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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
yohe
has
él/ella/ustedha
nosotros/-ashemos
vosotros/-ashabéis
ellos/ellas/ustedeshan

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

viajarviajado

comer comido

beber bebido

vivirvivido

sentirsentido

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

Yo

Tu

el/ella/usted

nosotros/-as

vosotros/-as

ellos/ellas/ustedes

he

has

ha

hemos

habéis

han

hablado

comido

vivido

Irregularly conjugated participles of verbs

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

InfinitiveParticiple
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:

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

Este año he tenido muchos constipados.

This year I have caught a lot of colds.

hoytoday

Hoy he ido nadar.

Today I went swimming.

todavia nonot yet

Todavia no he comido.

I havent had lunch yet.

yaalready

Ya lo he visto.

I have seen it already.

ultimamentelately

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

Translation

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

 


Exercises

  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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