There has been a lot of frustration about these lessons, in particular the use of "have" vs "has been". Many of us, myself included, have (unfairly) accused Duolingo of being inconsistent and not accepting correct answers. There is a difference between present perfect in English and Portuguese which explains the difficulty. Read the following for a better understanding.

Comment by DaviGee in relation to "O diretor tem chegado cedo ao hospital."

In Portuguese the present perfect includes a continuous or repetitive sense. It should not be used for a single occurrence. That is why "The director has arrived at the hotel early" would be incorrect on its own because it implies only one arrival. However, it would work if it was followed by "every day this week" which implies more than one. In order, then, to translate the Portuguese sentence "O diretor tem chegado cedo ao hospital" so that it includes the sense that it is more than one arrival, we need to use the continuous tense in English, i.e. "The director has been arriving at the hospital early".


The Portuguese present perfect form conveys a true perfect aspect. Modern Portuguese differs from Spanish in that the auxiliary used is normally ter (cf. Spanish tener) rather than haver (cf. Spanish haber). Furthermore, the meaning of the present perfect is different from that in Spanish in that it implies an iterative aspect. Eu tenho comido translates approximately "I have eaten and I'm still eating", rather than "I have eaten".


Whereas in English this structure refers to a state of completion following an action, in Portuguese it has the function of a progressive tense describing an action or process going on over some length of time.

Ela tem malhado muito. / She has been working out a lot.


Ultimamente, tenho me interessado pela política Americana. / Lately, I have been interested in international politics.


Eu não tenho assistido televisão. / I have not been watching television.

Now, a sentence like:

I’ve started studying Portuguese recently.

Eu tenho começado a estudar Português recentemente. x WRONG

Eu comecei a estudar Português recentemente. RIGHT

June 1, 2013


Very good! (Conclusion is that present perfect is not truly "perfect" in Portuguese, it's perfect continuous, even if it uses the participle).

There is a corresponding tense, present perfect continuous, using gerund, with the auxiliar verb "vir"

--- Eu venho comendo = I have been eating

--- Tu vens comendo

--- Ele vem comendo.

That would also mean "I come eating" (eating while I come). Context would tell them appart.

--- Eu venho comendo peixe há muito tempo - I have been eating fish for a long time

--- Eu venho comendo no caminho - I come eating on the way.

This "venho comendo" is a little more continuous than the "tenho comido".

Tenho comido indicates an habit that appeared some time ago.

Venho comendo indicates something a little more frequent that will probably keep on going.

But they can be interchanged without much loss.

September 17, 2013

Regarding: ‘Many of us, myself included, have (unfairly) accused Duolingo of being inconsistent and not accepting correct answers.’

Since Duolingo sometimes did and sometimes didn't accept the translation that conveyed the iterative aspect I think the accusations were (and to the extent that the problem persists, are) fair.

August 2, 2013

Thanks a lot. But I have to say,you have writed too much.And I just get one point,"In Portuguese the present perfect includes a continuous or repetitive sense. "

June 7, 2013

No worries, it was almost all copy/paste so I didn't actually write much at all :)

June 7, 2013

Thank you for this :)

July 23, 2013

Man! Thanks a lot! The examples were pretty useful. Those portuguese present perfect tenses are tricky.

July 24, 2013

This article is great. Helps us to understand better. Thanks for it Riley

July 27, 2013

Thank you Riley, as I was having problems with this lesson in particular =)

September 29, 2013

Most useful to me was: "In Portuguese the present perfect includes a continuous or repetitive sense". So think "HAS BEEN" rather than "HAVE" or "HAD" - present perfect = its not over yet :-)

Awesome help before lesson, passed at 2nd attempt, can't imagine how many efforts without the heads-up. Big thanks.

November 12, 2013
Learn a language in just 5 minutes a day. For free.