The Present Perfect is roughly equivalent in both English and Spanish provided we take note of some exceptions. In general, this tense is used in a time-frame which is not yet finished. For example, time expressions like today, this week, or this year make reference to time situations which have not ended yet. Compare a term like 'this week' (unfinished time) to one like 'last week' (finished time).
Within the Spanish language, it should be noted that whereas in Spain the Present Perfect is roughly compatible in both English and Spanish, many Latin American speakers tend to use the Preterite in the same situation:
¿Cuándo has venido?
He comido mucho hoy.
Ellos han llegado esta mañana.
Comí mucho hoy.
Ellos llegaron esta mañana.
There is one other important situation where the Present Perfect in English is not compatible with its counterpart in Spanish, regardless of the country. In situations which refer to actions begun in the past which continue, English uses the Present Perfect and Spanish uses three other structures. Examples of this:
I've lived here for two years.
Hace dos años que vivo aquí. (or)
Vivo aquí desde hace dos años. (or)
Llevo dos años viviendo aquí.
The Present Perfect is composed of the verb Haber + the Past Participle.
The past participle of -ar verbs is formed by taking of the ending and adding -ado. That of -er and -ir verbs adds -ido. Examples:
I've spoken yo he hablado
you've worked tú has trabajado
he's eaten él ha comido
we've lived hemos vivido
they've lived ellos han vivido
But of course, the irregulars will never let us alone. The following is a list of the most common verbs with an irregular past participle:
abrir (open) abierto
cubrir (cover) cubierto
escribir (write) escrito
morir (die) muerto
poner (put) puesto
-solver (-solve) -suelto
romper (break) roto
volver (return) vuelto
satisfacer (satisfy) satisfecho
decir (say / tell) dicho
hacer (do / make) hecho
ver (see) visto
Notice that -solver -- -suelto is shown as a suffix. This is because there are a number of verbs that change the prefix. A couple of examples: resolver -- resuelto or disolver -- disuelto.
General Considerations about Verbs
Preterite (Simple Past)
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