The Recent Past with Acabar de – Spanish Lesson Plan and Free Exercise
To describe an event that just took place in Spanish, use the present tense of acabar (“to end”) along with the preposition “de” and an infinitive. Here’s the formula:
The present tense of “acabar” + “de” + infinitive
Acabamos de ver una nueva película llamada Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
We just saw a new movie called Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Pau Gasol y su hermano, Marc, acaban de salir para su partido de baloncesto.
Pau Gasol and his brother, Marc, just left for their basketball game.
This expression is also commonly used to describe action that had just taken place before another event or specified time in the past. Rather than use the present tense of acabar, choose instead the imperfect tense along with de and an infinitive.
The imperfect tense of “acabar” + “de” + infinitive
Los candidatos políticos acababan de entrar cuando la música empezó.
The political candidates had just entered when the music started.
El museo acababa de abrir cuando fui a Nueva York.
The museum had just opened when I went to New York.
This video is a snippet from one of the lessons in our Spanish 1 iBooks textbook:
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