Today we are going to talk about verbal periphrases with the Spanish verb acabar. Take a look at the blog of our Spanish school, El Rincón del Tándem, ¡and start improving your Spanish now! 😊

Today we will focus on verbs, particularly on the periphrases with the Spanish verb acabar. Learning how to use them properly, will help you make you sound like a Spanish native speaker…

So, let’s start!

Firstly, we remind that a verbal periphrasis is a combination of two or more verbs that covey a single idea. A verbal periphrasis forms an inseparable syntactic unit and works as one.

The structure of a verbal periphrasis is as follow:

1. An auxiliary verb in personal form
2. An element that connects the two verbs (optional): a preposition or a conjunction (i.e., de, por, que, etc.)
3. A verb in impersonal form

Secondly, find here below a short list with examples of the verbal periphrases with the Spanish verbs acabar.

ACABAR DE + Infinitive

This periphrasis expresses actions that have just happened (immediately preceding the present time). That is an action that has just been finalized, completed.

  • Acabo de llegar a casa = I have just arrived home
  • Mario acaba de pintar la puerta. ¡No la toques! = Mario has just painted the door. Don’t touch it!
  • Acabo de comer una pizza y todavía tengo hambre = I have just had a pizza but I am still hungry

NO ACABAR DE + infinitive

When acabar is used in the negative form, the periphrasis gets a totally different meaning. Unlike the previous one, no acabar de + inf. means “not be able to do something”.

Let’s see it better in the examples below:

  • No acabo de entender por qué Pedro se marchó sin despedirse = I just can’t understand why Pedro left without saying goodbye
  • No acabo de aceptar esta situación. Es insostenible = I just can’t accept this situation. It’s unbearable
  • Julia no acaba de acostumbrarse al frío de Islandia = Julia can’t quite get used to the cold in Iceland

In all the sentence above, we can replace the Spanish verb acabar with terminar. The meaning will not change.

  • No termino de entender por qué Pedro se marchó sin despedirse = I just can’t understand why Pedro left without saying goodbye

ACABAR + Gerund

This verbal periphrasis means “end up doing something”.

  • Como llovía, acabamos pasando el fin de semana en casa = Because it was raining, we ended up spending the weekend at home
  • La paella que hiciste era tan buena que acabé comiéndome dos raciones = The paella you made was so good that I ended up eating two portions

ACABAR POR + Infinitive

Acabar por + a verb in the infinitive form has exactly the same meaning as the previous periphrases.

  • Después de esperar el bus durante dos horas, Lucia acabó por coger un taxi = After waiting for the bus for two hours, Lucia ended up taking a taxi

ACABAR + past participle

In this case, the periphrasis expresses a condition that is a consequence of the action expressed in the previous clause. Like the previous periphrasis, we can use the verb “end up” when translating the sentence to English.

  • Después de seis horas de caminata, Luís acabó hecho polvo = After six hours of walking, Luis ended up exhausted.

We hope you find our post on verbal periphrases with the Spanish verb acabar useful 😊

You might also be interested in learning about the verbal periphrasis: Ir a + infinitive.

Finally, we remind you that our Spanish school, El Rincón del Tándem, we will be happy to have you here and provide you with Spanish courses in a friendly and welcoming space!

¡Hasta pronto!