Difference between Pretérito Perfecto and Indefinido
One of the common mistakes made by Spanish students is the difference between the Pretérito Perfecto and the Indefinido. This lesson will show you how to use both tenses.
Use of Pretérito perfecto and Indefinido
For actions completed at a recent moment in time.
El correo ha llegado. (The mail has arrived.)
For an action completed at a specific moment in the past.
El avión aterrizó a las doce en punto. (The plane landed at four o’clock.)
For actions or events occurring in the past that do not refer to a concrete time.
Ana nos ha esperado en recepción. (Ana has waited for us in the reception area.)
For an action or event that lasted for a specific period of time when you can determine how long the action took place.
Esperó dos horas en la estación. (He waited for two hours at the station.)
For an action or event initiated in the past that is continuing into the present.
Hemos vivido aquí por más de 7 años. (We have lived here for over 7 years.)
For series of actions or events completed in the past even if you cannot determine when these actions took place or for how long.
Me levanté, desayuné, me duché y me fui a trabajar. (I woke up, had breakfast, took a shower and went to work.)
For actions that are not usually repeated using the following expressions:
Mi hija cumplió 4 años. (My daughter turned 4.)
The actions in “Pretérito Perfecto” are related to the present whereas the actions in Indefinido are not.
Comparison of time markers
|hoy (today)||ayer (yesterday)|
|hace dos horas (two hours ago)||anteayer (the day before yesterday)|
|esta semana (this week)||anoche (Last night)|
|estos días (these days)||la semana pasada (last week)|
|este martes/ mes/ año (this Tuesday/month/ year)||el mes/ año pasado (last month/year)|
|nunca (never)||hace tres semanas (3 weeks ago)|
|todavía no/ ya (not yet/ already)||en 2001 (in 2001)|
|alguna vez (sometime)||de repente (suddenly)|
|últimamente/ en los últimos tiempos (lately)||el día de su cumpleaños (the day of his birthday)|
|hace poco (recently)||al comenzar mi trabajo (when I started working)|
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