El Pretérito Perfecto in Spanish

Spanish Grammar Tip

El pretérito perfecto

El pretérito perfecto de indicativo is used in Spanish to express actions that people have done or events that have happened, which are still viewed as in the present or whose results influence the present or future. It is identical in its use and formation to the present perfect tense in English.

The Spanish present perfect tense is formed by pairing the present tense of haber with the past participle of the verb whose action is being described. The past participle is, in turn, formed, by taking the infinitive, removing the -ar, -er, -ir and adding the endings -ado, -ido, -ido, respectively.

Present Tense of Haber Past Participle of the Verb

he (I have)

has (you have)

ha (he/she/it has)

hemos (we have)

habéis (you all have)

han (they have)

 

+ hablar → hablado (talked)

+ beber → bebido (drunk)

+ vivir → vivido (lived)

 

Like in English, there is a number of time phrases that are employed in sentences along with the perfect tense:

ESTE mes, año, fin de semana, verano, invierno, etc. (this month, year, weekend, summer, winter)

ESTA semana, tarde, noche, mañana, primavera, etc. (this week, afternoon/evening, night, morning, spring)

nunca = never || alguna vez = some times || hace un rato = a while ago

últimamente/recientemente = recently ||  frecuentemente = frequently

una vez = once || pocas/muchas veces = a few/many times

ya = already ||  todavía = yet

How to use El pretérito perfecto: let’s look at some examples:

Esta semana Ramón ha trabajado hasta muy tarde. → Ramón has worked until very late this week.

Ana y José han entregado su trabajo esta mañana. → Ana and José have submitted their paper this morning.

Todavía no he escuchado la nueva canción de Shakira. → I haven’t listened to the latest song by Shakira yet.

Daniel y yo hemos salido varias veces juntos. → Daniel and I have gone out a few times.

Hoy has comido demasiado en la boda de Lucía y Rui. → Today you have eaten too much at Lucía and Rui’s wedding.

Nunca he estado en fuera de España. → I have never been outside of Spain.

Irregular past participle:

Unsuprisingly, several high frequency Spanish verbs feature an irregular past participle. Here are the most common ones:

 

abrir (to open) → abierto (opened) morir (to die) → muerto (died)
decir (to say) → dicho (said) poner (to put) → puesto (put)
descubrir (to find out) → descubierto (found out) romper (to break) → roto (broken)
escribir (to write) → escrito (written) ver (to see) → visto (seen)
hacer (to do) → hecho (done) volver (to return)→ vuelto (returned)

 

Here are some examples:

Tu madre te ha dicho que cojas el paraguas. → Your mum has told to take the umbrella.

Mis hermanos han vuelto de su viaje a Cuba. → My brothers have returned from their trip to Cuba.

¿Dónde has puesto las llaves del coche? → Where have you put the car keys?


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