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Table of contents Chapter 7 7.2 Modal verb haber and the perfect participle

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Chapter 7: Compound Tenses

  7.2 Modal verb haber and the perfect participle

In chapter 7.1 we had a glance at the English version of compound tenses with the modal verb to have and the perfect participle. Now have a look at the Spanish version of the same thing. There is the modal verb haber and the perfect participle. As usually in Spanish the formation of the participle depends on the ending of the infinitive verb (-ar, -er or -ir). With the perfect participle there are only a few irregular verbs. The regular verbs are formed as follows:

  Formation of the perfect participle in verbs with ending -ar
  infinitive stem ending perfect participle
tomar (to take) tom- -ado tomado (taken)
hablar (to speak) habl- -ado hablado (spoken)
comprar (to buy) compr- -ado comprado (bought)

  Formation of the perfect participle in verbs with ending -er
  infinitive stem ending perfect participle
comer (to eat) com- -ido comido (eaten)
vender (to sell) vend- -ido vendido (sold)
poder (to can) pod- -ido podido (could)

  Formation of the perfect participle in verbs with ending -ir
  infinitive stem ending perfect participle
recibir (to receive) recib- -ido recibido (received)
conducir (to steer) conduc- -ido conducido (steered)
venir (to come) ven- -ido venido (come)

Some verbs are irregular like poner, ver, ser and decir.

  Irregular perfect participle
poner (to put) puesto put
decir (to say, to tell) dicho said, told
ver (to see) visto seen
ser (to be) sido been

  Conjugation of haber
presente pretérito imperfecto pretérito indefinido
  yo he yo había yo hube
  tú has tú habías tú hubiste
  él ha él había él hubo
  nosotros hemos nosotros habíamos nosotros hubimos
  vosotros habéis vosotros habíais vosotros hubistéis
  ellos han ellos habían ellos hubieron
 

Unfortunately the verb haber itself is quite a irregular one. It changes the stem quite often. Anyway, since it is used so often there is nothing better to do than to learn the forms. Because:

  Compound tenses are formed with the respective form of haber and the perfect participle

haber in presente + perfect participle forms pretérito perfecto (he comido)

haber in pretérito imperfecto + perfect participle forms pretérito plusquamperfecto (había comido)
haber in pretérito indefinido + perfect participle forms pretérito anterior (hube comido)

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