Spanish Language Blog

Spanish Lesson Beginner 34 The Spanish Pretérito Perfecto The Present Perfect Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Learning, Spanish Grammar, Spanish Vocabulary, Videos

In this Beginner level Spanish lesson we are going to learn all about the Present Perfect grammar tense in Spanish – El Pretérito Perfecto – that is used to describe things “we have done”.

The English Present Perfect and the Spanish Pretérito Perfecto are fundamental grammar tenses that we use a lot in everyday conversation. Example sentences of the Present Perfect in English are: “I have eaten a pizza” (In Spanish: “He comido una pizza”) and “She has worked in an office” (“Ella ha trabajado en una oficina”).

In Spanish we use the auxiliary verbs he/has/ha/hemos/habéis/han in a similar way to have/has in English and the main verb in both Spanish and English is always a past participle.

In this Spanish lesson we will see how to make regular past participles for Spanish verbs ending in -ar, -er and –ir, we will see some of the irregular Spanish past participles, we will practice conjugating the verb Trabajar (to work) for all of the different persons, we will see common key words that are always used with the Spanish Pretérito Perfecto, we will see examples of the Spanish Pretérito Perfecto in use and finally we will look at adverbs commonly used with the Spanish Pretérito Perfecto.

How to form Spanish past participles:

• AR verbs: -ado (trabajado)
• ER verbs: -ido (comido)
• IR verbs: -ido (vivido)

Example sentences using the verb “trabajar” with the Spanish Pretérito Perfecto:

• (Yo) he trabajado: I have worked
• (Tú) has trabajado: You have worked (friendly)
• (Usted) ha trabajado: You have worked (formal)
• (Él/ella) ha trabajado: He/She has worked
• (Nosotros/as) hemos trabajado: We have worked
• (Vosotros/as) habéis trabajado: You have worked (group/friendly)
• (Ustedes) han trabajado: You have worked (group/formal)
• (Ellos/as) han trabajado: They have worked
• (Yo) no he trabajado: I haven´t worked

Irregular verbs used with the Spanish Pretérito Perfecto:

• Abrir – abierto: Opened
• Resolver – resuelto: Resolved
• Poner – puesto: Put
• Hacer – hecho: Done
• Cubrir – cubierto: Covered
• Romper – roto: Broken
• Volver – vuelto: Returned
• Descubrir – descubierto: Discovered
• Escribir – escrito: Written
• Decir – dicho: Said
• Ver – visto: Seen

Vocabulary used with the Spanish Pretérito Perfecto:

• Hoy: Today
• Hace cinco minutos: 5 minutes ago
• Hace una hora: An hour ago
• Hace un rato: A while ago
• Esta mañana: This morning
• Esta tarde: This afternoon
• Esta noche: This evening
• Esta semana: This week
• Este mes: This month
• Este año: This year
• Este fin de semana: This weekend
• Este verano: This summer
• Este invierno: This winter

Examples of the Spanish Pretérito Perfecto describing what has been done today:

• Se ha levantado muy temprano: She got up very early
• Ha dejado al niño en el colegio: She took the child to school
• Ha desayunado con unas amigas: She had breakfast with some friends
• Ha abierto su correo electrónico: She opened her email
• Ha leído una novela: She read a novel
• Ha trabajado mucho en la oficina: She has worked a lot in the office
• Ha tenido una reunión importante: She had an important meeting
• Ha visto a su madre y han comido juntas: She met her mother and they had lunch together
• Ha llegado tarde a buscar a su hijo: She arrived late to pick up her son
• Ha ido en coche a la ciudad: She went to the city by car
• Ha acostado al niño: She put the child to bed
• Ha salido a cenar con unos amigos: She went out for dinner with some friends

Adverbs used with the Spanish Pretérito Perfecto:

• Ya: Already
• Aún no: Not yet
• Todavía no: Not yet

• ¿Has escrito la postal?: Have you written the postcard?
• Sí, ya la he escrito: I have already written it
• No, aún no la he escrito / No, todavía no la he escrito: I haven´t written it yet
• ¿Ha llegado Pedro?: Has Pedro arrived?
• Sí, ya ha llegado: Yes, he has arrived
• No, aún no ha llegado/ No, todavía no ha llegado: No, he hasn´t arrived yet

• Alguna vez: Ever
• Nunca: Never

• ¿Has esquiado alguna vez?: Have you ever skied before?
• No, nunca he esquiado: No, I have never skied

To start with, the Spanish Present Perfect may seem a little tricky, but with a bit of time and practice you will see that it is in fact quite straightforward to use and relatively easy to remember.

One of the trickiest things, as always, is remembering the irregularities: in this case the irregular past participles. There are always exceptions to every grammar rule and it is vital to be aware of all of the irregularities in addition to learning and remembering all of the main “regular” rules. There are never that many irregular Spanish verbs connected to any one specific grammar tense, so take your time, relax and look upon them as a challenge. If you make yourself aware of them and start practicing right from the start you will be amazed at how quickly you remember them.
Enjoy your Spanish studies and see you next time.

¡Hasta luego!

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About the Author: Laura & Adam

Laura & Adam have been blogging and creating online Spanish courses for Transparent Language since 2010. Laura is from Bilbao in northern Spain and Adam is from Devon in the south of England. They lived together in Spain for over 10 years, where their 2 daughters were born, and now they live in Scotland. Both Laura & Adam qualified as foreign language teachers in 2004 and since have been teaching Spanish in Spain, the UK, and online.


  1. Lorraine:

    Your examples above of ‘what has been done today’ doesn’t include the word have or has in the English translation. For example you say ‘ se ha levantado muy temprano’ equates to ‘she got up very early’ but where is the word have or has? I am confused, can you explain?

  2. analiza:

    i love spanish

    • analiza:

      @analiza hi
      i love spanish too

  3. analiza:

    me llamo monnaliza c. calomia