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Uses of the Past Participle Passive Voice

This lesson includes information on:

  1. Past Participle as an Adjective
  2. Haber + Past Participle
  3. Ser + Past Participle
  4. Estar + Past Participle

1.  Past Participle as an Adjective– Frequently the past participle functions as an adjective when it is in agreement with and complementing a noun with the same gender and number.  For example, comida preparada (prepared food) or ventana abierta (open window) are adjectives. For example:

Spanish

English

Mamá compró comida preparada para esta noche.

Mom bought prepared food for tonight.

 

2.  Haber + Past Participle – The auxiliary haber (to have) + past participle forms one of the compound tenses: the perfect tenses.  These tenses are explained further in the next lesson. For example:

Spanish

English

He estudiado por ocho horas.

I have studied for 8 hours.

Has estudiado por ocho horas.

You have studied for 8 hours.

Usted ha estudiado por ocho horas.

You (formal) have studied for 8 hours.

Él/Ella ha estudiado por ocho horas.

He/She has studied for 8 hours.

Nosotros hemos estudiado por ocho horas.

We have studied for 8 hours.

Ustedes han estudiado por ocho horas.

You (plural) have studied for 8 hours.

Ellos/Ellas han estudiado por ocho horas.

They have studied for 8 hours.

 

3.  Ser + Past Participle– The auxiliary ser (to be) + past participle forms the passive voice, agreeing in gender and number with the subject.  This form is used when the subject doing the action is in the sentence. For example:

Spanish

English

El libro fue escrito por Hemmingway. 

The book was written by Hemmingway.

 

4.  Estar + Past ParticipleEstar + past participle expresses the result of an action. For example:

Spanish

English

Yo cerré las ventanas y ahora están cerradas.

I closed the windows, and now they are closed.