11.5.4 the pretérito perfeito composto

All indogermanic languages, germanic languages like English and german and roman languages like French, Italian, Spanish has a tense which is formed the same way as the pretérito perfeito composto, in other words with to have in present tense and the past participle, I have bought. As regards the formation the pretérito perfeito composto resembles to a tense in other languages, to the passato prossimo in Italian, passé composé in French, present perfect in English etc.. That induce people to believe that the pretérito perfeito composto is also used in the same context as it is used in all these other languages, in other words that it is used if an action, event, process has an impact on the present of the speaker: He hasn't informed me yet, so I can't tell you what are his plans. However this is not the case. Portuguese is the only language where the pretérito perfeito composto is NOT used like in any other language.

In Portuguese it is irrelevant whether an action in the immediate past has an impact on the present. What is relevant is the question whether the action is performed continuously until the present of the speaker. The pretérito perfeito composto resembles to the present perfect continuous, not to the present perfect. Let's have a look at three different contexts an how they were translated to Portuguese.

1) I paid in cash.

=> ONE time I paid something.
Eu paguei em dinheiro.
2) I have always been paying in cash.

=> Continuously and repeteadly until the present I have been paying in cash.
Eu tenho pagado em dinheiro.
3) I always paid in cash.

=> In the past I paid in cash, but since it is possible to pay with the smartphone, I don't do that anymore. Through the tense English is not able to distinguish between 1) and 3). In the case of a only diffusely determined period of thime in the past the imperfeito is used in Portuguese.
Pagava sempre em dinheiro.

The table below shows the different tenses. A tense that describes the impact of an action, event, process of the past on the present is not listed in this table, because such a thing doesn't exist in Portuguese. In other words, whethe an event of the past has an impact on the present or not is irrelevant in Portuguese.

He has run out of money, therefore he can't go on holidays.
=> An event of the past has an impact on the present.
He lost all his money in risky speculations.
=> If for instance we talk about someone who lived 100 years ago.

This very crucial difference in any language is not made in Portuguese. In both cases we use the same time, the pretérito perfeito simples and therefore we get the following picture for Portuguese.

imperfeito is used:
1) When an ongoing action is interrupted by an other action. (In this case the past continuous is used in English: I was sleeping when he came in.)
2) If the beginning or the end of an event, action, process is unclear or irrelevant.
3) An action, event, process that is regularaly repeated in the past.
pretérito perfeito composto is used:
An action, event or process that is repeated continuously until the present. (In this case the present perfect continuous is used in English: I have bee reading.)
pretérito perfeito simples is used:
1) Achieved action in achieved past without any relationship to the present. (In this case the past tense is used in English: I did it yesterday.)
2) Singular action in the past regardless of whether this action has an impact on the present of the speaker or not. (!!)*

* This point is crucial. Here we have a big difference between Portuguese and any other indogermanic language. Whether the action was performed in an achieved past without any impact on the present or whether this action has an impact on the past is irrelevant. This distinction, crucial in any other language, is not made in Portuguese.

Decide in the following sentences which sentences and tenses are correct. Correct means in this exercise that they are grammatically correct regardless of whether the meaning is the same or not. The meaning can change dependent on the time used, but if it is grammatically correct, it is considered correct in this exercise. If there are several correct option it may occur that the translation to English only fits with one option.

Check the correct answers. It is well possible that there are several correct options. Only the correct sentences are spoken.

Give a reason for your choice. You can see the answers by clicking on the eye.

1) Vários telespectadores reclamaram contra a violência da nova série policial.

2) Vários telespectadores têm reclamado contra a violência da nova série policial.
Vários telespectadores reclamavam contra a violência da nova série policial.
3) Many spectators complained about the violence of thrillers.

1) Encontrei ontem a Maria no supermercado.

2) Tenho encontrado a Maria no supermercado.
3) Encontrava ontem Maria no supermercado.
Yesterday I met Maria at the supermarket.

1) Ainda era noite, quando me levantei.

2) Ainda era noite, quando me tenho levantado.
3) Ainda era noite, quando me levantava.
It was still night when I got up.

1) Na tua época de estudante, deitavas-te habitualmente às 23 horas.

2) Na tua época de estudante, tens-te deitado habitualmente às 23 horas.
3) Na tua época de estudante deitaste-te habitualmente às 23 horas.
When you went to university you used to go to bed an 23 o' clock.

1) Eu cheguei cedo hoje.

2) Eu tenho chegado cedo hoje.
3) Eu chegava cedo hoje.
I arrived soon in the morning today.

1) Eu tenho chegado cedo todos os dias.

2) Eu chegava cedo todos os dias.
3) Eu cheguei cedo todos os dias.
I came soon every day.

1) Ele não ligou. Estou preocupado!

2) Ele não tinha ligado. Estou preocupado.
3) Ele não ligava. Estou preocupado.
She didn't call me. I am worried.

1) Recentemente, a gente tem visto muitos animais por aqui.

2) Recentemente, a gente viu muitos animais por aqui.
3) Recentemente, a gente vía muito animais por aqui.
The residents have seen al lot of in animal in this area lately.

1) Eu tenho viajado para muitos lugares desde que cheguei ao Brasil.

2) Eu viajei para muitos lugares desde que cheguei ao Brasil.
3) Eu viajava para muitos lugares desde que cheguei ao Brasil.
Since I am in Brasil, I visited a lot of different places.

1) Ultimamente a gente tem visto uma onda de violência contra quem pensa diferente.

2) Ultimamente a gente viu uma onda de violência contra quem pensa diferente.
3) Ultimamente a gente via uma onda de violência contra quem pensa diferente.
Recently we have seen a wave of violence directed against anybody who has a different opinion.





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