Spanish Present Perfect

The Present Perfect in Spanish, Learn and Practice

Welcome to our grammar lesson about the Spanish Present Perfect (“Pretérito Perfecto Compuesto” or “Antepresente de Indicativo”).

We use the Present Perfect to talk about past actions, usually recent ones.

A couple of sentences in Spanish Present Perfect
A couple of sentences in Present Perfect

This lesson will teach you everything about this tense: how to conjugate verbs and how to use it, providing example sentences.

At the end you’ll find a Quiz and Exercises for practice.

Conjugation of verbs in Present Perfect

The formula to form the Present Perfect consists of 2 words:

  • The first word is the verb haber in Present Tense: he, has, ha, hemos, habéis, han.
  • The second word is the Past Participle of the verb expressing the action. The Past Participle is the same for all persons.


With our formula in mind, here is a table with three verbs fully conjugated in Present Perfect. These particular verbs have a regular Past Participle:

 jugar

to play

beber

to drink

sentir

to feel

yohe jugadohe bebidohe sentido
has jugadohas bebidohas sentido
élha jugadoha bebidoha sentido
nosotroshemos jugadohemos bebidohemos sentido
vosotroshabéis jugadohabéis bebidohabéis sentido
elloshan jugadohan bebidohan sentido


And here are a couple more verbs conjugated in Present Perfect. These are verbs with an irregular Past Participle:

 hacer

to do

ver

to see

yohe hechohe visto
has hechohas visto
élha hechoha visto
nosotroshemos hechohemos visto
vosotroshabéis hechohabéis visto
elloshan hechohan visto

Remember…

The Past Participle of regular verbs in -ar ends in -ado.
The Past Participle of regular verbs in -er and -ir ends in -ido.

Some verbs have an irregular Past Participle. The most frequent irregulars are:

hacer → hecho
decir → dicho
ver → visto
escribir → escrito
romper → roto
poner → puesto
volver → vuelto
resolver → resuelto
satisfacer → satisfecho
descubrir → descubierto
morir → muerto

Click here to learn more about the Past Participle.

Use of the Present Perfect

We use the Present Perfect to talk about past actions.

But… there are several tenses in Spanish to talk about past actions! So, when exactly do we use the Present Perfect?

We use it if one of the the following things is true:

  1. The sentence mentions a time frame that reaches the present.
  2. The sentence doesn’t mention any time frame, but the action is recent.

Let’s study each case in detail:

1. The sentence mentions a time frame that reaches the present

We want to express an action in the past, but we mention a a time frame that reaches the present.

Graphic explanation of the Spanish Present Perfect
Graphic explanation

For example, consider the following sentence in English: “I played soccer today”. The action (“I played soccer”) is in the past, but “today” is a time frame that reaches the present: we are still in “today”:

Yo he jugado al fútbol hoy.
I played soccer today.


Another example: “We have done many things this year”. The actions are in the past, but “this year” reaches the present:

Nosotros hemos hecho muchas cosas este año.
We have done many things this year.


Last example: “I have won many competitions in my life”. The actions are in the past, but I am still “in my life”:

He ganado muchas competiciones en mi vida.
I have won many competitions in my life.


2. The sentence doesn’t mention any time frame, and the action is recent

For example, in the following sentences, it is understood that the actions are recent:

¿Qué habéis hecho vosotros?
What have you guys done?

Yo he comido pasta.
I’ve eaten pasta.

Mis amigos han visto una película.
My friends have watched a movie.

¿No has comprado el regalo?
Didn’t you buy the gift?

Placing the word “no”: always before the whole verb

To form a negative sentence, we place no before the two words that form the Present Perfect, never in between:

No he cocinado.
I haven’t cooked.

Ellos no han dicho nada.
They haven’t said anything.

Keywords with the Present Perfect

The following keywords tend to work well in sentences with the Present Perfect:

  • hoy = today
  • esta semana = this week 
  • este mes = this month
  • este año = this year
  • últimamente = lately
  • hasta ahora = until now
  • desde entonces = since then
  • en mi vida = in my life
  • siempre = always
  • nunca = never


Notice that they all express time frames that reach the present.

