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https://www.duolingo.com/seanbastard

Confusion with when to use the present perfect

As i was taught it we use the present perfect tense to describe actions in the past that have been completed and in a set amount of time. so "last week i was eating this". "last year i played football a lot".... and the Preterit if we're not saying the action happened in a finished period of time.. now im not entirely sure that is true

In duolingo the sentences don't seem to qualify by having a time period in there and it seems more like "i have done/played/been/made" with the he/ha/has/hemos being a replacement for have/has?

Really confusing myself here, is qualfying the statement does anyone have any good links to an online explanation as to when I should use this tense?

For example, "Hemos pedido la comida" how do i know when to use that, rather than "nosotros pedimos la comida".

Sorry... my brain is a mess :-/

3 years ago

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Cheryl1
Cheryl1
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I understand your frustration. The present perfect tense section is really confusing as are many of the other more advanced grammar topics such as modal verbs (which may cause my early demise:). I'm no expert but here is what I know:

The present perfect is used to talk about what someone has done in the past. It is not required to state that it was done in a set amount of time. This is where I think you are getting confused. For example: Tú no has aumentado de peso. (You have not gained weight.) Siempre hemos vivido en Bolivia. (We have always lived in Bolivia.) These sentences don't state when the action was completed but it's obvious that what has occurred is complete, hence it's a ''perfect'' tense.

It is formed with the present tense of the auxiliary verb haber + past participle.

Just a note.....The past participle doesn't change in form when it's part of the present perfect tense, however, it does change when the PP is used as an adjective. Example: Maria ha abierto las ventanas. (Mary has opened the windows). Las ventanas están abiertas. (The windows are open).

In Spanish, the present perfect indicative is generally used just as in English: to talk about what someone has done or what has occurred. It usually refers to the recent past. He trabajado cuarenta horas esta semana. (I have worked forty hours this week.) ¿Cuäl es el último libro que has leido? (What is the last book that you read)

One difference from the English use is that the auxiliary verb and the past participle are often separated whereas in Spanish they cannot be separated. Also, note that ''to have'' can be either a main verb or an auxiliary verb in English. As a main verb it corresponds to ''tener'' Tengo muchas amigas. (I have a lot of friends.). As an auxiliary verb it corresponds to ''haber''. He tenido much éxito. (I have had a lot of success.)

The word ''no'', object or reflexive prns. are placed immediately before haber. Ellos no lo han terminado. (They haven't finished it.)

To form the present perfect of ''hay'', use the third person singular of haber (ha) + habido. Ha habido un accidente en la calle Central. (There has been an accident on Central Street.)

Hope this helps!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/seanbastard

thanks a lot, im begining to get my head around it, but holly crap, when speaking spanish its going to blow my mind thinking first which tense to use. I guess it'll come naturally in time.

I recently changed my facebook into spanish and noticed that they had written "Bob comentó la foto de tim" and then "Tim ha comentado tu publicatión"... that was the initial source of my frustration as I couldn't work out why both use a different tense.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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Preterite - something that happened in the past with a distinct beginning and end.
Imperfect - something that happened in the past without a distinct beginning and end; something that was ongoing; frequently used to set the stage for a second clause that is preterite.
Present progressive - have (haber) in the present, followed by the participle form of the verb. I have talked/he hablado, you have eaten/has comido, he has asked/ha pedidio.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CharmingTiger
CharmingTiger
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Thus said The Master.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lrtward
Lrtward
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You are ridiculous.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/seanbastard

Thanks a lot, really helps

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/CattleRustler

I am not going to try and describe the Perfect tenses by time periods, rather the conversion from how you would phrase things in english using various forms of 'have' (the haber part) seems to convert correctly into the spanish perfect tenses. I could be wrong about this as I have not had (<--aha, present perfect! no he tenido!) any formal training on this outside of DL but they way I see it, you use the tenses with the following types of expressions, the expressions are just simple examples of categories, or types of sentences...

Present Perfect - Have/Has - I have read that book, she has seen that movie

Past Perfect - Had - I had read the hobbit before I read the lord of the rings trilogy

Future Perfect - Will Have - by the time I get to your house you will have eaten already

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/seanbastard

thanks

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lenkvist
Lenkvist
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The Present Perfect is used to describe something that started in the past and is still of influence today. "Last week I was eating this" is not an example of the Present Perfect, it is Past Continuous. And the Past Continuous is often used to describe a past action that was interrupted: "last week I was eating when the phone rang".

The correct form for the Present Perfect is have/has + past participle. For example, "I have lived here for ten years". That is what you are describing, so I guess Duolingo's use is correct. If you are still confused, then it might be best to search for some grammar sources with explanations about the different tenses and aspects.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/seanbastard

thanks

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Carnaedy
CarnaedyPlus
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He quitado mis pantalones -- I have taken off my pants, they are off right now´as we speak, my past action is still relevant now.

Quité mis pantalones -- I took off my pants at a definite point in the past. They were off, but their current state is unknown, I might have put them back on.

Quitaba mis pantalones -- I used to take off my pants over some period of time, or, alternatively, my action of taking off pants defines a period of time when some other events I will tell you next happened, e.g. "Quitaba mis pantalones cuando la puerta se abrió". Their current state is also unknown. Actually, in second case you don't even know if I managed to take them off completely.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/seanbastard

thanks

3 years ago