How To Use the Present Perfect Indicative Tense in Spanish (2023)

How To Use the Present Perfect Indicative Tense in Spanish (1)

November 24, 2021 by Olga Put Spanish Grammar 0 comments

Present perfect indicative Spanish is one of the 18 tenses you need to master in Spanish. It’s a tense that links the past to the present.

Look at its Spanish name: pretérito perfecto compuesto de indicativo. Let’s break it down into comprehensible parts.

It’s preterite because it refers to an action in the past, but in the present moment this action is perfect, it means “completed.”

It’s also compuesto (compound) because you form it with two words that I’ll explain later.

And it’s indicative, as it expresses real actions and facts. You’ll need this information later when you’re more advanced with Spanish grammar to compare the present perfect indicative vs subjunctive Spanish.

That’s why you’ll use the present perfect indicative Spanish to talk about things that started in the past and continue to the present moment.

How To Form Present Perfect Indicative Spanish

It’s easy to form the present perfect indicative in Spanish. It works the same way as in English.

In English, it’s the auxiliary verb “have” + past participle of the main verb. In Spanish:

auxiliary verb haber + past participle of the main verb.

Example Sentences in Spanish

Pedro ha vivido en cinco países.
Pedro has lived in five countries.

Nosotros hemos trabajado mucho.
We have worked a lot.

Let’s see in detail both elements you need to form the present perfect indicative Spanish.

How to Conjugate the Verb Haber

This is the conjugation table of the auxiliary verb haber. It’s irregular, so it does not follow the typical rules for the conjugation of the –er verbs.

Yo heI have
Tú hasYou have
Él, ella, usted haShe, he, it has (fml. You have)
Nosotros hemosWe have
Ustedes hanYou have
Ellos, ellas hanThey have

Remember that the letter h is silent in Spanish; don’t pronounce it.

How to Create Regular Past Participle Forms

The second element you need is the past participle form of the main verb.

The regular past participles in Spanish end in -ado for -ar conjugations and -ido for both -er and -ir conjugations. They are easy to form. Just take off the infinitive ending, -ar, -er, or –ir, and add the past participle ending -ado or -ido.

  • Amar (to love) – amado (loved)
  • Vivir (to love) – vivido (lived)
  • Comer (to eat) – comido (eaten)

Example Sentences in Spanish

Siempre te he amado.
I have always loved you.

Hemos vivido en la misma casa los últimos diez años.
We have lived in the same house over the last ten years.

He comido demasiado.
I have eaten too much.

How To Use the Present Perfect Indicative Tense in Spanish (2)

Learn more about forming past participles in Spanish here.

However, not all the past participle forms are regular, so let’s have a look at the present perfect indicative Spanish irregulars.

Irregular Past Participles

The good news is that only certain -ir verbs have irregular past participles. So with the other two conjugation groups, you can always be sure that the regular form you formed is correct.

There are two types of irregular past participles:

  1. Accented past participle forms
  2. Completely irregular past participles

I will put them in two separate charts, so it’s easier to study them.

Accented Past Participle Forms Chart

atraer – atraídoto attract – attracted
caer – caídoto fall – fallen
creer – creídoto believe – believed
leer – leídoto read – read
oír – oídoto hear – heard
poseer – poseídoto possess – possessed
reír – reídoto laugh – laughed
sonreír – sonreídoto smile – smiled
traer – traídoto bring – brought

Example Sentences in Spanish

Siempre me han atraído los países de América Latina.
I have always been attracted to Latin American countries.

¡Me he reído muchísimo!
I have laughed so much!

¿Me has oído?
Did you hear me?

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Other Irregular Past Participles Chart

abrir – abiertoto open – opened
absolver – absueltoto absolve – absolved
cubrir – cubiertoto cover – covered
decir – dichoto say – said
escribir – escritoto write – written
hacer – hechoto do – done
morir – muertoto die – died
poner – puestoto put – put
resolver – resueltoto solve – solved
romper – rototo break – broken
satisfacer – satisfechoto satisfy – satisfied
ver – vistoto see – seen
volver – vueltoto return – returned

Example Sentences in Spanish

¿Has hecho la tarea?
Have you done your homework?

Nunca la he visto antes.
I have never seen her before.

He escrito un libro de aventuras.
I have written an adventure book.

Check out A Quick Grammar Guide to Present Perfect Irregulars in Spanish to learn more.

Remember that the auxiliary verb haber and the past participle of the main verb can never separate. If you need to put a pronoun in present perfect indicative Spanish, it will always go before the auxiliary verb haber.

Me lo han regalado.
It has been given to me as a gift.

Te lo he dicho.
I have told you!

When To Use Present Perfect Indicative Spanish

Present perfect indicative is past tense with connection to the present moment. This is a general description, so let’s have a look at four specific uses:

1. To Talk About an Unfinished Period of Time

You’ll use the present perfect indicative Spanish to talk about actions that started in the past but are still going on, you haven’t completed them.

