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Learn Spanish: Acabar de

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Acabar de (to have just ... )


Learn Spanish: The Spanish Verb Acabar (to end)

This learn Spanish grammar lesson is about the Spanish verb Acabar, which means to end. In the Spanish language, verbs can have different meanings based upon the way they are used or when they are conected with a preposition and/or another verb. In Spanish, the verb Acabar means to finish or end something. But it can take on many different meanings also. One of the most popular uses of Acabar is Acabar de, a combination of the verb Acabar + the preposition de.


Acabar de, when conjugated in the present tense,  expresses the equivalent of a present perfect expression in English: "to have just .... "

acabar de + infinitive = to have just done something (in the very recent past).

It is conjugated like regular -ar ending verbs. For example:

Acabo de mirar una película. I just watched a movie.
Acabas de estudiar español. You just studied Spanish.
Claudia acaba de llamar a su abuela. Claudia has just called her grandmother.
Nosotros acabamos de leer la revista. We just read the magazine.
Vosotros acabáis de jugar al tenis. You-all have just played tennis.
Ellos acaban de visitar a México. They have just visited Mexico


Acabar de also has a past perfect sense: had just ...

In Spanish we use the Imperfect past tense of Acabar to express this.

Yo acababa de cantar una canción. I had just sung a song.
acababas de ducharte. You had just taken a shower.
Mauro acababa de dormirse. Mauro had just fallen asleep.
Nosotros acabábamos de llegar. We had just arrived.


The verb Acabar does have other uses. Here is a list:

acabar [algo]

to finish something

Ustedes acabaron mirar la película.

You all finished watching the movie.

acabar [algo]

to use up something

Tú acabaste los cupones.

You used up the coupons.

acabar con [alguién]

to destroy, ruin, or be the end of someone

El artículo acabó con el presidente.

The article ruined the president.

acabar con [algo]

to end or destroy something

La verdad acabó con mi credibilidad.

The truth destroyed my credibility.

acabar de [infinitivo]

to have just [verb]

Acaban de ir al cine..

They have just gone to the movies.


to end, come to an end

Se acabó el partido.

The game ended.

acabar por [infinitivo]

to end up [-ing verb]

Acabé por cantar la canción.

I ended up singing the song.

acabar [gerundio]

to finish [-ing verb]

Acaba escribiendo la novela.

He is finishing writing the novel.