Past tenses in Spanish

Toda una vida – Online Spanish Tutor – Intermediate (Podcast 6)




Toda una vida – 6



In this podcast you will learn how to talk about the past, past experiences and recount stories in the past. I will show you how and when we use the different tenses and you will learn numerous vocabulary and expressions.

If you want to exploit at most this audio, get the worksheet available where you’ll find the grammar point, vocabulary and expressions that appear in this audio and some exercises to practice your Spanish.

You can download the podcast here.

Talk about the past in Spanish (I): Pretérito Perfecto de Indicativo (Present Perfect) 5

To talk about past experiences in an undefined time in the past, whether we don’t know exactly “when”, or just because it’s not important, we use the “Pretérito Perfecto de Indicativo” (Present Perfect).

  • Formation

The Pretérito Perfecto is formed in the same way as English, with the verb “haber” (is the auxiliar verb, like “to have” in English) and the participle. The auxiliary verb is conjugated for the subject of the sentece:


Pedro ha pagado las facturas.
Pedro has paid the bills. 

Ellas no han ido de vacaciones todavía.
They haven’t gone on holidays yet.

The participle is formed by dropping the infinitive ending and adding either -ado or -ido. The participle is invariable, it doesn’t change. We can’t put anything between the auxiliar verb and the participle:


Yo ya he aprendido a contar en alemán. And not: Yo he ya aprendido a contar en alemán.
I have already learn to count in german.

  • Uses:

1) The pretérito perfecto is frequently used for past actions that continue into the present or continue to affect in the present.


Mis amigos y yo hemos ido al cine esta semana a ver la última película de George Clooney.
My friend and I, we have gone to the cinema this week to watch the last movie of George Clooney.

He perdido las llaves y no puedo entrar en casa.
I have lost my keys and I can’t get into the house.

2) The pretérito perfecto is used sometimes with frequency expressions, like: todavía no, aún no, ya, una vez, dos veces, muchas veces, pocas veces…


Mi novio ha venido a visitarme a Córcega muchas veces.
My boyfriend has come to visit me in Corsica a lot of times.

Todavía no he aprendido a comunicarme en árabe con mis amigos marroquís, tengo que practicar más.
I haven’t learnt yet to communicate in Arabic with my Morocan friends, I have to practice more.