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The Present Perfect
Repaso del participio pasado
El presente perfecto
In English we form the present perfect
tense by combining have or has with the
past participle of a verb:
- he has seen
- have you tried?
- they haven’t eaten.
I. To form the past participle of a verb in Spanish,
a. keep the stem of the verb,
b. detach the ending and add:
ado to the stem of -ar verbs
tomar tomado (taken)
ido to the stem of most -er/-ir verbs
comer comido (eaten)
vivido (lived)
An accent mark is added to the past participle of:
–er and –ir verbs whose stems end in –a, -e, or –o.
In other words:
Certain verbs that have a double vowel in the
infinitive form (except those with the double vowel
ui ) require an accent mark on the i in the past
Let’s see some examples…
The following verbs have irregular
abrir (to open)
Imprimir (to print)
abierto (open)
impreso / imprimido
freír (to fry)
hacer (to do)
morir (to die)
poner (to put)
resolver (to resolve)
romper (to break)
ver (to see)
volver (to return)
frito (fried)
hecho (done)
muerto (dead)
puesto (put)
resuelto (resolved)
roto (broken)
visto (seen)
vuelto (returned)
Any verb derived from an irregular past participle will
also have an irregular past participle:
* cubrir (to cover)
cubierto (covered)
~ descubrir (to discover / uncover)
* decir (to say)
~ predecir (to predict / foretell)
* escribir (to write)
~ describir (to describe)
descubierto (uncovered / discovered)
dicho (said)
predicho (predicted, foretold)
escrito (written)
descrito (described)
In both English and Spanish, past participles may be used as
adjectives to modify a noun. In Spanish, when the past participle
is used as an adjective, it agrees in gender and number with the
noun it modifies:
Esa pintura fue hecha en el Perú
That painting was made in Perú
Las catedrales fueron construidas en 1560.
The cathedrals were built in 1560.
El arquitecto está desilucionado
The architect is disillusioned
El libro está abierto
The book is opened
Los problemas están resueltos
The problems are resolved
II. The present perfect is a compound tense that
requires two verbs:
~In English the present perfect is formed with the
present tense of the auxiliary verb to have +
past participle.
~In Spanish the present perfect is formed with the
present tense of the auxiliary verb haber +
past participle
Nota: Formas del verbo AUXILIAR: haber (to have)
This is the HELPING verb haber (to have), and is not to be
confused with the IMPERSONAL verb haber (there to be).
There are two main uses for this verb:
a. It is used with the past participle of other verbs to form
the compound tenses, otherwise known as the "perfect
b. It is sometimes used with the preposition de plus an
infinitive to mean "to have to" or "to be supposed to".
Past participle
Ud., él, ella
Uds., ellos, ellas
¿Cuándo y cómo usamos el Presente
Expresses an action that happened
immediately before the present
Presente perfecto
Ella ha perdido su maleta
She lost her luggage
b. Expresses an action that began in the past
and continues until the present
Lupe siempre ha sido optimista (y sigue siéndolo)
Lupe has always been an optimist (and she still is)
II. The auxiliary verb haber agrees with the
subject of the sentence. The past participle,
however, is invariable when it forms part of
the perfect tense
¿Has intentado hablar con tu amiga?
Have you tried to call your friend?
No, pero he hablado con su madre.
No, but I’ve spoken to her mother
III. The auxiliary verb haber and the past participle
cannot be separated by any other word. Objects
pronouns and negative words are always placed
before haber.
¿Has conocido al señor malhumorado?
Have you met the bad-tempered man?
No lo he conocido todavía
No, I haven’t met him yet
¿Engañó el político a los votantes?
Did the politician deceived the voters?
Sin duda los ha engañado
Without a doubt, he has deceived them
IV. The verb haber is not interchangeable with the
verb tener. Haber means to have only when used as
an auxiliary verb with the past participle. Tener
means to have or to own in the sense of possession.
El director del colegio tiene pocas opciones
The school principal has few options
Tienes un oso de peluche
You have a teddy bear
V. Remember that you have to use the present
tense of acabar de + infinitive in order to
describe an event that has just happened.
El vanidoso acaba de anunciar su buena fortuna
The conceited man has just announced his good fortune
Acabo de prevenir una crisis
I have just prevented a crisis