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Transcript
Spanish: The Perfect Tenses
The present perfect is a verb tense comprised of two parts: the auxiliary verb has/have and the past
participle. It indicates that an action was completed at some point in the past, and the action may
continue into the present. In English, using the present perfect is equivalent to saying that someone
has done something.
The picture below demonstrates how the present perfect refers to actions completed in the past as
well as past actions that may continue into the present.
For example, Peter has studied Spanish (and may still be doing it now).
Conjugating the Present Perfect
In Spanish, the present-tense conjugations of the verb haber (not tener) form the present perfect.
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yo
he
tú
has
él/ella/Ud.
ha
nosotros/as
hemos
vosotros/as
habéis
ellos/ellas/Uds.
han
1
Spanish: The Perfect Tenses
Reviewed July 2008
The past participle is used immediately following the verb haber. Note that verbs ending in -ar
change to -ado, while -er and -ir verbs both change to –ido.
Infinitive
Stem
Ending
Past Participle
Hablar
Habl
ado
Hablado
Comer
Com
ido
Comido
Vivir
Viv
ido
Vivido
Lazaro ha cenado con su madre.
Lazaro has eaten dinner with his mother.
He salido de mi casa.
I have left my house.
No hemos podido encontrar nuestro gato.
We haven’t been able to find our cat.
However, as with all conjugations, there are exceptions to the rules. Here are some of the most
common irregular past participles:
hacer
hecho
abrir
abierto
poner
puesto
escribir
escrito
romper
roto
cubrir
cubierto
ver
visto
decir
dicho
volver
vuelto
morir
muerto
Note: The present perfect of hay is ha habido.
Pablo ha escrito muchos poemas.
Pablo has written many poems.
Los hermanos han hecho su tarea.
The brothers have done their homework.
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2
Spanish: The Perfect Tenses
The Past Perfect
Pairing haber with a past participle may also be used to express things that occurred and concluded in
the past, before something else happened. This is equivalent to saying in English that someone had
done something. This conjugation is called the past perfect.
The picture below shows how the action of the past perfect was completed before another past
event:
For example, Jessica had taken a shower before she left on her trip.
To form the past perfect, put the imperfect tense conjugation of haber next to a past participle. Haber
is conjugated in the imperfect as shown below:
yo
había
tú
habías
él/ella/Ud.
había
nosotros/as
habíamos
vosotros/as
habíais
ellos/ellas/Uds.
habían
¿Ya había terminado el semestre?
The semester had ended already?
Yo había comido el pollo.
I had eaten the chicken.
Habíamos vuelto al restaurante.
We had returned to the restaurant.
Note: The imperfect conjugation of hay is also había.
Había un hombre en el grupo.
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There was a man in the group.
3
Spanish: The Perfect Tenses
The Past Participle as an Adjective
In addition to being paired with haber, the past participle may also be used as an adjective. As an
adjective, the past participle must agree with the number and gender of the noun it is describing.
la puerta cerrada
the closed door
los teléfonos rotos
the broken telephones
When used as an adjective, the past participle comes after the verb estar.
¿Están terminados tus ensayos?
Are your essays finished?
La ventana está abierta.
The window is open.
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4
Spanish: The Perfect Tenses