Example sentences:

Yo he conocido a mucha gente en mi vida.
I’ve met a lot of people in my life.

has empezado un curso de español este mes.
You have started a Spanish course this month.

Paula siempre ha tenido la misma opinión.
Paula has always had the same opinion.

Nosotros hemos cambiado mucho desde entonces.
We have changed a lot since then.

Mis abuelos han venido hoy.
My grandparents have come today.


Other keywords: “ya”, “aún no”, “todavía no”

We frequently find the keywords ya, aún no and todavía no near the Present Perfect.

Their meanings are:

  • ya = already
  • aún no = not yet
  • todavía no = not yet (same meaning as “aún no”)

We usually place these keywords before the verb:

Antonio ya ha estudiado la lección
Antonio has already studied the lesson.

Nosotros aún no hemos preparado el desayuno.
We haven’t prepared breakfast yet.

Los teléfonos todavía no han sonado.
The phones haven’t rung yet.


Practice

Let’s practice the Present Perfect with a quiz and some exercises!

Quiz


Exercise 1

Read the following sentences in English and pay attention to the time frames they mention.

Which sentences could we translate to Spanish using the Present Perfect?

1. I’ve gone to the circus today.
2. I haven’t traveled this year.
3. Last year we went to Kenya.
4. I’ve met many people in my life.
5. We talked three months ago.
6. We have spoken.

Solution: The sentences we could translate using the Present Perfect are numbers 1, 2, 4 and 6.

Numbers 1, 2 and 4: because they mention time frames that reach the present.
Number 6: because it doesn’t mention any time frame, but it is understood that the action is recent.


Exercise 2

Conjugate the following verbs in Present Perfect.

(these are verbs with a regular Past Participle)

yo __ ___ 1.(nadar)
__ ___ 2.(beber)
él __ ___ 3.(vivir)
nosotros __ ___ 4.(salir)
vosotros __ ___ 5.(entrar)
ellos __ ___ 6.(prometer)

Solutions:
1) he nadado
2) has bebido
3) ha vivido
4) hemos salido
5) habéis entrado
6) han prometido


Exercise 3

In the following sentences, fill the gaps using the Present Perfect of the verbs in brackets.

(these are verbs with a regular Past Participle)

Tú __ ___ 1. (mejorar) mucho últimamente.
You have improved a lot lately.

Gonzalo no __ ___ 2.(dormir) la siesta hoy.
Gonzalo didn’t take a nap today.

Laura y sus amigos __ ___ 3.(comprar) las entradas.
Laura and her friends have bought the tickets.

Yo __ ___ 4.(comer) la carne que vosotros __ ___ 5.(cocinar).
I have eaten the meat that you guys have cooked.

Nosotras __ ___ 6.(nadar) dos horas.
We have swam for two hours.

Solutions:
1) has mejorado
2) ha dormido
3) han comprado
4) he comido
5) habéis cocinado
6) hemos nadado


Exercise 4

Conjugate the following verbs in Present Perfect.

(these are verbs with an irregular Past Participle)

yo __ ___ 1.(volver)
__ ___ 2.(ver)
él __ ___ 3.(decir)
nosotros __ ___ 4.(resolver)
vosotros __ ___ 5.(satisfacer)
ellos __ ___ 6.(poner)

Solutions:
1) he vuelto
2) has visto
3) ha dicho
4) hemos resuelto
5) habéis satisfecho
6) han puesto


Exercise 5

In the following sentences, fill the gaps using the Present Perfect of the verbs in brackets.

(these are verbs with an irregular Past Participle)

Nosotros no __ ___ 1.(romper) el vaso.
We haven’t broken the glass.

¿Qué __ ___ 2.(hacer) hoy Carmen y Marcos?
What have Carmen and Marcos done today?

Tú __ ___ 3. (escribir) una carta muy bonita.
You have written a very nice letter.

Yo __ ___ 4. (descubrir) cosas importantes este año.
I have discovered important things this year.

¿Qué __ ___ 5. (decir) vosotros?
What have you guys said?

Mi padre __ ___ 6.(resolver) el problema.
Mi father has solved the problem.

Solutions:
1) hemos roto
2) han hecho
3) has escrito
4) he descubierto
5) habéis dicho
6) ha resuelto

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