In Spanish, the present perfect tense -also called “pretérito perfecto compuesto”- is used to express actions that happened in a specific period of time that still continue.

For example:

Hoy he estudiado mucho español.
(I have studied a lot of Spanish today)

Esta semana hemos bebido demasiada cerveza.
(We have drunk too much beer this week)

Hoy” (today) and “esta semana” (this week) are unfinished periods of time.

➤ The present perfect tense is also used to talk about specific events without mentioning the period of time when that event took place. For example:

Yo he estado en Patagonia varias veces.
(I have been in Patagonia many times)

Laura ha vivido en cuatro países.
(Laura has lived in four countries)

➤ Grammar structure: auxiliary verb in the present tense “haber” + participle.

Verb “haber” in the present tense Participle

HA                                                    +         CAMINADO/COMIDO/VIVIDO*

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➤ The participle is formed by adding:

-ado to the verbs ending in -ar

sonar→ sonado
amar→ amado

-ido to the verbs ending in -er and -ir

comer→ comido
vivir→ vivido

➤ There are some irregular participles that need to be memorized. The most frequent ones are:

abrir →abierto (open)
decir → dicho (said)
escribir → escrito (written)
hacer → hecho (done)
morir → muerto (dead)
poner → puesto (put)
romper → roto (broken)
ver → visto (seen)
volver → vuelto (returned)

➤ The English equivalent to the pretérito perfecto compuesto -or present perfect- is: have/has + past participle.


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