Spanish Verbs. Lesson 4

Free Course: Spanish Verbs - Lesson 4

Spanish verbs
Course on verb tenses and forms

Lesson 4: ¿¡Qué has hecho?! What have you done?!


In this lesson we will learn:

  • how the perfect past tense is formed (Pretérito perfecto or Pretérito perfecto compuesto)
  • what situations and indicators help us to choose the perfect past tense

Does it seem to you that there are so many Spanish tenses that you will never master them? Don’t worry. The secret of success is to create a clear matrix in our head where each tense has its special place. First, stop trying to remember all the tenses at once. Remember the situations and the time markers for each tense. You will see that at the end of the course all the tenses will take their place in a logical and beautiful system of verb forms.

Spanish vocabulary

Vocabulary

In this lesson we will practice the following vocabulary. Read the words, listen to the audio and remember them:

horno

oven

harina

flour

calabaza

pumpkin

toque

touch

caviar

caviar

ración

serving

exquisito

exquisit

barriga

belly

obra de arte

piece of art

estación del año

season

globo

balloon

cartel

poster

enorme

giant

desastre

disaster

Verbos:

Verbs:

dar un susto

to scare

gritar

to scream

caer

to fall

intentar

to try

romper

to break

quemar

to burn

decorar

to decorate

saborear

to taste

llenar

to fill

fregar

to clean

cumplir (años)

to turn (that many years)

atreverse

to dare

encantar

to love something

escoger

to choose

tener en cuenta

to keep in mind

encargar

to order

encargarse de algo

to take care of something

salvar

to save

Spanish dialogues

Dialogues

Listen carefully to the following Spanish dialogues. They will help you understand the grammar of this lesson:

Spanish grammar

Spanish grammar

Read carefully the explanation of the grammar of this lesson:

How the perfect past tense is formed (Pretérito perfecto)

Pretérito perfecto is used to describe actions that occurred in an unfinished time period (this morning / this week / this year). To use this tense correctly, you need to be attentive to the time indicators. Pretérito perfecto is also called compuesto (compound) because it is composed of two parts: the auxiliary verb haber and the past participle. The participle is formed as follows:

  • verbs ending in -ar: -ado (hablado, trabajado, comprado)
  • verbs ending in -er /-ir: -ido (comido, entendido, vivido)

Below you find an overview over the complete forms of the Pretérito perfecto:

Pronoun-ar: hablar (to speak)-ir: vivir (to live)
yohe habladohe vivido
has habladohas vivido
él, ella, ustedha habladoha vivido
nosotroshaemos habladohemos vivido
vosotroshabéis habladohabéis vivido
ellos, ustedeshan habladohan vivido

Some verbs have their own individual participle. Try to memorize these irregular forms:

verbirregular participletranslation
hacerhechoto do
decirdichoto say
escribirescritoto write
freírfritoto fry
imprimirimpresoto print
vervistoto see
morirmuertoto die
ponerpuestoto put
volvervueltoto come back
abrirabiertoto open

Please note that in the case of reflexive verbs, the reflexive pronoun is placed at the beginning, that is, before the verb “haber”:

  • Hoy me he duchado. – I have showered today.
  • Pedro se ha casado. – Pedro got married.

When to use Pretérito perfecto?

Remember the situations that require this tense:

  1. Things that happened today:
  2. He vuelto a casa hace dos horas. – I came home two hours ago.
    Hoy por la mañana hemos preparado un desyuno muy sano. – This morning we prepared a very healthy breakfast.

  3. Things that happened in an unfinished period of time (all expressions with the words “este, esta …”):
  4. Este año se ha ido de vacaciones dos veces. – He/she has gone on holidays twice this year.
    ¿Qué has hecho esta semana? – What have you done this week?

  5. Any expression with the meaning of “so far” (nunca, siempre, alguna vez, todavía no etc.):
  6. Nunca he vivido en un país extranjero. – I’ve never lived in a foreign country.
    Siempre ha querido decirle que la quiere. – He has always been meaning to tell her that he loved her.

  7. Expressions of closeness to the present moment (últimamante, en los últimos tiempos):
  8. Últimamente no te he visto en clases de yoga. – I haven’t seen you at yoga class lately.
    En los últimos tiempos, la situación ha cambiado mucho. – The situation has changed a lot recently.

  9. An action that happened at some point in the past but has an effect on the present:
  10. He decidido no comer carne. – I’ve decided not to eat meat (and I still don’t eat it).
    El gato se ha muerto. – The cat died (and we are sad).

Attention!
The construction “estar + gerundio” can also be used in Pretérito perfecto.


The combination of “estar + gerundio” can be used in this tense. Try to get a feel for the added meaning of lasting action that this construct expresses:

  • Hoy he estado cocinando toda la mañana. – I’ve been cooking all morning.
  • Ha estado lloviendo toda la semana. – It has been raining all week (the week is not over yet).

The time indicator for this construction are the words “todo, toda…”: toda la semana (all THIS week, we’re talking about a period of time that hasn’t ended yet), todo el año (all THIS year).

Pretérito perfecto has many time indicators to help you know when to use this tense. Let’s combine all the indicators into one table to better memorize them:

meaningindicator words
everything related to todayhoy
(hoy) por la mañana/ por la tarde
(hoy) a las cinco y media
(hoy) después de salir de casa…
hace dos horas
phrases with the words “este, esta”esta semana
este mes
este año
este siglo
estos días
este lunes
este último fin de semana
phrases with the meaning “up until now”nunca
siempre
varias veces
alguna vez
ya
todavía no
por ahora
phrases expressing closeness
to the moment
hace poco
hace un rato
últimamante
en los últimos tiempos
Spanish test

Test

Check what you remember from this lesson:

1. ¿Has ____ la cocina? Todo está sucio.
veído
visto
estado viendo

2. La verdad es que ____ me has gustado.
siempre
antes
ayer

3. Marcos ya no trabaja con nosotros. ____ .
Ha ido se
Ha se ido
Se ha ido

4. He hecho mucho ejercicio ____ .
la semana pasada
esta semana
la semana que viene

5. Después de las vacaciones Laura se ha ____ loca. Estudia español a todas horas.
volvido
vuelto
vuelta



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