Learn Spanish Past Participles
Language Resources

Just like their English counterparts, Spanish past participles are useful words that can be used both as parts of verbs and as adjectives.

Forming the Past Participle

In English, the past paticiple is formed by adding on "-ed" to the end of a verb. For example:

verb
past participle
select
selected

In Spanish, the past participle is created by adding "-ado" to the stem of verbs ending in "-ar" and by adding "-ido" to the stem of verbs ending in "-er" and "-ir". For example:

verb
stem of verb
past participle
-ar verbs
seleccionar
(to select)
seleccion-
seleccionado
-er verbs
poder
(to be able)
pod-
podido
-ir verbs
mentir
(to lie)
ment-
mentido

Irregular Past Participles in Spanish

When in comes to grammar, almost every rule has at least a handful of exceptions, and that goes for past participles as well. Both English and Spanish have several "irregular" past participles, meaning they don't follow the rules outlined above and therefore have to be learned individually. On the positive end, it's a great memory exercise.

Some common irregular Spanish past participles are:

verbpast participle
abrir
(to open)
abierto
(opened)
escribir
(to write)
escrito
(written)
cubrir
(to cover)
cubierto
(covered)
decir
(to say)
dicho
(said)
hacer
(to do)
hecho
(done)
morir
(to die)
muerto
(dead)
poner
(to put)
puesto
(put)
romper
(to break)
roto
(broken)
satisfacer
(to satisfy)
satisfecho
(satisfied)
ver
(to see)
visto
(seen)

Spanish Past Participles in the Perfect Tenses

In English, the perfect tenses are formed by using a conjugated form of the verb "to have" and follow it with the past participle (I have gone, I had gone, I will have gone, I would have gone, etc.). The perfect tenses in Spanish work in much the same way, formed by using a conjugated form of the verb "haber" followed by a past participle.

English
to have

+
past participle
I have created.
Spanish
haber
+
past participle
He creado.

In the above example, "creado" is the past participle in Spanish, just as "created" is the past participle in English.

***Learn more about the perfect tenses: Spanish Perfect Tenses

Spanish Past Participles as Adjectives

Like in English, many past participles can be used as adjectives to describe people, places, things, situations, etc. When using past participles as adjectives, you have to think of them as Spanish adjectives and tweak them according to the nouns they modify (singular or plural, masculine or feminine). When used with plural nouns they will have an -s added, when used with feminine nouns they will have an -a added, and so on.

Here are some examples of past participles turned adjectives.

verb

past
participle

adjectiveexample
despertar
(to awaken)
despierto
(awake)
masculine, singular despiertoEl hombre está despierto.
(The man is awake)
poner
(to put, to set)
puesto
(set)
feminine, singular puesta

La mesa está puesta.
(The table is set.)

cerrar
(to close)
cerrado
(closed)
masculine, plural cerradosLos restaurantes están cerrados.
(The restaurants are closed.)
abrir
(to open)
abierto
(open)
feminine, plural abiertas

Las puertas están abiertas.
(The doors are open)