Spanish compound tenses use the past participle form of the verb, e.g., he hablado, has comido, hemos vivido.
Just as in English, not all past participles end in -ed (She has lived, she has worked, but she has done or she has written), Spanish is the same: some past participles are irregular and do not follow the regular -ado/-ido rule but rather have a different form.
Ending in -to:
Let's look at some examples:
Mi novio me ha escrito una carta romántica.My boyfriend wrote me a romantic letter.
He vuelto del trabajo muy cansada.I returned from work very tired.
¿Dónde has puesto las llaves?Where did you put the keys?
Note that these Spanish examples use El Pretérito Perfecto to show you the past participle, but the English translation usually does not use the English past participle.
The irregular past participles are random! They don't follow any pattern so they need to be memorised. However once you know a verb has an irregular past participle, you know that most of their derivatives follow the same pattern.
poner (to put) = puesto
posponer (to postpone) = pospuesto
proponer (to propose) = propuesto
reponer (to replace) = repuesto
Other verbs with an irregular past participles ending in -to are:
Ver to see (veído)
Hemos visto una película muy interesante en el cine.We saw a very interesting film at the cinema.
Romper to break (rompido)
Los niños han roto el cristal de la ventana con una piedra.The kids broke the window with a stone.
Abrir to open (abrido)
Los estudiantes han abierto sus libros para empezar a estudiar.The students opened their books to start studying.
Morir to die (morido)
Su abuelo ha muerto de repente.His grandfather died suddenly.
Resolver to resolve (resolvido)
¿Has resuelto ya el problema?Have you already solved the problem?
Remember that past participles in compound tenses are invariable: they have one form (singular masculine) that does not vary depending on the gender of the person acting as subject.
El chico ha vuelto de España.
La chica ha vuelto de España.
La chica ha vuelta de España. (incorrect)
Ending in -cho:
Take a look at this table with the most common irregular past participles ending in -cho:
|Decir (to say)
|Hacer (to do)
|Deshacer (to undo)
|Predecir (to predict)
|Satisfacer (to satisfy)
Here are some examples to listen to:
He dicho la verdad.I told the truth.
La pitonisa ha predicho un buen futuro a los chicos.The story teller has predicted a good future to the boys.
La costurera ha deshecho todos los puntos de la falda.The seamstress has undone all the stitches on the skirt.
El producto ha satisfecho a los clientes.The product has satisfied the clients.
Lola ha hecho un pastel de chocolate muy rico.Lola made a delicious chocolate cake.
Ending in -so
There is one verb in Spanish which has an irregular past participle form that ends in -so:
Imprimir (to print) = impreso (printed)
There are 3 Spanish verbs that accept two equally correct forms of the participle. Have a look:
Freír (to fry) = freído / frito
Imprimir (to print) = imprimido / impreso
Proveer (to provide) = proveído / provisto
¿Habéis frito todo el pescado?Have you fried all the fish?
¿Habéis freído todo el pescado?Have you fried all the fish?
La secretaria ha impreso todos los documentos.The secretary printed all the documents.
La secretaria ha imprimido todos los documentos.The secretary printed all the documents.
El gobierno local ha provisto ayudas económicas a gente desfavorecida.The local government has provided economic help to disadvantaged people.
El gobierno local ha proveído ayudas económicas a gente desfavorecida.The local government has provided economic help to disadvantaged people.
Extra note on the verb "pudrirse":
Note that the past participle of the verb pudrirse (to rot) does not have an irregular ending, but the -u from the infinitive turns into -o.
Las verduras se han podrido.
The vegetables have rotted.
For specific lessons on irregular past participles in El Pretérito Perfecto see:
For more advanced uses of past participles see:
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