Llevar can be used with a past participle as a phrasal verb and the construct vaguely translates into something like to have been:

Lleva cerrado esa tienda desde 1990.
That store has been closed since 1990.

While researching more on this verb, I came across the following construct on a Spanish grammar website:

Llevo ganados nueve premios.
I have, so far, won nine awards.

In the above example, my question is, why must ganar agree with premios in number and gender? Ganado is not qualifying premio in any way, is it? Similarly, I came across the following in a WordReference forum:

Llevo juzgados unos 13 homicidios.

Again, I fail to see why juzgar should inflect with homicidios in this example. Can anyone please explain?

  • 1
    Note the first sentence is grammatically correct but does not have sense: it should be esa tienda lleva cerrada desde 1990.
    – fedorqui
    Aug 31, 2016 at 11:12
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    So in the first example, esa tienda lleva cerrada..., the past participle agrees with the object. That makes sense since it's qualifying the tienda which is feminine. But then in the second example, llevo ganados nueve premios, why should the participle agree with premios?
    – TheLearner
    Aug 31, 2016 at 11:52
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    Because in fact you are calling about yourself: (Yo) llevo ganados nueve premios, where llevo concurs with yo and ganados with nueve premios. See another example: Ellos llevan ganado un millón de euros en la ruleta rusa (ellos -> llevan, un millón de euros -> ganado).
    – fedorqui
    Aug 31, 2016 at 11:58

3 Answers 3


First of all, note that your first example is not correct.

Lleva cerrado esa tienda desde 1990.

The underlying idea here is that llevar cerrado refers to esa tienda, so that the sentence in the direct form is:

Esa tienda lleva cerrada desde 1990.

Regarding the other examples you show the construction is a bit different:

Llevo ganados nueve premios.
Llevo juzgados unos 13 homicidios.

In both cases, the omitted subject is Yo, so it is equivalent to:

Yo llevo ganados nueve premios.
Yo llevo juzgados unos 13 homicidios.

This construction is an oración con voz pasiva:

La voz pasiva se usa para poner de relieve la acción en sí. A menudo el sujeto de la acción ni siquiera aparece.

The idea here is that ganados and juzgados refer to the passive part of the sentence (nueve premios and 13 homicidios).

So when you say Yo llevo ganados nueve premios the underlying links are:

Yo llevo ganados nueve premios
^  ^^^^^   ^     ^^^^^^^^^^^^^
|____|     |____________|

I guess this starts to make the point a bit more clear about what ganar and juzgar should concur with. (... dramatic pause...) Yes, you are right, they have to match in gender and number with the object nueve premios and 13 homicidios.

  • I wasn't completely happy with this answer and was hoping someone would post an alternative answer. Apparently people do not get very excited about bounties on this site! Well, as no one posted an alternative answer, I finally did so myself. Unfortunately I posted it too late in the process to be able to receive the bounty. So, the bounty will have to go to the answer I'm not happy with. Such is life. Apr 18, 2018 at 3:40
  • 2
    @aparente001 you may want to read How does the bounty system work?. The person opening the bounty cannot get it. Also, the system would automatically give it, but only to answers that were posted after the bounty was started and got at least a score of 2.
    – fedorqui
    Apr 18, 2018 at 15:28
  • I see, thanks. I thought your answer would get the bounty by default, but if I've understood right, only a fresh answer can get it automatically. Hopefully, as more bounties get placed in our site, as it grows, people will get more in the habit of noticing them and answering before the deadline. Apr 18, 2018 at 23:49

Let's look at one of the sentences you've asked about:

Llevo ganados nueve premios.

If we adjust the word order a bit, we get

Llevo nueve premios ganados. | So far, I have nine prizes under my belt.

This new word order shows the required noun-adjective agreement more clearly.

Here is another example. Suppose I am a seamstress or tailor, and I've accepted an order of five dresses for a certain customer. I might report my progress so far like this:

Llevo tres vestidos cortados. | So far, I have three dresses all cut out.

We can vary the word order:

Llevo cortados tres vestidos.

Being able to vary the word order in this way is a fun thing about Spanish.

Note, perhaps "Esa tienda lleva cerrada desde 1990" is used informally (although I have not heard something like this myself), but strictly speaking the following would be more grammatically correct:

Esa tienda lleva 20 años de estar cerrada.


Esa tienda está cerrada desde 1990.


When a past participle is used as part of a 'phrasal verb' (perífrasis verbal [de participio]) in Spanish, the participle needs to agree in gender and number with the 'topic' of the verb. In general:

  • if the verb is transitive, the participle agrees with the object
  • if the verb is intransitive, the participle agrees with the subject

A semi-complete list of verbs that require a past participle to act like an adjective are the following:

  • tener, llevar, dejar, traer, acabar, dar, dar por
  • verse, sentirse, encontrarse, hallarse, quedarse
  • quedar, resultar, salir, venir, ir, andar, seguir, estar


Concordance with Object

  • Tengo hecho̲s̲ todos los deberes.
  • Llevo hecha̲ gran parte de las fotocopias.
  • Los niños dejaron abierta̲ la nevera.
  • Traigo limpia̲s̲ las sábanas y las mantas.
  • Los alumnos han dado por terminada̲ la clase.

Concordance with Subject

  • Sus palabras quedaron grabada̲s̲ en mi mente.
  • Siempre va vestida̲ a la última moda.
  • Andan muy preocupado̲s̲ por sus hijos.
  • Sus amigos siguen enfadado̲s̲ con Ana.
  • Ya está preparada̲ la cena.


Note: Though multiple grammars describe all of the above examples as instances of perífrasis de participio, the RAE only includes estar, tener and llevar, classifying the others under estructuras atributivas.

  • Clear answer, +1, sorry it didn't come in before the bounty deadline. // The list of sources is rather overwhelming; is it possible to add one written in English? Apr 18, 2018 at 23:52

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