Collage postI’m sure that most of you have heard a lot these two Spanish expressions: “acabar de” and “estar a punto de”. In Spanish, many useful expressions are formed by combining two verbs. When this occurs, the first verb is conjugated, while the second verb remains in the infinitive form.

In Spain we use these two constructions very often to describe something that just happened (acabar de + infinitive) or that is just about to happen (estar a punto de + infinitive). Let’s see some examples!


Acabar de + infinitivo: Describes the very recent past, as in something that just happened. It also can be used in present, past or future. The best translation in English would be “to have just done something”.


Me acabo de dar cuenta de que el dinero no está (I just noticed that the money is missing).

Patricia acaba de comprar un vestido en esa tienda (Patricia just bought a dress at that store).

Mi marido acababa de poner la mesa cuando mi madre llegó a casa (my husband just set the table when my mother came home)

Cuando termines la universidad, acabarás de haber cumplido veinticinco años (when you finish college, you will just have turned 25 years old).

Estar a punto de + infinitivo: Describes the very near future, something that will happen quickly or, in some cases, it may be merely the possibility of something happening. To be on the verge of happening. It can be conjugated in any tense. The best translation in English would be “to be about to”, “to be about for”.


Ana está a punto de llegar a la boda (Ana is about to arrive at the wedding).

Mis padres están a punto de divorciarse (my parents are about to get divorced).

– Estuviste a punto de estornudar (you were just about to sneeze).

Mi hermano estuvo a punto de llorar cuando vio a su hija en el aeropuerto (my brother was about to cry when he saw his daughter at the airport).

Do you need a native teacher to explain it to you in better detail? Try our free trial class! (20 minutes) and we’ll explain these issues and much more in our Spanish classes on Skype. They are extremely challenging, convenient, effective and fun!