Acabar de – Recent Past

Spanish recent past

Pasado reciente

What just happened? You can explain what happened in the recent past with the construction acabar de + infinitive, the Spanish equivalent of "to have just done."

To use el pasado reciente, conjugate acabar in the present tense according to the subject, then follow it with the preposition de and the infinitive of the action verb.

Por ejemplo…

Acabo de terminar este rompecabezas.   I just finished this puzzle.
José acaba de despertarse.   José just woke up.
Acabamos de llegar.   We just arrived.

Acabar de can also be used in the imperfect to say "had just done" something, when something else happened.

Por ejemplo…

Acababa de terminar este rompecabezas cuando…   I’d just finished this puzzle when….
José acababa de despertarse cuando…   José had just woken up when…
Acabábamos de llegar cuando…   We’d just arrived when….

 Related lessons

Spanish past tenses

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