Present Perfect (Past Indefinite)  

The Perfect Tenses Present Perfect

Like English, Spanish has the compound verb form called the present perfect. It is made up of two parts: the auxiliary verb haber in its present indicative form, conjugated according to the subject and a past participle. The present indicative form of haber is conjugated in the following manner:
yo he
él/ella/ Ud. ha
nosotros (as) hemos
vosotros (as) habéis
ellos/ ellas/ Uds. han

The past participle is formed by adding the suffix -ado to -ar verbs and -ido to -er and -ir verbs. Here are some examples:

-ar verbs:                  -er and -ir verbs:

hablar  - hablado            comer - comido
cambiar - cambiado           tener - tenido
gustar  - gustado            salir - salido

Many verbs have irregular past participles. Here are some of the most common ones:

-er and -ir verbs:

abrir - abierto    poner  - puesto   morir - muerto    hacer - hecho 
decir - dicho      romper - roto     ver   - visto

The present perfect tense refers to a completed action and generally does not specify the details of that action. For example:

  • He nadado en el Golfo de México.
    I have swum in the Golf of Mexico.

We don't know exactly when this person swam in the Golf of Mexico we only know that he or she has done it at some point in the past. Generally, when the specific details of a past event are mentioned the preterite is used. For example:

  • Nadé en el Golfo de México cuando estuvimos en Veracruz el año pasado.
    I swam in the Golf of Mexico when we were in Veracruz last year.

However it should be noted that in Spain and Bolivia the present perfect is often used interchangeably with the preterite.

A common use of the present perfect is when one is expressing the idea of having done something within a period of time that has not yet finished. For example:

  • Hemos hablado mucho esta semana.
    We've spoken a lot this week.
  • No me has visitado este mes.
    You haven't visited me this month.
  • Me he bañado tres veces hoy.
    I've bathed three times today.

One difference regarding the use of the present perfect is that, unlike in English, no words can come between the auxiliary (haber) and the past participle in Spanish. For example:

  • Nunca he estado allí.
    I have never been there.
  • Siempre nos ha gustado Italia.
    We've always liked Italy.

Popular Phrase: gustar present tense | Medical Spanish | Conjugated Verb: renombrar - to rename [ click for full conjugation ]