Unit 13 - The Present Perfect Tense
Lesson 13.2 - Regular Verbs in the Present Perfect

Learn to form the present perfect tense with verbs whose past participle is regular.

Forming the Present Perfect

This tense is formed in Spanish the same way it is in English.

You use a conjugated form of the verb haber as an auxiliary verb, and follow it with the past participle of the desired verb.

In English, the past participle is simply the -ed form of the verb, although there are lots of irregular past participles in English!

As an English example, the 1st person singular present perfect form of to walk is I have walked.

Forming the Past Participle

First we need to know how to form the past participle of a verb in Spanish.

It's quite easy. For -ar verbs, add -ado to the stem. For -er and -ir verbs, add -ido to the stem. (We'll see the irregular forms in the next lesson.)

Here are some examples, along with their meanings:

Infinitive Ending Past Participle Meaning
andar -ado andado   Play Audio walked
llamar -ado llamado   Play Audio called
comer -ido comido   Play Audio eaten
aprender -ido aprendido   Play Audio learned
vivir -ido vivido   Play Audio lived
decidir -ido decidido   Play Audio decided

The Auxiliary Verb haber

Now that we can form the past participle, we need to focus on the helping verb part of this tense, the verb haber.

Yes, it is irregular in the present tense.

But at least you only have to learn these forms once, and they appear in every present perfect conjugation.

Remember that the "h" is silent, so these are a bit odd looking and sounding.

Present Tense Conjugation of haber

Verb Form
Verb Form
Play Audio
Play Audio
Play Audio
Play Audio
Play Audio
Play Audio

Putting It Together

You have both parts of the puzzle, now just put them together.

To say I have walked, the Spanish is He andado Play Audio .

Some Examples

We have lived in Rome for many years.
Hemos vivido en Roma por muchos años. Play Audio

They have already eaten.
Ellos ya han comido. Play Audio

He has read the article.
Él ha leido el artículo. Play Audio

Let's look at an entire conjugation. These forms of comer mean I have eaten, You have eaten, etc.

Present Perfect Conjugation of comer

Verb Form
Verb Form
Play Audio
he comido
Play Audio
hemos comido
Play Audio
has comido
Play Audio
habéis comido
Play Audio
ha comido
Play Audio
han comido

Hearing This Tense is Harder Than Forming It

At least that was true for me. It is easy to write this tense, and to recognize it when you read it.

But for me, it was tricky to pick out of spoken Spanish for a long time.

The silent "h" makes the words he Play Audio , has Play Audio , and ha Play Audio very short and quick.

For me, that sound just tended to slide by without my even hearing it.

Really, it's not surprising. Many speakers do pronounce them so briefly that they are easy to miss altogether.

Fine Tuning Your Hearing

Eventually, my perception changed. I think my brain started zeroing in on the -ado and -ido sounds of the past participle, and then the forms of haber that preceded it somehow seemed more apparent.

If you are having the same trouble, don't give up. Understanding spoken Spanish is the hardest part of your journey, and this is one of the hurdles.

By knowing these structures well and seeing them in example sentences here, you will be primed to start catching those utterances in full-speed Spanish.

Practice the Regular Present Perfect

All of the exercises in this lesson will ask for a present perfect verb with a regularly formed past participle.

With that, you're ready to begin.

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Additional Study Resources

Dr Danny Evans with his usual thorough explanation, regular and irregular forms. (18:09)
Short, but lots of present perfect tense examples. (5:49)
Good coverage of the present tense, especially concerning additional uses of it.
Covers both regular and irregular forms, and also explains how the reflexive forms work.
Explains how useful this tense is, and covers some extra points that you should know.
Chapter 17, The Present Perfect Tense, pg 179, 4th ed.
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