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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:
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.
A crash course in noun gender...
Spanish is very kind in that it's usually easy to work out whether a noun is masculine or feminine.
If it ends in an O it is masculine.
If it ends in an A it is feminine.
E.g. Mundo (world), Trabajo (job), Perro (dog) are all masculine, and Casa (house), Palabra (word), Hora (hour) are all feminine.
We use the article El for a masculine noun, and La for a feminine noun. (this is why, when you learn a new noun, you should always write the article next to it - e.g. write 'la casa' not just 'casa'.)
If a word ends in another letter, for example Mujer (woman) or País (country), it could be either.
There are lots of patterns to look out for - e.g. nouns ending in 'ión' like Opinión (opinion) and Construcción (building/construction) tend to be feminine.
Sometimes you can work out whether it's masculine or feminine from what it is e.g. Hombre (man) is a masculine noun.
Here are a few examples:
Questión (question) = feminine
Madre (mother) = feminine
Ciudad (city) = feminine
Aire (air) = masculine
Arte (art) = masculine
País (country) = masculine
There are, of course, some irregulars, where the noun ends in an O but is feminine, or ends in an A but is masculine:
La mano (hand) = feminine
El programa (programme) = masculine
El día (day) = masculine
El problema (problem) = Masculine
Some nouns can take either an O or an A at the end to mean either, for example Niño (child) can be Niño for a boy or Niña for a girl.see more
Adjectival agreement means that the adjective 'agrees' with the noun it's describing in gender and number.
This is nice and simple in Spanish. If you have more than one of something, put an S on the end of the adjective, as well as the noun.
El gato negro. (The black cat.)
Los gatos negros. (The black cats.)
Spanish nouns are either masculine or feminine*. The adjective must agree with the gender of the noun.
In most cases, end the adjective with an O for masculine, and an A for feminine.
El gato negro. (The black cat.)
La casa negra. (The black house.)
Some adjectives stay the same whether they are describing a masculine or a feminine noun. These adjectives usually end in E.
E.g. Grande (big), Verde (green).
They must still agree in number.
Las casas verdes. (The green houses.)
Los gatos grandes. (The big cats.)
Don't forget, the noun generally comes before the adjective.
*See my explanation for masculine and feminine nouns.see more