Beginner #27 - Past tense with "to have"

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Anders: Hur länge har du bott här?
For how long have you lived here?
Tove: I ett halvår ungefär.
Half a year approximately.
Anders: Varför just London?
Why London?
Tove: Jag hade lust att uppleva något nytt och åka utomlands. Jag hade hört att London skulle vara speciellt.
I felt like experiencing something new and go abroad. I had heard that London should be a bit special.
Anders: Och trivs du?
And do you like it here?
Tove: Jag har trivts ända tills nu. Jag har börjat längta hem.
I've liked it until now. I'm starting to feel home sick.
Anders: Jag förstår det. Sverige är vackert. Har du varit på musikal förut?
I understand that. Sweden is beautiful. Have you ever been to a musical before?
Tove: Jag älskar musikaler, så jag har sett alla som gått de senaste sex månaderna. Innan hade jag knappt sett någon alls. Intresset har kommit nu på senaste tiden, när jag kom till London.
I love musicals so I've seen all of them that have been shown the last six months. Before that I had barely seen any at all. The interest have come now lately, when I came to London.
(ett) halvår
half a year
knappt någon alls
almost nothing
(en) lust
längta hem
to feel homesick
last, previous
enjoy, feel at home

Past tense with perfect / plusquamperfect


These two forms are constructed with ha, to have, plus the supinum form of the verb.

Perfect: har (have) + Supinum
Plusquamperfect: hade (had) + Supinum

Infinite form Supinum
G1 -a -t
arbeta arbetat

Jag har arbetat länge.

I’ve worked for a long time.

G2 -a -t
ringa ringt

Jag har ringt dig.

I’ve called you.

G3 -vowel except a -tt
bo bott

Där har jag bott.

I’ve lived there.

G4 irregular (more than one syllable) -it
vara varit

Där har jag varit.

I’ve been there.

irregular (one syllable) -tt

Här har jag gått i skolan.

I’ve gone to school here.


These forms are mostly used like in English.

  1. When the time is unknown or has a connection to the present, then we’ll use perfect.

    Jag har redan sett musikalen.
    I’ve already seen the musical.

  2. Perfect is also used for completed actions with a adverb of time placed next to it. Common adverbs are idag, today, den här veckan, this week, den här månaden, this month, hela dagen, the whole day, and i år, this year.

    Jag har jobbat hela dagen.
    I’ve worked the whole day.

    This is also used for questions like:

    Vad har du gjort idag? Jag har jobbat.
    What have you been doing today? I’ve been working.

    Also, for temporal adverbs like någonsin, ever, någon gång, sometime, aldrig, never, alltid, always, we use perfect.

    Har du någonsin varit i London?
    Have you ever been to London.

  3. Plusquamperfect is used to express past perfect, something that occured past that you are talking about. It is also used in “what-if”-clauses when we already know what happened but we present an alternative outcome.

    Jag hade gärna följt med om jag inte hade varit sjuk.
    I would have gone with if I hadn’t been sick.


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