I am unsure how to refer to the Present Perfect tense in Spanish as I teach it.

Is it

  • El Presente Perfecto,

  • El Preterito Perfecto,

  • El Perfecto de Indicativo

or something else?

  • 2
    Just use the names you find in conjugation tables. I think "pretérito perfecto compuesto (de indicativo/subjuntivo)" is the term you're looking for. Some people say "del indicativo", some say "de indicativo", but it doesn't really make any difference. Or you can just omit the mood if it's clear from the context (as generally is the case). Just don't use English terms translated literally—that's more confusing than helpful. Also, in Spanish verb tenses aren't capitalized.
    – Yay
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 16:43

1 Answer 1


There are a number of different naming systems for the various tenses (and even the moods to which they pertain!), and different authors have consistently used one or another, and there are valid reasons for using each.

Looking at the temporal and aspectual parts exclusively any of the following, we get the following names:

  • pretérito perfecto compuesto
    because it takes place in the past (pretérito), is a complete action (perfecto), and uses two words (compuesto)
  • presente perfecto
    because it is conjugated in the present (presente), but represents a completed action (perfecto)
  • antepresente
    because it represents an action that occurs before (ante) an action grounded in the present (presente)

All three of these can be represented either in the indicativo (adding de(l (modo) ) indicativo or the subjunctive de(l (modo) ) subjuntivo).

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