Pretérito Perfecto

The Spanish Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto is a common tense, used to described actions which started in the past but which may still be ongoing. It has directly equivalent tenses in many western European languages, including English, however in much of Spain the tense is used in a different way. Rather than referring to past actions which may be ongoing, the Spanish use it mainly to refer to actions in the recent past. Other nations may use the tense in a manner much more similar to its English equivalent.

The preterito perfecto is the first tense taught to foreign language students which uses the auxiliary verb haber.

Conjugating the Pretérito Perfecto

To form the pretérito perfecto, use the verb haber in the preterite form, together with the past participle of the verb you want to use.

Haber +Past Participle

He visto esta película.
I have seen that film.

He hablado con Juan, como acordamos.
I have spoken to Juan as we agreed.

Irregular verbs in the Pretérito Perfecto

There are no verbs which are irregular in the pretérito perfecto, however the tense does inherit any irregularities from the participio pasado:

  • he visto
  • has vuelto
  • ha puesto

Test Yourself!

Two conjugations for the price of one. Maybe you remember haber, but can you remember the participle?


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