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Have You Perfected the Perfect Tenses?

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Infographics of The Perfect Tense

What are Perfect Tenses?

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Categorically, when we speak of time we are referring to a verbal structure whose objective is to speak or express matters that have or have not occurred. Let's keep in mind that in English we use elements such as (have or has in the company of a past participle like the cases of danced, drank, dreamed) looking for a way to make known the events that have occurred in our lives, no matter if they happened a few hours, days or years ago, understanding this we will have a clearer notion since the perfect time in Spanish is used in a very similar way.

  • He terminado la serie. =I have finished the series.

  • Has hecho tu tarea? =Have you done your homework?

  • Has estado en tiktok? =Have you been to tiktok?

  • Nunca se ha distraído en la escuela. =Never been distracted at school.

  • Ha vendido su moto. =He has sold his bike.

  • Todavía no hemos comprado un avión. =We haven't bought a plane yet.

  • Ya se ha terminado. =It's already over.

  • La visita ha comido pizza. =The visitor has eaten pizza.

  • Compró un terreno y ha hecho una casa de campo. =He bought a piece of land and made a country house.

  • Nosotros hemos reído mucho. =We have laughed a lot.

  • Ellos han contado unas historias increíblemente asombrosas. =They have told some incredibly amazing stories.

  • Los muchachos han hecho una labor sensacional. =The boys have done a sensational job.

  • Hemos construido un sótano secreto. =We have built a secret basement.

  • La abuela ha hecho una torta de chocolate. =Grandma has made a chocolate cake.

  • Me he lastimado la pierna lesionada por jugar con el perro. =I've hurt my injured leg playing with the dog.

Do and Dont of Perfect Tenses

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It is easy to notice in the expressions and in the daily life how the use of the perfect time is found in Spanish to talk about eventualities of a recent past, a matter that in English would be carried out in such a case with the simple past.

In the perfect tense also reflective verbs intervene, which are constituted in the same way as for ordinary verbs. An important point in this aspect is to keep in mind that the reflexive pronouns (me, te, se, nos, os, se) must be accompanied later by (he, has, ha...) as seen below.

SujectReflexive pronounCompanionPast participleOrientation

Me he bañado. 

(I took a bath)


Te has bañado. 

(You have bathed)


Se ha bañado 

(He has bathed)


Nos hemos bañado. 

(We have bathed)


La habéis bañado.

(You have bathed her)


Se han bañado. 

(They have bathed)

  • Simón está enfermo desde Abril. =Simon has been sick since April.

  • Estoy conduciendo este auto desde hace mucho tiempo. =I've been driving this car for a long time.

  • Desde que te conocí olvidé el dolor. =Since I met you I forgot the pain.

  • Desde cuando tienes ese color de cabello? =Since when do you have that hair color?

  • Hace mucho tiempo no te veía. =It's been a long time since I've seen you.

  • Comencé a estudiar desde el lunes. =I started studying since Monday.

  • Has estado jugando desde hace mucho rato. =You have been playing for a long time.

Present Perfect Tense

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  • Ha vivido: Ha vivido aquí toda su vida. =Has lived: She has lived here all her life.

  • Han escrito: Ya han escrito tres letras. =Have written: They have written three letters already.

  • Ha trabajado: He trabajado aquí desde que me gradué de la escuela. =Have worked: I have worked here since I graduated school.

  • Ha hecho: ha terminado su tarea. =Has done: He has finished his homework.

  • Han estado: hemos estado en Canadá. =Have been: We have been to Canada.

  • Ha olvidado: ha olvidado su carpeta. =Has forgotten: She has forgotten her folder.

Examples of Present Perfect Tense

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Present perfect tense can be used with expressions that are unspecific in time:

  • He perdido mi bolso. =I have lost my purse.

  • Ya hemos visto esta película. =We have seen this movie already.

  • Se ha roto la pierna. =He has broken his leg.

  • Ha habido un accidente. =There has been an accident.

Present Perfect Tense Used to Express an Unfinished Period of Time

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  • No la hemos visto hoy. =We haven't seen her today.

  • Ellas han estado en el centro comercial dos veces este mes. =They have been to the mall twice this month.

  • Ella ha visto ese programa tres veces esta semana. =She has watched that show three times this week.

Using Present Perfect in Talking About Events That Happened in The Recent Past But The Effect of The Recent Event is Still Felt in The Present

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  • Las niñas han hecho un desastre en la cocina =The children have made a mess in the kitchen.

  • Ha comenzado un nuevo trabajo. =He has started a new job.

  • Ella ha terminado sus quehaceres. =She has finished her chores.

Related Lessons in Expert Course, to further your understanding.

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The Pluperfect Tense

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The Passive

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Impersonal Verbs

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The Subjunctive

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