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8.11 TALKING ABOUT THE PAST: Regular Past Participles

The past participle of a verb is used to express the present perfect in English e.g. ‘I have spoken’, ‘I have eaten’, etc.


The past participle in Spanish is formed by changing the end of the verb to ‘ado’ for ‘ar’ verbs, and ‘ido’ for ‘er’ and ‘ir’ verbs.

Here are a few verbs with their past particles:

Trabajar -> trabajado
To work

Hablar -> hablado
To speak

Comer -> comido
To eat

Tener -> tenido
To have

Salir -> salido
To leave

Venir -> venido
To come

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In order to form the present perfect, we need to learn the present indicative forms of the verb ‘haber’ which is similar to the verb ‘tener’ - to have, but is used only to express ‘has’ or ‘have’ in the present perfect as in ‘I have done something’ or ‘She has done something’.

The following are the present indicative forms of the verb ‘haber’:

Yo he - I have
Tú has - You (informal) have
Usted ha - You (formal) have
Él/Ella ha - He/she has
Nosotros hemos - We have
Ustedes han - You (plural) have
Ellos/Ellas han - They have

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Now that you have seen the present indicative of ‘haber’ and we know how to form the past participle of regular ‘ar’, ‘er’ and ‘ir’ verbs let’s take a look at a few examples:

He trabajado mucho todo el día – I have worked a lot all day
¿Has comido estas galletas? – Have you eaten these cookies?
Hemos hablado con sus hermanos – We have spoken to his brothers
Ellos han traído mucha comida – They have brought a lot of food
Ella ha visitado la ciudad varias veces – She has visited the city many times

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The word ‘ya’ can be used to express something you have already done. Sentences can be formed by starting with the word 'ya' and following with a verb in any of the past tenses; for example:

Ya hemos comido todo el pollo – We have already eaten all the chicken
¿Ya has terminado la tarea? – Have you already finished the task?
Ya vieron la película – They have already seen the movie
¿Ya fuiste a la escuela? - Have you already been to the school? (literally, have you already gone to the school? or were you already at the school?)

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The word ‘ya’ can also mean ‘right now’:

Lo hago ya – I am doing it/I will do it right now
Tenemos que ir ya – We have to go right now

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