Make sure that you’ve got the gerundive form down (conjugations, if not usage) before you start working on this.
The present perfect tense (in both Amharic and English) is used to describe things that happened in the recent past, which are still important/influential in the present. You can think of the present perfect as happening “just before” the present. In English, the present perfect uses “have/has.”
- Now that I have finished my homework, I can sleep.
- She has already eaten. She isn’t hungry anymore.
- We have studied really hard for this test. I think we are ready.
Here’s the formula on how the present-perfect is formed in Amharic:
FORMULA: present perfect = gerundive verb + present perfect suffix
You’ll see below that most of the present perfect suffixes are the same — so, if you’ve got the gerundive down, the present perfect should be pretty straightforward (yipee!)
|pronoun||present perfect suffix||gerundive (example)||present perfect (example)||translation|
|ïne/እኔ||-አለሁ/-alähu||በልቼ/bälče||በልቻለሁ/bälčalähu||I have eaten.|
|antä/አንተ||-አል/-al||በልተህ/bältäh||በልተሃል/bältähal||You have eaten.|
|anči/አንቺ||-አል/-al||በልተሽ/bältäš||በልተሻል/bältäšal||You have eaten.|
|ïsu/እሱ||-አል/-al||በልቶ/bälto||በልቷል/bältwal||He has eaten.|
|ïswa/እሷ||-አለች/-äläč||በልታ/bälta||በልታለች/bältaläč||She has eaten.|
|ïña/እኛ||-አል/-al||በልተን/bältän||በልተናል/bältänal||We have eaten.|
|ïnantä/እናንተ||-አል/-al||በልተችሁ/bältäčhu||በልተችኋል/bältäčhwal||You have eaten.|
|ïnäsu/እነሱ||-አል/-al||በልተው/bältäw||በልተዋል/bältäwal||They have eaten.|
NB. Don’t stress about how the vowels change when you attach the suffix. For example, for “እሱ/ïsu,” በልቶ+አል/bälto+al turns into በልቷል/bältwal. It’s a question of pronunciation. If you say በልቶአል/bältoal quickly, you’ll probably end up saying በልቷል/bältwal, anyways. So, in your head, you can think of it as “በልቶአል/bältoal” or “በልቷል/bältwal” — nobody will know the difference when you’re speaking.
Here are some example sentences.
|The students have gone home to eat lunch. ምሳ ለመብላት ተማሪዎቹ ቤተቸው ሄዳዋል።||The teacher has gone to Addis Ababa, therefore we have cancelled his class. አስተማሪ አዲስ አበባ ሄዷል፣ ስለዚህ ትምህርቱ ሰርዛናል።|
|She has worked in many countries. ብዙ አገሮች ውስጥ ሰርታለች።||Many students have failed, therefore they will repeat. ብርካታ ተማሪዎች ወደቀዋል፣ስለዚህ ይደግማሉ።|
|We have lived in Ethiopia for seven months. ለሳበት ወራት ኢትዮጵያ ውስጥ ኖራናል።||He has been elected as the new president. አዲስ ፕረሲደንት ተመርጧል።|
Bonus examples: Is electricity sporadic in your town? You’ll probably hear a lot of present perfect.
- mäbratu hedwal? Has the power gone (out)?
- mäbratu hedwal. The power has gone (out).
- mäbratu mätwal? Has the power come (back)?
- mäbratu mätwal. The power has come (back).
Exercise: Fill in the chart by conjugating the given verbs and pronouns into the present perfect tense.
|እሷ/ïswa መስበር/mäsbär ____________________||እነሱ/ïnäsu|