We are now continuing our quest to learn how to talk about the recent past in Spanish and a few other things besides by forming the Past Participle of verbs. There are actually quite a few things to say about all of this which will take a few articles. Whilst the picture is still incomplete you will probably have all sorts of questions, but if you wait you may well find them answered as we go along.

So for this month we will just talk about the formation of the Past Participle and give a few examples at the end of the sorts of sentences we are aiming at so that you’re not left completely in the dark.

We saw last month that in the case of regular verbs, (that is most of them), we take the two letter endings off our infinitive verbs and make a simple change with them.
The –ar ending becomes – ado and the –er and –ir endings become – ido.

This gives us, for example:
To speak – hablar; spoken – hablado
To drink – beber; drunk – bebido
To sleep – dormer; slept – dormido

Now this is very simple indeed, but there are a few irregular verbs as well to think about. Happily they are very common, so we tend to get to know them quite quickly. Here are some of them:

Abrir – to open; abierto – opened
Escribir – to write; escrito – written
Decir – to say/to tell; dicho – said/told
Hacer – to make/to do; hecho – made/done
Morir – to die; muerto – died
Ver – to see/to watch; visto – seen/watched
Volver – to return; vuelto -returned

I feel I can go no further without given you actual examples of how these things are used, on the understanding that more will be explained next time, particular regarding the translation of ‘have’ and ‘has’ in these sentences.

Here we go:
He hablado con mi vecino.
I have spoken to my neighbour.
Has escrito una carta.
You have written a letter
Ha dormido bien.
He has slept well.
Hemos visto la película.
We have seen the film.
Habéis vuelto de vacaciones.
You have come back from holiday.
Han bebibo mucha cerveza.
They have drunk a lot of beer.

Before next month, practise forming some more Past Participles. Here are some verbs we have already learnt to get you started. They are all regular so you should do them in a jiffy: trabajar, cocinar, bailar, aprender, comer, firmar, visitar, tener, comprar, conducir, ir, cambiar.

Jane Cronin’s “Step by Step Spanish” articles are available as e-books at www.janecronin.eu where you can also obtain Jane’s “Step by Step Internet Spanish” course.