This is the last of the articles about the ‘recent past’ or ‘present perfect’ tense before we move on to pastures new. Here is a text written a while ago (and at a different time of year!) which exemplifies the use of the tense along with a few other bits and pieces.

¡Hola! ¿Qué tal?
¿Qué habéis hecho desde la semana pasada?
Yo he descansado un poco, ¡por fin! Fui a la ciudad de Almería durante dos días, incluyendo Nochevieja. Es una ciudad pequeña y tranquila pero tiene sus cosas interesantes. Tiene un castillo enorme que se llama La Alcazaba y que domina la ciudad. También tiene un refugio subterráneo de la guerra civil que es único en España por su extensión. Como me gusta mucho la historia, era muy interesante para mí.

Mis hijas han descansado también. Una ha ido con un grupo de amigos a un pueblo cerca de Albacete. Dice que es una zona muy bonita. Mi otra hija ha visitado a sus amigas en Asturias. Ha viajado desde Alicante a Gijón en tren y ha visto mucha nieve a lo largo del camino.

Mi gata ha descansado mucho también.

Ahora estamos todos en casa otra vez para empezar lo que los españoles llaman “la cuesta de enero”.

Apart from the abundant use of the ‘recent past’ tense, there are a few other things to comment on.
Firstly the final expression: la cuesta de enero. This means something like ‘the uphill struggle of January’. Cuesta normally means a slope, but la cuesta de enero is a particular kind of difficult upward slope which those of you who work will identify with and those who have retired can perhaps vaguely remember. As well as the psychologist effects of returning to work in the middle of winter, it also refers to the economic problems left by overspending over the Christmas period. My cat finds January particularly arduous with people coming in and out of the house and at different times of day.

Finally, I would like to link back to things we looked at some time ago – namely for the formation of ‘negatives and questions’. We saw that to form negative sentences all we need to do is place the word ‘no’ before the verb. The same principle applies to all verb tenses, including this one. For example:
No he hecho los deberes.
I haven’t done my homework.

When we name the subject, the word ‘no’ stays in front of the verb. Mi hermano no ha vendido su casa.
My brother hasn’t sold his house.

Similarly when we are forming closed questions; that is questions that require ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as an answer, we simply make statements sound like questions with our voice, without any change in word order.

Tu hermano ha vendido su casa.
Your brother has sold his house.

¿Tu hermano ha vendido su casa?
Has your brother sold his house.

In the next article we will look at the text translation first and then I think it’s time we learnt about ‘open questions’ as opposed to ‘closed’ ones.

¡Hasta el mes que viene!

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