Present Perfect Subjunctive in Spanish
Present perfect subjunctive in Spanish, this is the first approach to the past in the subjunctive mood. Because of its simple structure, students can start speaking in the past subjunctive, without fearing a complicated conjugation. But, as always, let’s start with a brief description of its name.
What Does Its Name Mean?
The name of this tense in Spanish, pretérito perfecto compuesto de subjuntivo, already gives us many clues about its uses. It is preterite, that is, it indicates an action located in the past; at the same time it is perfect, that is, it expresses a completed action; furthermore, it is compound, so it is formed by more than one word: an auxiliary verb and a main verb; finally, it is subjunctive, therefore, it expresses uncertain actions, suppositions, wishes, expectations… Let’s see how it is formed.
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How Is the Present Perfect Subjunctive Tense Formed?
As we have said before, to form the present perfect subjunctive in Spanish, we must use two verb forms: an auxiliary verb, the verb haber in the present subjunctive, and a main verb, in the participle. This non-personal form of verbs is constructed by adding the endings –ado (for the first conjugation -ar) and -ido (for the second and third conjugation -er / -ir). Let’s look at a conjugation table:
As we can see, the conjugation of this verb tense is really easy. The only difficulty is in the irregular participles of some verbs. Here you can find some of these irregular participles.
How Is the Present Perfect Subjunctive Tense Used?
The Present Perfect Subjunctive is closely related to its counterpart in the indicative: the Present Perfect Indicative. In our free grammar resources section you can find an article about this tense. Let’s see how we should use it in the subjunctive:
The same uses as the present perfect indicative
As in the indicative, the present perfect subjunctive expresses a completed action, but located in an unfinished period of time. Likewise, we can express recently completed actions or experiences in the speaker’s life. Therefore, the effects of that action reach up to the present. But we will use the subjunctive when these actions refer to a desire, a probability, an expectation…
Mi amigo ha trabajado mucho hoy = it is a fact = indicative
Es posible que mi amigo haya trabajado mucho hoy = it is an assumption = subjunctive
He aprobado mi examen DELE = it is a fact = indicativo
Ojalá haya aprobado mi examen DELE = it is a wish = subjunctive
As we can see, when we have connectors that introduce the subjunctive (es posible que, ojalá…) we will use the present perfect subjunctive for actions ending in an unfinished tense (hoy, recientemente, alguna vez…).
Same use of present subjunctive in temporal sentences
Now, we are going to study a second use, which, perhaps, is less known to students of Spanish. In temporal sentences with future actions, we usually use the present subjunctive. Normally we introduce these clauses with connectors such as cuando, mientras, después de que, antes de que, hasta que… However, we can also use the present perfect subjunctive with the same meaning.
Cuando termine la clase, me iré. = Cuando haya terminado la clase, me iré.
This exchange is possible thanks to the meaning of “perfect”, that is, it expresses a previous and finished action.
In short, the present perfect subjunctive in Spanish is a good way to introduce the past tenses of this verb mood. If you want to master them, don’t hesitate to take classes with us at Spanishviaskype.com.