Verb Tense Names in Spanish
Spanish tense names can at times be very confusing. Some books use English names while other books use Spanish names for the tenses. Also books and teachers use different names for the same tense.
The first clue to the type of tense is often with the word “perfect” or perfecto in Spanish. The term perfect indicates a kind of completion. The action is complete, wrapped up and put away in a box at a particular moment in time. In contrast an imperfect tense is on-going and incomplete.
Another way to distinguish between perfect and imperfect tenses is to think of a time-line. Imperfect actions occur over a period of time and serve as a background. Perfect actions have a completion date.
Some tense names include the term perfect or imperfect where others do not. Here is the list of names of Spanish verb tenses divided by the perfect and imperfect tenses.
¿Has terminado tu bocadillo?
Have you finished your sandwich?
Ayer el edificio cayó.
Yesterday the building fell down.
Pretérito Anterior *Used in literary texts / not common for every day use.
Tan pronto como ella hubo llegado, él salió el cuarto.
As soon as she arrived, he left the room.
Había cerrado con llave la puerta antes del robo.
He closed / had closed the door before the robbery.
Habrá aprendido español en 2016.
In 2016, she will have learnt Spanish.
Sophie dibuja cada día.
Sophie draws every day.
Jugaba con mis muñecas.
I played / used to play / was playing with my dolls. * Depends on the context.
Viviré en Londres.
I will live in London.
Have you been confused by the Spanish tense names? Do you use other terms for the tenses listed above?