Unit 16: Translation considerations (part 5)

16.5 Compound Participles, Compound Infinitives and Absolute Constructions

Compound (or perfect) participles are composed of the present participle of the auxiliary verb haber + past participle. Note that the object pronoun is attached to the form of haber.

habiendo cantado having sung
habiéndolo dicho having said it

Compound (or perfect) infinitives are composed of the infinitive of the auxiliary verb haber + the past participle:

haber puesto having put
haber marchado having left

The use of the compound past participle corresponds well to English:

Habiendo terminado el examen, sintió gran alivio. Having finished the exam, he/she felt great relief.
Habiéndolo rechazado, me puse a pensarlo otra vez. Having rejected it, I began to think it over again.

In context, the compound infinitive is most often seen after a preposition or, occasionally, after a conjugated verb. Again, both uses function as in English.

Se fue sin habernos explicado nada. He left without having explained anything to us.
Nos mudamos después de habernos graduado. We moved away after having graduated.
Creo haberlo comprendido. I believe I have understood it.

The past participle also functions as an adjective in what are called “absolute” constructions. Note the various translation possibilities in English.

Concluida la reunión, todos se levantaron. When the meeting was over (concluded), everyone got up.
Terminada la guerra, gozaron de paz de nuevo. Once the war ended, they enjoyed peace again.
Hechas las conclusiones, las escribieron en su reportaje. The conclusions having been made, they wrote them into their report.

 

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Spanish for Reading and Translation by Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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