How do I form and use the Perfect Tense?

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The Perfect Tense was one of my favourite grade boosters at GCSE in speaking and writing because it's easy to make and easy to use.

 

The Perfect Tense is used to say you have done something:

-Hemos ido al cinema juntos tres veces. (We have been to the cinema together three times)

-¡Mi gato ha comido un pájaro! (My cat has eaten a bird!)

-¿Qué has hecho hoy? (What have you done today?)

 

The Perfect Tense has two parts...

The present tense of the verb HABER + the PAST PARTICIPLE of a verb.

 

Conjugations of HABER:

(yo)                 He

(tú)                  Has

(él/ella/usted)  Ha

(nosotros)        Hemos

(vosotros)        Habéis

(ellos/ustedes) Han

This is the 'I have' part of the phrase 'I have done...'

 

Forming the past participle:

Simply take away the -ar, -er, or -ir from the infinitive verb and...

for -ar verbs, add -ado

for -er verbs, add -ido

for -ir verbs, add -ido

E.g. Hablar à Hablado, Comer à Comido, Vivir à Vivido

This is the 'done' part of the phrase 'I have done...'

It is like 'ed' words in English, for example 'walked', 'talked'. We have lots of irregulars in English like 'eaten', 'done', 'seen'.

NB: past participles are very useful to learn because they are also used in other structures and tenses.

 

Here are some common irregular past participles:

Hacer (to do) ~ Hecho

Decir (to say) ~ Dicho

Abrir (to open) ~ Abierto

Poner (to put) ~ Puesto

Ver (to see) ~ Visto

Volver (to return) ~ Vuelto

Escribir (to write) ~ Escrito

 

So, let's put them together in some examples.

I have eaten = He comido

You have seen = Has visto

He/she/it has said = Ha dicho

We have spoken = Hemos hablado

You (plural) have lived = Habéis vivido

They have written = Han escrito

 

And don't forget, the H is silent!

 

Let me know if you have any questions or need further explanations. I have practice worksheets on all the tenses.

¡Buena suerte!

Floss T. GCSE Spanish tutor

About the author

is an online GCSE Spanish tutor with MyTutor studying at Bristol University

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