What are the perfect tenses in Spanish?

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What Are Perfect Tenses In Spanish Feature

Every verb has four perfect tenses in Spanish.

They are present perfect, past perfect, future perfect, and conditional perfect.

Perfect Tenses Spanish

In Spanish the perfect tenses are called los tiempos perfectos.

The four perfect tenses are formed with the auxiliary verb (a type of helping verb) haber and the past participle of the verb.

1. Present Perfect Verbs are formed with the helping verbs he, has, ha, hemos, habéis, han.

2. Past Perfect Verbs are formed with the helping verbs había, habías, había, habíamos, habíais, habían.

3. Future Perfect Verbs are formed with the helping verbs habré, habrás, habrá, habremos, habréis, habrán.

4. Conditional Perfect Verbs are formed with the helping verbs habría, habrías, habría, habríamos, habríais, habrían.

Spanish Past Participles

You need to know the past participle because the perfect tenses are formed using the past participle.

Here’s a chart showing you some examples of verbs broken into their principle parts.

InfinitivePresent ParticiplePast ParticipleTranslation
ganar(estar) ganando(haber) ganadowon
correr(estar) corriendo(haber) corridoran
descubrir(estar) descubriendo(haber) descubridodiscovered

Forming the Spanish Perfect Tenses

So, to form a perfect tense you place a conjugated haber in front of the past participle of the verb.

TenseHaber+ Past ParticiplePerfect TenseTranslation
Present Perfectheescritohe escritoI have written
Past Perfecthabíadichohabía dicho I had said
Future Perfecthabrépuestohabré puestoI will have put
Conditionalhabríavistohabría visto I would have seen

Take note that the helping verb haber must match the tense and the subject of the sentence.

The Four Perfect Tenses

Here is a brief overview of each of the perfect tenses. They are

You’ll find examples of how they are formed along with a breakdown of their parts.

In Spanish, the present perfect is called el pretérito perfecto.

It expresses the recent completion of an action.

The present perfect tense expresses actions that started in the past and have relevance to the present. It emphasizes the completion of an action, and the auxiliary verb “haber” is conjugated in the present tense.

Formation of the present perfect tense in Spanish:

subject + present tense of haber + past participle of the main verb.

I have eaten.

The main action verb is comido.

The helping verb is he. This is in the present tense.

He is in the first person singular, so the subject is yo (implied).

In Spanish, the past perfect is called el pretérito pluscuamperfecto.

The past perfect tense indicates an action completed before another past action or a specific point in the past. The helping verb “haber” is conjugated in the past tense.

Formation of past perfect tense in Spanish:

subject + past tense of haber + past participle of main verb

I had eaten.

The main action verb is comido.

The helping verb is habían. This is in the past tense.

Habían is in the third person plural, so the subject is ellos (implied).

In Spanish, the future perfect is called el futuro perfecto.

The future perfect tense anticipates the completion of an action by a specific point in the future. The helping verb “haber” is conjugated in the future tense.

Formation of the future perfect in Spanish:

subject + future tense of haber + past participle of main verb

I will have eaten.

The main verb is comido.

The helping verb is habré. This is in the future tense.

Habré is in the first person singular, so the subject is yo (implied).

In Spanish the conditional perfect is called el condicional perfecto.

The conditional perfect tense is used to express what would have happened under certain conditions in the past. The auxiliary verb “haber” is conjugated in the conditional tense.

Formation of conditional perfect in Spanish:

subject + conditional tense of haber + past participle of main verb

I would have waited.

The main verb is esperado.

The helping verb is habríamos. This is in the conditional tense.

Habríamos is in the first person singular, so the subject is nosotros (implied).

Here’s a Summary of the Perfect Tenses in Spanish

  • There are four kinds of perfect tenses (present perfect, past perfect, future perfect, conditional perfect).
  • Every perfect tense is a verb phrase, also known as a compound verb.
  • They are formed with the helping verb, Haber, and the past participle form of the main verb.

Do you understand Spanish perfect tenses now? I sure hope so.

Instant Conjugation Kit Ipad DeskIf you’d like to fast-track your way through verb conjugations, you need to check out our Instant Conjugation Kit!

It’ll save you time and wasted effort, and it will bring you well-earned confidence.

I hope this lesson has helped you learn about the Spanish perfect tenses!

This is original content from https://growspanish.com/what-are-perfect-tenses-in-spanish

Other Helpful Resources

What is a verb in Spanish?

How to Conjugate Spanish Verbs

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