Irregular Spanish Past Participles

Quick Answer

A past participle (participio) is a verbal form that can function as an adjective or as part of a perfect tense when used in conjunction with the verb haber.

Spanish has quite a few verbs with irregular past participles. Let's take a look at how to form them!

Accented Past Participle Forms

If an -er or -ir verb stem ends in a vowel, then the past participle is written with an accent over the i.

Here are some examples of past participles with an accented i.

InfinitiveVerb StemSpanish Past ParticipleEnglish Past Participle
atraer
atra-
atraído
attracted
caer
ca-
caído
fallen
creer
cre-
creído
believed
leer
le-
leído
read
oír
o-
oído
heard
poseer
pose-
poseído
possessed
reír
re-
reído
laughed
sonreír
sonre-
sonreído
smiled
traer
tra-
traído
brought

Exception alert!

The i in the past participles of verbs ending in -uir is not accented.

For example, the past participle of the verb fluir(to flow) is fluido, and the past participle of the verb destruir(to destroy) is destruido.

Irregular Past Participles

Common irregular past participles include those in the table below.

InfinitiveSpanish Past ParticipleEnglish Past Participle
abrir
abierto
opened
morir
muerto
dead
absolver
absuelto
absolved
poner
puesto
put
cubrir
cubierto
covered
decir
dicho
said
romper
roto
broken
escribir
escrito
written
resolver
resuelto
resolved
satisfacer
satisfecho
satisfied
hacer
hecho
done/made
ver
visto
seen
volver
vuelto
returned

Many of the verbs in the table above can be used with prefixes to form other verbs with irregular past participles.

Base VerbVerb + PrefixSpanish Past ParticipleEnglish Past Participle
cubrir
descubrir
descubierto
discovered
volver
revolver
revuelto
scrambled
volver
devolver
devuelto
returned
volver
desenvolver
desenvuelto
unwrapped
hacer
deshacer
deshecho
undone
hacer
rehacer
rehecho
redone

Past Participle or Adjective?

In the past, many verbs in Spanish had two past participle forms: a regular form and an irregular form. Nowadays, the irregular forms are no longer considered past participles, but simply adjectives.

A few examples of these tricky pairs are shown in the table below. Keep in mind that only the forms in the "Past Participle" column in the table below can be used in compound tenses, such as the present perfect.

InfinitiveAdjectivePast Participle
atender
atento
atendido
bendecir
bendito
bendecido
confundir
confuso
confundido
corromper
corrupto
corrompido
despertar
despierto
despertado
maldecir
maldito
maldecido
poseer
poseso
poseído
presumir
presunto
presumido
suspender
suspenso
suspendido

The first example below shows the past participle of despertar being used in the present perfect, while the second example shows an adjective form related to despertar.

examples
¿Has despertado a tu mamá?
Have you awoken your mother?
Los niños están despiertos.
The children are awake.

According to the Real Academia Española, only three verbs have two acceptable past participle forms, both of which can be used in perfect tenses.

VerbPast Participle 1Past Participle 2

imprimir

imprimido

impreso

freír

freído

frito

proveer

proveído

provisto

The past participle of the verb describir(to describe) is descritoin some parts of the Spanish-speaking world. In others parts, such as Argentina and Uruguay, it is descripto.

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