Participle in Spanish (El participio): examples

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O participle, or participle in Spanish, it is one of the three impersonal forms of the verb, along with the gerund and the infinitive. Despite belonging to this classification, it differs from the other two forms by presenting gender and number inflection, except when used with compound tenses. It is also used in some periphrases or verbal phrases. In this article, we will learn about the formation of the participle, its functions and rules of use. Keep reading!

Read too: Infinitive, gerund and participle of verbs in Spanish

Topics in this article

  • 1 - Summary about participle in Spanish
  • 2 - Video lesson on participle in Spanish
  • 3 - What is the participle in Spanish?
  • 4 - Functions of the participle in Spanish
  • 5 - Regular participle in Spanish
  • 6 - Irregular participle in Spanish
  • 7 - Rules for using the participle in Spanish
  • 8 - Participle verbal periphrases
  • 9 - Solved exercises on participle in Spanish

Summary about participle in Spanish

  • The participle is one of the three impersonal forms of the verb.

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  • It presents variation in gender and number, except when used with compound tenses.

  • In Spanish, it is characterized by the endings -ado and -ido.

  • It is also used in some periphrases or verbal phrases in Spanish.

Video lesson on participle in Spanish

What is the participle in Spanish?

The participle is an impersonal form of the Spanish languagewhat, different from the infinitive and gerund, presents gender and number flexion (hecho/hecha; requests/requested, for example), except with compound verb tenses (have studied, I studied, I had studied, hubiera studied, I would have studied…). It is also used in some periphrases or verbal phrases in Spanish.

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Functions of the participle in Spanish

  • He has adjective function in predicative sentences or when it modifies a noun; therefore, it agrees in gender and number with the noun it modifies:

I'm in love with you.
(I'm in love with you.)

I like the fried potatoes.
(I like fries.)

  • É used as a main verb in compound verb tenses. In these cases, the auxiliary verb haber indicates the verb tense and mood; in turn, the main verb, conjugated in the participle, determines the action. The usual verb tenses in Spanish are:

- perfect past tense composed of indicative:

Yo he lifted me up early.
(Today I woke up early.)

- past tense pluscuamperfect indicative:

I had woken up early.
(I had woken up early.)

- compound conditional:

I would have woken up early if I had too much to set the alarm.
(I would have woken up early if I had set the alarm clock.)

- future perfect indicative:

When you arrive, you will wake me up.
(By the time you arrive, I will have already woken up.)

- subjunctive pluscuamperfect:

If I had woken up early, I would have gone with you.
(If I had woken up early, I would have gone with you.)

- pretérito perfecto compuesto de subjumtivo:

I hope you are awakened well.
(I hope you woke up well.)

  • It is also used in some verbal periphrases in Spanish, which you will see below.

See too: Conditional compound — how to use the future compound past tense in Spanish

Regular participle in Spanish

Regular verbs in the participle have no modification in the root:

  • ending in -ar: the conjugation mark is removed and the ending -ado is added:

think – thought
llorar – llorado
awaken – awakened

  • ending in -er and -ir: the conjugation mark is removed and the ending -ido is added:

eat – eaten
seem – similar
ask – request

Irregular participle in Spanish

Irregular verbs in the participle present a change in the entire structure of the verb. The main irregular verbs in Spanish are:

verb

participle

verb

participle

decide (say)

I say

return (return)

return

do (do)

hecho

to see

visa

put on (by)

put

write

written

break (break)

broken

die

dead

Rules for using the participle in Spanish

As you saw earlier, the participle is a relatively easy way to learn; however, it is important to pay attention to some rules.

  • Rule 1: pronouns should not be used between the main verb and the auxiliary verb in compound verb tenses; the pronoun always appears before the two:

Yo me he awakened. (correct)
Yo he woke me up. (incorrect)

  • Rule 2: When it comes to pronominal verbs, the pronoun can appear next to the pronominal verb, never before or after:

Haberse awakened. (correct)
If you have woken up. (incorrect)
Be awakened. (incorrect)

  • Rule 3: the participle only presents gender and number inflection when it modifies a noun or in verbal periphrases.

Know more: What are the most used verbs in Spanish?

Participle verbal periphrases

To the periphrasis They are verbal phrases in Spanish. The most common with the participle are:

  • Llevar + participle: has a cumulative notion.

I have translated more than 15 articles in German.
(She has translated more than 15 articles into German.)

  • Quedar (se) + participle: indicates the way something ends.

María gasped.
(Maria gaped.)

  • Estar + participle: expresses the result of an action.

I'm worried about you.
(I'm worried about you.)

  • Tener + participle: This periphrasis indicates the partial result of an action.

I have finished 8 of the 10 novels I have to read.
(I've already finished 8 of the 10 novels I have to read.)

Solved exercises on participle in Spanish

Question 1 Write the participle of the following verbs:

to ask

b) reír

c) write

d) translate

e) die

Solution

by request

b) reido

c) written

d) translated

e) dead

Question 2 Complete the sentences with the correct participle of the verbs in parentheses:

a) I take _________ (read) 40 pages.

b) I hope there are ________ (finish) the film.

c) Yo me he __________ (eat) tres tostadas at desayuno.

d) I have ___________ (study) all the chapters for the exam.

e) Elisendra fell __________ (sleep) in class.

Solution

a) read

b) finished

c) eaten

d) studied

e) sleep

Source

SPAIN. Manual de la Nueva Gramática de la Lengua Española. Royal Spanish Academy. Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española. Madrid: Espasa, 2010.

Would you like to reference this text in a school or academic work? Look:

GORNATTES, Renata Martins. "Participle in Spanish (El participio)"; Brazil School. Available in: https://brasilescola.uol.com.br/espanhol/participio-em-espanhol-el-participio.htm. Accessed on December 7, 2023.

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