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Pretérito perfecto compuesto in Spanish

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What is the pretérito perfecto compuesto?

The present perfect (Spanish: pretérito perfecto compuesto) is one of several compound tenses used in Spanish and English. As in English, it is used to indicate that the action may be still going on. The pretérito perfecto compuesto has two parts:

  • the present tense of the auxiliary verb haber
  • the past participle (participio) of the verb

enlightenedPretérito perfecto compuesto = haber (presente) + participio

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Conjugation of the auxiliary verb haber

Personal pronouns Auxiliary haber in present

Regularly conjugated past participle of verbs on -AR, -ER, -IR

The participle is derived from the infinitive of the verb. The endings (-ar / -er / -ir) are replaced by the participle endings (-ado / -ido / -ido).

Verbs in -arVerbs in -erVerbs in -ir
The verb ending is replaced by -ADOThe verb ending is replaced by -IDOThe verb ending is replaced by -IDO

hablar hablado


comer comido

beber bebido



The complete formation of the pretérito perfecto compuesto in Spanish (present perfect in English)

The complete formation of the pretérito perfecto compuesto is made with the conjugated form of the auxiliary verb haber in the present tense and the participle form of the verb:

Personal pronounAuxiliary haber in presentParticipio
















Irregularly conjugated participles of verbs

There are a few irregular participles in Spanish. Here is a list of the most important exceptions:

abrir (to open)abierto (opened)
cubrir (to cover)cubierto (covered)
decir (to say)dicho (said)
devolver (to return /to give back)devuelto (returned)
disolver (to dissolve)disuelto (dissolved)
escribir (to write)escrito (written)
hacer (to do)hecho (done)
ir (to go)ido (gone)
morir (to die)muerto (died)
poner (to put)puesto (put)
romper (to break)roto (broken)
ser (to be)sido (been)
ver (to see)visto (seen)
volver (to come back)vuelto (come)

Uses of the pretérito perfecto compuesto

In English we use the perfect tense to talk about what has or hasn't happened today, this week, this year, or in our lives up to now. In Spanish we use it in a similar way.

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.)
  • Hemos celebrado las navidades en casa de mi abuela desde que nací. (We have celebrated Christmas in my grandma's house since I was born.)

An action or event ocurring in the past that does not refer to a concrete time.

  • Ana nos ha esperado en recepción. (Ana has waited for us in the reception area.)
  • Lucas nos ha acompañado. (Lucas has come with us.)

An action completed at a recent moment in time.

  • El correo ha llegado. (The mail has arrived.)
  • El tren ha salido. (The train has left.)

Marker words of the pretérito perfecto compuesto

We use the present perfect (pretérito perfecto compuesto) in Spanish with the following words:

esta semanaeste año/ etc.this week/ this year/ etc

Este año he tenido muchos constipados.

This year I have caught a lot of colds.


Hoy he ido nadar.

Today I went swimming.

todavia nonot yet

Todavia no he comido.

I havent had lunch yet.


Ya lo he visto.

I have seen it already.


Ultimamente he comido mucha fruta.

I have eaten a lot of fruit lately.

hasta ahoraup to now/ so far/ until now/ to date

No me han dicho nada hasta ahora.

I havent got any news so far.

Example text

Hoy ha sido un día especial. Es mi cumpleaños. No he ido a trabajar y me he levantado más tarde. He desayunado unas tostadas con tomate y he bebido un café con leche. Después, me he vestido y he salido de casa para comprar el periódico. Me he sentado en una terraza al sol y he leído el periódico.

Autora: Victoria Monera


Today was a special day. It's my birthday. I haven’t gone to work and I've gotten up later. I had some toast with tomato and I a coffee with milk for breakfast. Then I got dressed and left the house to buy the newspaper. I have sat on a terrace in the sun and have read the newspaper.

Written by: Victoria Monera



  1. Do you know how to use the Pretérito perfecto compuesto?
  2. Exercise to practice the Pretérito perfecto compuesto
  3. Complete the dialogues

Do you know how to use the Pretérito perfecto compuesto?

