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Published on: Grammar Bites

What does “acabar de” mean?

It’s normal to hear native Spanish speakers say things like “acabo de llegar a casa”, “ella acaba de llamar”, or “acabamos de cenar”, but do you know what the expression “acabar de” means? Let’s find out!

In Spanish, many useful expressions are formed by combining two verbs. When this occurs, the first verb is conjugated, while the second verb remains in the infinitive form.

One of these expressions is acabar de + infinitive, which means “to have just done something” or “to just finish doing something”.

Examples:

  • Acabo de hablar con María sobre la fiesta. I just talked to Maria about the party.
  • Acaban de irse. They’ve just left.
  • Debes esperar un poco antes de ir a la piscina; acabas de comer. You have to wait a little bit before going to the pool; you’ve just finished eating
  • Los exámenes acaban de terminar; estoy muy cansado. We’ve just finished with the exams; I’m very tired.
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