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Perfect Tense

Grammar Glossary for Spanish Students


Definition: A type of tense that indicates the completion of action. In English, the perfect tenses are formed by using "to have" followed by the past participle. In Spanish, the perfect tenses are formed by using haber followed by the past participle.

Perfect tenses shared by the two languages are all in the indicative mood: the present perfect (I have seen, he visto), past perfect (I had seen, había visto), future perfect (I will have seen, habré visto) and conditional perfect (I would have seen, habría visto). The past perfect is also known as the pluperfect.

Spanish also has a preterite perfect tense that can refer to past events (hube visto), but it is seldom used in modern Spanish. In addition, Spanish has two perfect subjunctive forms, the present perfect (que haya visto) and the past perfect (que hubiera visto).

Also Known As: Tiempo perfecto in Spanish.

Examples: Boldface verbs indicate use of perfect tenses: I have not seen the film. (No he visto la película.) All the children had left. (Todos los niños habían salido.) If they had told me that, I would have studied more. (Si me lo hubieran dicho, habría estudiado más.)

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