Exercise to practice the Pretérito perfecto compuesto

Complete the dialogues

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Elena is an excellent teacher and a very nice person. I have been training in Spanish with Elena for quite some time now after her being recommended to me by a friend, and have consistently been very pleased with our lessons. While I do not consider myself to be very good at learning foreign languages, Elena is very patient and adapts the lessons to my ability, making me feel at ease. In fact, I find her to be extremely skilled at assessing exactly where I am at any given time with respect to my individual learning situation, and structuring the lessons accordingly. I think I probably would have given up trying to learn Spanish had I not began my study with Elena; and that would have been a shame considering where I am now with the language. Because of Elena's skilled help, I am extremely pleased to not only be conversant in basic Spanish, but also have confidence that I will one day reach full proficiency with the language. No other learning method I tried before meeting Elena compares to the one-on-one, personalized instruction I receive from her, which comprises reading; writing; developmental exercises; and most importantly, conversation. To be able to look at Spanish now and have it appear largely familiar is extremely satisfying. I even plan to study Italian with Elena after reaching my desired level in Spanish. These are not things I ever imagined would occur at the beginning stages of my studies. I am a native English speaker and find Elena's English to be excellent. She had no difficulty instructing me from the very beginning levels where it was necessary that a lot of English be spoken in our lessons, to where we are now with much less English being spoken. The friend who recommended Elena to me learned Dutch from her, and is equally pleased with their experience. I would not hesitate to learn from Elena any of the languages she teaches. I give Elena my highest recommendations and thank her for all the help she has provided me.
Thank you for your feedback, Brandon! I am very happy to know that you are so satisfied with the lessons. I've always believed that you could make it and I am glad that we never gave it up. The right attitude and a high level of perseverance have been the keys to your success. It has been a pleasure to be your guide in your learning process. I know that you can do much more, so let's continue towards a next level!
Hands down one of the best teachers I've had the pleasure of working with. Very knowledgeable in all aspects of Bulgarian (grammar rules, expressions, ...) but also in both English and French, which helps whenever you have a more in-depth question on the how or why something is the way it is in Bulgarian. Furthermore he has his own material and always comes prepared, but he is equally open to changing the subject of a lesson to suit your needs. He is patient, positive and not too scholarly, which is what you need as an adult learning day- to- day Bulgarian.I have been working with him for 18 months now and still look forward to our lessons every week.
An's Bulgarian has tremendously improved since she gave it go a year and a half ago. Of course, It goes without saying that I am pleased to work with such an enthusiastic learner who is living proof that, through hard work and perseverance, everyone can succeed in their language goals. An, you are now an independant user of the language who is able to successfully lead real-live conversations. Pat yourself on the back.
Again a lesson full of fun anf full of learning opportunities. I really like Angels patience and ability to adapt to my learning process.
This student is one of the best ones I ever had in my long teaching career. She is always so diligent and willing to learn more and more. I am so happy to work with her and see the immense progress she has made since we first started working together. Thank you Silke!
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Dear Anita, Thank you very much for your nice review! I enjoy our lessons very much too and I am so happy that our communication and chemistry fit well together. That's the best precondition for a good learning experience. See you soon!
We are an Italian family residing in France for 3 months, we have two 10 year old children who have just started attending CM1. We asked Natalia to give the children two lessons a week to speed up their learning. We are super happy with the choice. Nous sommes une famille italienne résidant en France depuis janvier, nous avons deux enfants de 10 ans qui viennent de commencer la CM1. Nous avons demandé à Natalia de leur donner deux leçons par semaine pour accélérer leur apprentissage. Nous sommes super contents de Natalia. We are an Italian family living in France since 3 months, we have two 10 year old children who have just started attending CM1. We asked Natalia to give the kids two lessons a week to speed up their learning. We are super happy with this choice.
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Dear Hilde, thank you very much for your words. I'm glad you are satisfied with our time together. I will continue to do my best to make you practice your beautiful Italian in a cheerful and peaceful way :-)
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It is always a pleasure to have English lessons with Corinne. The lessons are always a lot of fun and extremely interesting concerning on current affairs and unfortunately the time always ends too early. Very recommended.
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A prepared and kind teacher, ready to teach with patience and good humor. He provided me with very useful materials to study and review even after the lesson. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a language with a smile. Thanks Silvia :)
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The lesson with Celia was perfect! She was puntcual, kind and her teaching method is effective and funny. She started the class with some "games" to get to know eachother and then we discussed about an article she provided. The time of the class passed really fast and I learned new vocabulary. Absolutely raccomended.
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Dear Silvia, thank you very much for your feedback! It's a real pleasure to have classes with you, and I hope you find them useful!