( ie "it/he/she had" and "there was") so still not sure why DL doesn't accept hubo in this example but...I reported and I guess we will see in the future - maybe habia IS the only commonly accepted way to say " she had..., etc" . Thanks.

4 years ago


"...maybe habia IS the only commonly accepted way to say " she had..., etc" . -- That is what I think/

4 years ago

  • 24
  • 22
  • 20
  • 13
  • 12
  • 12
  • 9
  • 8
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2

I typed this in wrong, using "ha" instead of "había", and it correctly marked me wrong. However, the rationale it gave was incorrect, it said:

You used the él/ella/usted form "ha" instead of the yo form "había". Ella se había formado una opinión.

This is wrong reasoning. I used "ha" which means "...has..." instead of "había" meaning "...had..."

I want to report that this message is incorrect, but I don't know how.

When I click "Report a Problem..." I see that the "Other" box has been removed, so I can no longer give an explanation.

This upsets me, I want to give useful feedback, and I can't. It's frustrating, I want to contribute to DuoLingo to make it better for others, but I can't easily do it now. Can someone please fix this for me? Thanks!

1 year ago


Thank you for helping

3 months ago