Sunday, 21 October 2012

It's got to be.e.e.e.e.e.e perfect

Learning to speak Spanish is, like Genius, 99 percent perspiration but, just occasionally, you come across one simple thing that allows you to take a huge step forward,with very little extra effort.
We all know that verb conjugation is the backbone of any language,but it can be backbreaking work, learning the conjugations of all the verbs in all the tenses.

So, how about if I told you that you could conjugate EIGHT different tenses just by conjugating ONE verb?
It sounds too good to be true but, just this once, it really is that simple.
Look at this example.

I have eaten. We had eaten.They will have eaten.
I have been.You had been.He will have been.
He has spoken. She had spoken. I will have spoken.
We've just used three verbs, in three different tenses,and different 'persons' but used the same form of the verb in each case - the past participle - eaten,been,and spoken.
The only verb we actually had to conjugate was 'have'.

The same is true in Spanish.
Using the verb 'haber' and the past participle of any other verb, you can create the so-called 'perfect'tenses.

So, let's list the tenses.

I have built it - Lo he construido - present perfect
I had eaten - Yo había comido - pluperfect
I will have done it - Lo habré hecho - future perfect
I would have bought it - Lo habría comprado - conditional perfect
It's good that you have read it - Es bueno que tu lo hayas leido - present perfect subjunctive
I doubted that he had seen me - Yo dudaba que él me hubiera visto - pluperfect subjunctive Thanks for having been here - Gracias por haber estado aquí - perfect infinitive

Perhaps the claim of EIGHT tenses was a little exaggerated, as the remaining one is rarely used, even in literature, but it doesn't hurt to be able to identify it.
After I had eaten, I went out - Después de que hube comido, salí - preterite perfect

Apart from the conjugations of the verb 'haber', all you need for all the other verbs is the past participle.
To get this with most regular verbs - drop 'ir' or 'er' from the end of the infinitive, and add 'ido' Examples:
Comer - comido
Vender - vendido
Salir - salido

With 'ar'verbs, just drop the 'ar'and add 'ado'
Comprar - comprado
Llorar - llorado
Pensar - pensado
Estar - estado

Of course, as usual in Spanish, there are a fair few irregular verbs, but I'm afraid, for them, it's back to the perspiration, and learn them as best you can.
A few examples:
Ver - visto
Ser - sido
Hacer - hecho
Decir - dicho
Poner - puesto

I'm not going to list the conjugations of haber here as, now you know about it, there are dozens of places to find verb charts, like

I hope that you found this useful or, put another way,
'Espero que tu lo hayas encontrado útil'

¡Hasta la próxima!