He estudiado español por 2 meses.
I have studied Spanish for two months.

You started Spanish two months ago but you still do, and hopefully, you’ll also do it in the future.

(Video) Present Perfect Indicative Tense in Spanish | The Language Tutor *Lesson 55*

In this usage, you’ll often use it with expressions such as:

  • hoy – today
  • este mes – this month
  • este año – this year

Hoy he comido muy poco.
I ate very little today.

Este año he viajado tres veces fuera de mi país.
This year I have traveled three times outside of my country.

How To Use the Present Perfect Indicative Tense in Spanish (4)

2. To Talk About the Recent Past

You can use present perfect indicative Spanish to talk about something that happened recently. It’s so recent that the time period is not finished yet.

He lavado los platos.
I have washed the dishes.

3. To Talk About the General Past

You’ll often use the present perfect indicative Spanish to talk about undetermined past without any specific time markers.

¿Has oído las últimas noticias?
Have you heard the news?

¿Has hecho la tarea?
Have you done your homework?

4. To Talk About Life Experiences

As your life is something that still goes on when you refer to it, you’ll use present perfect indicative Spanish to talk about any life experiences.

Nunca he ido a Guatemala.
I have never been to Guatemala.

You’re alive and maybe you will go to Guatemala in the future.

He leído este libro tres veces.
I have read this book three times.

How To Use the Present Perfect Indicative Tense in Spanish (5)

You might read it a couple of times more in the future.

In this usage, you will often accompany the present perfect indicative with expressions like:

  • nunca – never
  • alguna vez – once
  • ya – already, yet
  • todavía – already, yet

Ya lo he visto tres veces.
I have already seen it three times.

Todavía no he comprado la versión nueva.
I haven’t bought the new version yet.

Present Perfect Indicative in Spanish – Quiz

How To Use the Present Perfect Indicative Tense in Spanish (6)

It’s time to check your knowledge with present perfect indicative Spanish practice!

Answer the questions or choose the correct word to complete the sentences.

1. Which sentence is correct?

Correct! Wrong!

2. Pedro _______ vivido en 5 países.

Correct! Wrong!

(Video) Forming the PRESENT PERFECT in Spanish (PRESENTE PERFECTO)

3. Mis padres _______ vivido aquí toda la vida.

Correct! Wrong!

4. Nosotros _______ aprendido de nuestros errores.

Correct! Wrong!

5. ¿Has _______ este libro? (leer)

Correct! Wrong!

6. ¿Pero qué has _______? (hacer)

Correct! Wrong!

(Video) Understanding Past Perfect Indicative Tense in Spanish | The Language Tutor *Lesson 57*

7. ¡Me has _______ mi cuaderno! (romper)

Correct! Wrong!

8. Mi hermano ya ha _______ su primer libro. (escribir)

Correct! Wrong!

9. ¡Te lo he _______! (decir)

Correct! Wrong!

10. Nunca te he _______. (creer)

Correct! Wrong!

Present Perfect Indicative in Spanish

Wow, you've mastered the present perfect indicative in Spanish! Good job!

How To Use the Present Perfect Indicative Tense in Spanish (7)

You've got a solid understanding of how to use the present perfect indicative and the quality of your Spanish conversations are exploding through the roof!

You've almost mastered present perfect indicative in Spanish. Your consistent practice is leading to better results!

How To Use the Present Perfect Indicative Tense in Spanish (8)

As you keep up your hard work and practice, you're starting to understand better how to use present perfect indicative. For more study materials, keep up-to-date with our newest published blog posts at Homeschool Spanish Academy. *YOU'RE ALMOST THERE! You can do it!* Do you prefer learning with videos? Check out our YouTube channel Spanish Academy TV for the best Spanish learning content on the web

Practice makes perfect! Keep on studying!

How To Use the Present Perfect Indicative Tense in Spanish (9)

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(Video) Present Perfect Tense in Spanish: The Ultimate Guide

Improve Your Spanish

Great! You’ve learned your first Spanish past tense! Now, if you want to keep learning Spanish grammar, you need to be consistent in your learning. I know that sometimes it’s challenging to find motivation every day, but it’s the only way to master a foreign language and become bilingual. Practice makes perfect.

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Olga Put

Freelance Writer at Homeschool Spanish Academy

I'm a Spanish philologist, teacher, and freelance writer with a Master's degree in Humanities from Madrid. I speak Polish, Spanish, and English fluently, and want to get better in Portuguese and German. A lover of literature, and Mexican spicy cuisine, I've lived in Poland, Spain, and Mexico and I'm currently living and teaching in Madeira, Portugal.

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(Video) Present Perfect Indicative and Subjunctive


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