The Preterite Perfect Tense In Spanish

In This lesson we will talk about the Preterite perfect tense in Spanish (Pretérito perfecto), its form and when to use it, and the difference between this tense and the pretérito indefinido, let’s get started!

Preterite perfect Tense In Spanish

The Preterite Perfect Tense In Spanish

We use the preterite perfect (pretérito perfecto) in two ways: for actions that have recently happened, and for actions that happened in a period of time that is still ongoing (like today, this week, this year..)

Example: Hoy he aprendido mucho (today I learned a lot)

How To Form The Preterite Perfect

As you noticed, the preterite perfect has two parts: haber + past participle, get comfortable as we will explain each one and make it easy to understand:

The verb Haber is an auxiliary verb that tell us who is performing the action (from its conjugation) let’s see its present form:

Él/ ellaha
Nosotros / Nosotrashemos
Vosotros / Vosotrashabéis
Ellos / Ellashan

Now let’s see how to form the past participle for regular verbs:

Verbs ending in -ar: replace the final “ar” with “ado“: hablado, estudiado

Verbs ending in -ir and -er: replace the ending with “ido”: comido, recibido

Example: Hablar:

Yohe hablado
has hablado
Él/ ellaha hablado
Ustedha hablado
Nosotros / Nosotrashemos hablado
Vosotros / Vosotrashabéis hablado
Ellos / Ellashan hablado
Ustedeshan hablado

Note: you can practice what you’ve learned here, and learn how to pronounce each of the words in our Memrise course here, don’t know how to use the platform or sign up? we’ve got you covered in this easy-to-follow tutorial here.

Some Irregular verbs:

Hacer (to do) – hecho

Ver (to see) – visto

Volver (to come back) – vuelto

Poner (to put) – puesto

Pretérito Perfecto Vs Pretérito Indefinido

Deciding when to use the “pretérito perfecto” and “indefinido” can get confusing as you’ll find many Spanish speakers using it differently, but the main difference is:

Pretérito indefinido: the action is finished in the past

Pretérito perfecto: the action is in the past, but connected to the present moment, and we can use it also if we don’t want to specify the time when the action has happened.

The Preterite perfect Tense in Spanish visual

Happy learning!

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