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The Perfect Tense


In Spanish, the Perfect is used in 2 main instances:

1.To express a past action that maintains a connection to the time of speaking. This is usually expressed with an unspecified time reference (always, never, before, once, twice, etc.):

For example: “he visitado España una vez.”

2. To express a very recent past action that maintains a connection to the present. This is usually indicated by the word for "this" :

For example: “este mes he jugado al fútbol.”

Formation: Regular verbs

The Perfect Tense is formed by using the Present Tense of the auxiliary verb, haber, and a past participle.

The verb haber indicates who has done the action.

Below is the Present Tense conjugation of haber:

In addtion to haber, the Perfect Tense requires a past participle.

In order to form the past participles of regular verbs like hablarcomer, and vivir, we follow these steps:

1. We remove the infinitive ending to obtain the stem

hablar - ar = habl

comer - er =  com

vivir - ir = viv

2. We add the correct ending to the stem:

  • ar ado

  • er → ido

  • ir → ido

Therefore the past participles of hablarcomer, and vivir are as follows:

  • hablar → hablado

  • comer → comido

  • vivir → vivido

Formation: Irregular past participles

There are a few irregular past participles in Spanish.

Spelling change ído instead of ido:

  • atraer → atraído

  • caer → caído

  • creer → creído

  • leer → leído

  • oír → oído

  • traer → traído

1. Very important verbs: 

decir → dicho
hacer → hecho
ver → visto
volver → vuelto

2. Important verbs:


abrir → abierto
escribir → escrito
freír → frito
morir → muerto
poner → puesto
romper → roto

3. Less important verbs:

cubrir → cubierto
prender → preso
resolver → resuelto
satisfacer → satisfecho

Click here to continue to exercises on the Perfect Tense

Published: 18/04/2016

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