Spanish Verbs: Present Perfect

The present perfect is formed by combining the past participle and the present indicative of the verb haber. The present perfect in Spanish is used to describe a past action that continues into the present or occurred in the recent past. In English, the equivalent is when a person "has" done or persons "have" done something. The present perfect is very common in Spain, while the preterite is more widely used in Latin and South America.

Again, the present perfect communicates what a person has done or what several people have done. Even the though the Spanish verb tener means to have, the present perfect is formed by combining the verb haber (conjugated in the present tense) and the past participle. In the present tense, haber is conjugated as follows:

  • he
  • has
  • ha
  • hemos
  • habéis
  • han

The past participle is formed by dropping the infinitive ending and adding -ado (for -ar verbs) and -ido (for -er/-ir verbs). However, don't forget, some past participles are irregular. The following are examples of the present perfect by combining the present indicative form of haber with the past participle of the verb "estudiar" (to study).

I have studied.
(yo) He estudiado.
You have studied.
(tú) Has estudiado.
He has studied.
(él) Ha estudiado.
We have studied.
(nosotros) Hemos estudiado.
You have studied. (familiar plural)
(vosotros) Habéis estudiado.
They have studied.
(ellos) Han estudiado.


Remember, the present perfect is formed by combining the present indicative haber + past participle. Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud. In each of the examples below notice how the past participle does not change gender or plurality to agree with the noun it modifies.

I have seen the colosseum in Rome.
He visto el coliseo en Roma.
You have been gone to the United States.
Has ido a los Estados Unidos.
You have written an inspiring novel.
Usted ha escrito una novela inspiradora.
She has slept 12 hours.
Ella ha dormido 12 horas.
He has said that his mom is very nice.
Él ha dicho que su madre es muy amable.
We have returned to the store to buy more supplies.
Hemos vuelto a la tienda para comprar más suministros.
You have studied for a long time.
Habéis estudiado por mucho tiempo.
You have made a delicious cake.
Ustedes han hecho una torta deliciosa.
They have visited every country in South America.
Ellos han visitado cada país en América del Sur.
They have heard what the man said to them.
Ellas han oído lo que les dijo el hombre.


The present perfect is used to express past actions that continue into the present, or past actions that continue to impact the present. Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud.

I have been in Uruguay for more than a month.
He estado en Uruguay por más de un mes.
Juan has been a good friend for many years.
Juan ha sido un buen amigo por muchos años.


To make a sentence negative using the present perfect, simply add the word "no" before the conjugated form of haber followed by the past participle. Remember, when forming the present perfect the conjugated "haber" and the past participle are never separated. Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud.

I have not visited Spain.
No he visitado España.
They have not visited Spain.
No han visitado España.


Object pronouns (ie. me, te, le) are placed immediately before the conjugated verb "haber" when using the past participle. Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud.

My dad has given a lot of money to his mother.
Mi padre le ha dado mucho dinero a su madre.
My dad has not given a lot of money to his mother.
Mi padre no le ha dado mucho dinero a su madre.


The present perfect can also be used with reflexive verbs. When using the present perfect with reflexive verbs, the reflexive pronoun is placed immediately before the conjugated verb haber. Read and listen to the following examples, then repeat each out loud.

I have combed my hair.
Me he peinado.
They have not combed their hair.
Ellos no se han peinado.