2 Useful Spanish phrases

(1) Acabar de + infinitive (To have just …)
(2) Estar a punto de + infinitive (To be about to …)

(1) Acabar de + infinitive

This is the structure in Spanish to talk about the very recent past, to say what has just happened. You can use this in various tenses:

Present tense:
Acabo de comer. I have just eaten. (a few minutes ago)

Just change the ending of “acabar” to reflect who has just done the activity.

Él acaba de salir. He has just left.
Mi amiga y yo acabamos de terminar de trabajo.
My friend and I have just finished work.
Mis vecinos acaban de volver.
My neighbours have just returned.

This is using acabar in the present tense, however you can also use the same structure in the past and future tenses:

Past tense:

Ella acababa de llegar a casa cuando el teléfono sonó.
She had just arrived home when the phone rang.

Future tense:

Cuando termines el colegio, acabarás de haber cumplido dieciocho años.
When you finish school, you will have just turned 18 years old.

(2) Estar a punto de + infinitive
(To be about to …)

Whereas “Acabar de + verb” talks about what has just happened very recently, “Estar a punto de …” is used to say what is about to happen in the near future. Here are some examples of how it can be used in various tenses:


Estoy a punto de terminar el informe.
I am just about to finish the report.


Estoy a punto de terminar la escuela secundaria.
I am just about to finish secondary school.

Future in the past:

Estuvieron a punto de chocar.
They were about to crash.

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