How to say what you “have done” in Spanish

The Perfect Tense

In Spanish to talk about what you have done recently or things you “have done” you would use what is called the “perfect tense”. Luckily it is one of the easier tenses to learn. In this blog post we will look at how to form this tense and the irregular verbs.

There are two parts to this tense:

(1) Haber

First you need to use the correct form of “haber” (to have) – not related with possession but in the sense of actions that you “have done”.

Haber
HeI have
Hasyou have (one person)
Hahe/she has
Hemos we have
Habéisyou have (2 or more people)
Hanthey have

(2) Past Participle

Then you need the past participle of the verb involving the action that has taken place. The past participle means words such as, eaten, spoken, lived, taken, arrived, read, written, found, left, returned, learnt, drunk, slept and so on.
There are two different patterns to learn; one pattern for verbs ending in –ar and another pattern for verbs ending in –er and –ir:

-ar verbs:

For example: hablar (to speak)

To turn it into “spoken”:

Take off the –ar ending, and add –ado:

Habl + ado > hablado (spoken)

So to say: I have spoken

I have = He
spoken = hablado
I have spoken = He hablado

-er and –ir verbs:

Take off the –er or –ir and add –ido.

e.g comer (to eat)

To say “eaten”: com + ido = comido

I have eaten = He comido

e.g. vivir (to live)

To say “lived”: viv + ido = vivido

I have lived = He vivido

Irregular past participles

You just need to learn the small group of verbs that have irregular past participles:

abrir: abierto
cubrir: cubierto
decir: dicho
describir: descrito
descubrir: descubierto
escribir: escrito
freír: frito
hacer: hecho
morir: muerto
poner: puesto
romper: roto
volver: vuelto

Adding Pronouns

Whenever you need a pronoun in this tense, they always go before the “haber” part. You never put anything inbetween the “haber” and the past participle:

e.g. Me he levantado. = I have got up.
Nos ha dicho. = He/She has told us.
Se han acuesto. = They have gone to bed.
Te he escrito. = I have written to you.

Negative sentences

Likewise, when you have a negative sentence, the negative word always goes before the “haber” part:

e.g. No he terminado. = I have not finished.
e.g. No hemos empezado. = We have not started.
e.g. Nunca has comido pulpo. = You have never eaten octopus.

Note:

If you have a pronoun and a negative word, the negative word will go before the pronoun:

e.g. No me han dicho el precio. = They haven’t told me the price.
e.g. No te ha pagado. = He/She hasn’t paid you.

If you added the subject pronoun, that would go first:

e.g. Ella no te ha pagado. = She has not paid you.

 
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