I am finally up to Pimsleur Spanish Lesson 29! Although, I have to say, Dr. Pimsleur just kicked it up a notch. Out of the blue with no warning whatsoever, they hit me with …
THE PRESENT PERFECT TENSE!
Of course, I didn’t know it was the present perfect at the time, but starting around lesson 27, we started using sentences like, “E hablado con su madre” or “I have spoken with your mother” (I know it’s spelled wrong … just wait). The way that I study is that if Pimsleur introduces a word or concept that I am not familiar with, my goto site is www.studyspanish.com . Lo and behold! I discovered the actual grammar to this new tense.
The present perfect tense is a compound tense. This means that it is formed by using both a main verb and an auxiliary verb. Specifically, the present perfect is formed by using the present tense of the verb “haber”, to have, with the past participle of the main verb. Haber is conjugated:
(I haven’t mentioned this before, but I am completely skipping the 2nd person plural conjugation of verbs. From what I understand, it’s only used in Spain and frankly it’s one less thing that I have to learn. Therefore, I will only be conjugating five forms of the verb for any given tense. Sorry Spaniards!)
Ok, back to the present perfect. You then take the conjugated forms of haber and add to it the past participle of the main verb. For example, the past participle is formed by dropping the infinitive ending and adding either -ado or -ido; depending on whether your verb is -ar or -er/-ir. Therefore, “He has eaten” is translated as “Ha comido”. “I have spoken” is “He hablado”.
My study method of Pimsleur supplemented with internet and workbooks works for me very well. Pimsleur taught me to speak Spanish in the present perfect tense without me even realizing it and then StudySpanish.com taught me the grammar. However, the real key for me is that now when I hear it in Pimsleur, I can picture the phrase in my head spelled correctly by adding the silent “H”.