10.5 The Past Participle

The past participle corresponds to the English “been,” “done,” “eaten,” “spoken,” etc., all irregular participles that stand out, as well as to regular past participles, that take the same form as the English simple past tense, as in “walked,” “desired,” “opened,” etc.

The regular past participles of verbs in Spanish are:

-AR -ER -IR
Infinitive pasar comer venir
Past Participle pasado comido venido

Like English, Spanish employs a number or irregular past participles. (These do not always correspond to verbs that are irregular in other tenses.)

Infinitive Past Participle
abrir abierto (opened [open])
cubrir cubierto (covered)
decir dicho (said, told)
descubrir descubierto (discovered, uncovered)
escribir escrito (written)
hacer hecho (done, made)
morir muerto (died [dead])
poner puesto (put)
resolver resuelto (solved, resolved)
romper roto (broken)
ver visto (seen)
volver vuelto (returned)

Compound forms of these verbs, such as suponer (“to suppose”) and devolver (“to return”), have the same irregularity in their participles: supuesto, devuelto.

As in English, past participles may serve as adjectives and in this case they agree with the noun they modify. Sometimes they immediately follow the noun; others, they are separated from it, usually by ser or estar:

Nos dio una respuesta bien pensada. He gave us a well-thought answer.
La lámpara está rota. The lamp is broken.
El poema “Y colgaríamos naranjas en cada nube” fue escrito por la costarricense Ana Istaru. The poem “And We Would Hang Oranges on Each Cloud” was written by the Costa Rican Ana Istaru.

The feminine forms of some past participles, as well as some masculine ones, may form nouns of related meaning, as these below that you have already seen:

la comida food, meal, evening meal
la llegada arrival
el puesto position, job, placement, stand (where something is sold)
la salida exit, departure

Additional nouns formed from past participles include:

la bebida beverage
la dicha happiness, good fortune
el dicho refrain, proverb
la entrada entrance, entrée, ticket
los escritos writings
el hecho fact, deed
el/la muerto/-a dead person
el pasado past
la vista view
la vuelta return

Vocabulario básico

Verbo:

elegir- to elect

Sustantivos:

el cabo- cape
la caña- reed, cane
la esperanza- hope
el/la ganador/-a- winner
el/la navegante- navigator
los restos- remains
la zampoña- reed flute, panpipe

Adjetivo:

vinícola- wine-making, pertaining to wine

Last revised on June 18, 2021.