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Irregular Spanish Past Participles

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.

¿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 descrito  in some parts of the Spanish-speaking world. In others parts, such as Argentina and Uruguay, it is descripto .

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