Portuguese Grammar Reference ("QuickGrammar")
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>>Portuguese Verbs > Compound Verbs

A compound verb refers to any construction that puts two or more verbs together. In this grammar reference, the term represents the most common type of compounding found in Portuguese verbs: the word ter to have with a past participle.

There are as many forms of this compound as there are verb tenses and moods in Portuguese. Like the similar compound construction in English (to have done), you can put ter to have into any of the tenses and moods listed in the verbs section to give the compound a new meaning. The past participles (shown in the chart below) are invariable when used with ter.

  -ar verbs (falar to speak) -er verbs (vender to sell) -ir verbs (partir to leave)
  -ado (falado) -ido (vendido) -ido (partido)

Ter to have is an irregular verb, so it is conjugated separately below. Please review the verbs section of this reference to understand each of the tenses and moods listed:

Infinitive

Simple: ter
Personal Infinitive: ter, teres, ter, termos, terdes, terem

Indicative Mood

Present: tenho, tens, tem, temos, tendes, têm
Preterit: tive, tiveste, teve, tivemos, tivestes, tiveram
Imperfect: tinha, tinhas, tinha, tínhamos, tínheis, tinham
Future: terei, terás, terá, teremos, tereis, terão
Pluperfect (literary/archaic): tivera, tiveras, tivera, tivéramos, tivéreis, tiveram

Subjunctive Mood

Present: tenha, tenhas, tenha, tenhamos, tenhais, tenham
Imperfect: tivesse, tivesses, tivesse, tivéssemos, tivésseis, tivessem
Future: tiver, tiveres, tiver, tivermos, tiverdes, tiverem

Imperative

tem!, tenha!, tenhamos!, tende!, tenham!

Conditional

teria, terias, teria, teríamos, teríeis, teriam

Participles

Present Participle: tendo
Past Participle: tido

In theory, each one of the above forms is fair game. In practice, Portuguese speakers regularly use a handful of these tenses and moods with the past participle. By far, the most common are the present indicative (eu tenho falado I have spoken), the imperfect indicative (eu tinha falado I had spoken), the future indicative (eu terei falado I will have spoken) and the conditional (eu teria falado I would have spoken).

The present indicative of ter + past participle is sometimes called the present perfect, and refers to an event that took place before the present. The imperfect indicative of ter + past participle is known as the past perfect or the pluperfect, and refers to an event that took place prior to a past event. The future indicative of ter + past participle is called the future perfect or the anterior future, and refers to an event that will have taken place prior to some point in the future.

The compound pluperfect (eu tinha falado, ela tinha vendido, etc.) is the common construction that has come to replace the now archaic pluperfect indicative endings.

Where appropriate, the present subjunctive, imperfect subjunctive and future subjunctive of ter are also useful.

In literature and in older Portuguese, the verb haver can also replace ter as the compound verb. In modern Portuguese, the verb haver is very uncommon, especially in Brazil.