Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Tell Me, What Have You Done Today?

Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. Maybe you are catching up with today's events. The other person says to you something like: "tell me, what have you done today?".

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿qué has hecho hoy?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿qué ha hecho (usted) hoy?

The question is an invitation for you to talk about something you have/ haven't done over a period of time. When saying what you have/ haven't done, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question. Your main concern should be about communicating what you have/ haven't done. Perhaps you want to say that, over a specific period of time, you:
  • Have done something.
  • Haven't done anything.
  • Haven't done something specific.

Here are some examples of how you would say what you have/ haven't done:
  • Hoy he escrito varias cartas* (Today I have written several letters).
  • Hoy no he hecho nada* (Today I have done nothing).
  • Hoy no he ido a trabajar* (Today I haven't gone to work).

Now you should practice talking about the past to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿qué has hecho hoy?

*Please see grammar below

Grammar-The Perfect
These are examples of expressions using the perfect to talk about past completed actions. Remember that in Spanish the perfect is used in a similar way to its counterpart in English. That is, the perfect defines past actions over a specific period of time which includes the present. Some examples of the use of the perfect are:
  • He estado en Manila este año (I have been in Manila this year).
  • ¿Has ido a ver a tus padres hoy? (have you gone to see your parents today).
  • Pedro no me ha llamado por teléfono esta semana (Pedro hasn't phoned me this week).
  • Hemos ido a Nueva York este año (we have gone to New York this year).
  • ¿Habéis llegado de Barcelona hoy? (have you -plural arrived from Barcelona today?).
  • Tus padres no han viajado este mes (your parents have not travelled this month).

Now you should practice using the perfect with some examples of your own.

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