Being able to say that you’ve “just done something” or that “something has just happened” is very useful for everyday spoken Spanish, for example you might want to say
I have just told him
She has just left
They have just finished
It has just arrived
We have just noticed
It also works for
I had just told him
She had just left
They had just finished
It had just arrived
We had just noticed
When you’re ‘in the moment’ and speaking in ordinary situations knowing how to express this for any verb is going to be a useful asset. It will make your Spanish flow more naturally.
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Important: This tense is meant to express that something literally just happened so it’s expressing some action in the past.
The good news is that you can easily learn to express practically any verb in this way. You just need one simple formula…
- Acabo de (I have just)
- Acabas de (You have just)
- Acaba de (He/She/It has just)
- Acabamos de (We have just)
- Acaban de (They have just)
Those are the 5 handles. Now all you need to do it put a verb after any one of them. For example…
The verb “to leave” is “salir”. So to say “I just left” would simply be “Acabo de salir”. With that in mind, let’s run through the full set of handles
- I have just left – acabo de salir
- You have just left – acabas de salir
- He/She/It has just left – acaba de salir
- We have just left – acabamos de salir
- They have just left – acaban de salir
Run down the handles a few times then close your eyes and recall them again in your mind.
Let’s look at the other examples…
They have just finished – Acaban de finir
Here we have the verb “finir” for “to finish”.
So to say “They have just finished” you simply take the handle for ‘they have just’ and add the verb on the end of it “Acaban de finir”.
Here’s another – to say “It has just arrived” we need to know two things
1. Acaba de (it has just)
2. The verb to arrive is “llegar”
It has just arrived – Acaba de llegar