Comer Perfect Conjugation: Past & Present

Instructor: Elena Sacramento Lechado

Elena has a PhD in linguistics from University of La Laguna (Spain). Currently, she teaches Spanish as a foreign language and creates teaching resources.

This lesson covers the Spanish verb ''comer'', which means 'to eat'. We will study how it's used in two different past tenses, the present perfect and the past perfect, while considering the context and their differences.

Introducing the Verb Comer

What have you eaten today? Had you eaten anything before you started studying this lesson? Have you ever eaten any typical Spanish or Latin American food? We love eating and talking about food, different types of cuisine, and recipes, so learning how to use the verb comer (koh-MEHR; 'to eat') properly will be helpful for many interactions with Spanish speakers.

Comer = To eat

Present Perfect of Comer

We use the present perfect tense in order to talk about past actions that have an influence on the present. The present perfect is a 'perfect' or compound tense, which means that it consists of two parts - the verb haber (the equivalent of the auxiliary verb 'have') and the past participle, which is formed by adding -ido to the verb stem of verbs ending in -ER or -IR. For comer, you would use this tense to talk about what you have eaten.

So, the present perfect tense for comer is just haber conjugated in the present tense followed by the past participle comido, which never changes:

VERB: comer (koh-MEHR) - to eat

Subject Pronouns Comer Conjugation: Present Perfect Pronunciation Translation
yo he comido eh koh-MEE-doh I have eaten
has comido ahs koh-MEE-doh you have eaten
él/ella/usted ha comido ah koh-MEE-doh he/she has eaten - you (formal) have eaten
nosotros/as hemos comido EH-mohs koh-MEE-doh we have eaten
vosotros/as habéis comido ah-BAYS koh-MEE-doh you all have eaten
ellos/ellas/ustedes han comido ahn koh-MEE-doh they/you all (formal) have eaten

Example Conversation

Carmen and Rita, from Spain, have just met Juan, who is a Mexican student. He is doing an intership in Valencia, a city in the east of Spain. They talk about eating habits and dishes in their countries.

Carmen: ¿Has comido algún plato típico español alguna vez? ('Have you ever eaten a typical Spanish dish?')

Juan: Sí, he comido tortilla pero nunca he comido paella. ('Yes, I have eaten Spanish omelet but I have never eaten paella'.) Me encantaría probarla. ('I'd love to try it'.)

Paella: Spanish dish made with rice, vegetables, and seafood or meat

¿Y ustedes han comido algún plato mexicano? ('And have you eaten any Mexican dishes?')

Rita: Hemos comido tacos justamente ayer. ('We have eaten tacos precisely yesterday'.) Nos encanta la cocina mexicana. ('We love Mexican cuisine'.)

Hemos comido tacos = We have eaten tacos

Past Perfect of Comer

The past perfect tense is used in order to talk about actions that had started and finished at a certain point in the past before another past action took place. To put it simply, X had already happened when Y happened.

Similar to the present perfect, this tense also consists of two parts: haber + past participle. This time, haber is conjugated in the imperfect tense (all endings contain -ía), but the past participle comido stays the same:

VERB: comer (koh-MEHR) - to eat

Subject Pronouns Comer Conjugation: Past Perfect Pronunciation Translation
yo había comido ah-BEE-ah koh-MEE-doh I had eaten
habías comido ah-BEE-ahs koh-MEE-doh you had eaten
él/ella/usted había comido ah-BEE-ah koh-MEE-doh he/she/you (formal) had eaten
nosotros/as habíamos comido ah-BEE-ah-mohs koh-MEE-doh we had eaten
vosotros/as habíais comido ah-BEE-iys koh-MEE-doh you all had eaten
ellos/ellas/ustedes habían comido ah-BEE-ahn koh-MEE-doh they/you all (formal) had eaten

Example Conversation

Later that evening, Carmen and Rita talk on their way home. Carmen is feeling a bit peckish.

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