The Grammar Page

Grammar Basics



Spanish 101A

Spanish 101B

FAQs & About drlemon©®

Email me!

Creative Commons License by Deborah R. Lemon is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at

If I call you up at 7:30pm to invite you to have dinner at restaurant, you might say to me, "Oh, Debi, I have eaten dinner already!"

I may respond by suggesting instead that we rent the movie Titanic, to which you may reply, "Debbie, I have seen Titanic five times already."

I may try again suggesting we go out to our favorite coffee house, to which you say, "Oh, no! Debi, I have given up caffeine!"

At this point, I might say, "I have had enough!"

All of these verb constructions are in the Present Perfect Tense.

While you understand that these actions have taken place in the past (they are completed actions), they still have a sense of immediacy: They have taken place, but recently.

To form the Present Perfect in English, we use a conjugation of to Have and a Past Participle. Past Participles in English are words like "eaten," "written," "walked," and "rung." We use them with to Have in the sense of to "have done/finished something."

For example,

  • "I have finished my project."
  • "I have seen that man before."
  • "I have had enough examples."

There is a wide variety in the construction of past participles in English. We say "I have walked," "I have sung," "I have written," and "I have gone." There are a lot of irregulars in English. Who hasn't wrestled with "swam" vs. "swum" or "swelled" vs. "swollen"?

But it is easier to form the Past Participle in Spanish: There are fewer irregularities but even the irregulars follow a pattern.

To form the Present Perfect In Spanish, we conjugate the verb Haber in the Present Tense. Haber means "to Have".

--Don't confuse Haber with Tener. Tener means "to Possess or to own" and is not used to form the Present Perfect.

We put the form of Haber together with a Past Participle in the same manner that we put Estar together with a Present Participle to form the Present Progressive.

Here are the conjugations for Haber:

Yo él, ella, ud. nosotros ellos, ellas, uds.
He has ha hemos han

To form Past Participles in Spanish, we simply add -ado to the stem of -Ar verbs and -ido to the stem of -Er and -Ir verbs.

For example, let's look at an -Ar verb: Estudiar

  1. Estudi- ar (we remove the infinitive ending)
  2. Estudi- (we are left with our root)
  3. Estudi + ado (we add the -Ar ending ado)
  4. Estudiado
  5. Yo he estudiado toda la noche. (we add a conjugation of Haber to form a sentence in the Present Perfect)

With -Er and -Ir verbs, drop the -er and -ir, and add -ido.

For example, let's look at Perder:

  1. Perder --> er
  2. Perd-
  3. Perd + ido
  4. Perdido
  5. Yo he perdido mis llaves.

In the Perfect tenses, Past Participles are being used as part of a compound verb. So the endings stay the same in the same way that Present Participles remained unchanged no matter the gender or number of people involved:

  • Tomás ha terminado la tarea.
  • Alicia ha terminado la tarea.
  • Los estudiantes han terminado la tarea.
  • Nosotros hemos terminado la tarea.