Double Past Participles

In this lesson, we’ll have a look at particípios passados duplos double past participles. ‘Double’ here means that some verbs can take the form of either a regular or an irregular participle, depending on the auxiliary verb being used with them.
Remember those verbs we marked off with an asterisk in the Irregular Participles learning note? They were ganhar to win, to earn, gastar to spend, and pagar to pay. These are verbs that have double participles. Let’s see them in action:


Eles deviam ter ganhado o campeonato. They should have won the championship.
O campeonato foi ganho pela outra equipa. The championship was won by the other team.


O presidente disse ter gastado muito tempo com os relatórios. The president said he had spent too much time on the reports.
Foi gasto muito tempo com os relatórios. Too much time was spent on the reports.


Os meus patrões têm pagado bem! My bosses have paid me well!
Sou bem paga pelos meus patrões! I am paid well by my bosses!

When do you use regular participles?

Notice that the sentences above which use ter to have as the auxiliary verb, employ regular participles, formed by adding ‘-ado‘ to the root of the main -AR verb. Ganhar becomes ter ganhado to have won.  Gastar becomes ter gastado to have spent. Pagar becomes ter pagado to have paid. The other, less common auxiliary verb that also uses regular past participles is haver to have, to exist.
Eles haviam ganhado o torneio. They had won the tournament.

When do you use irregular participles?

In contrast, the sentences above which use other auxiliary verbs – in this case, the verb ser to be - permanent – use irregular participles. Ganhar becomes ser ganho to be won. Gastar becomes ser gasto to be spent. Pagar becomes ser pago to be paid. Another example of an auxiliary verb that uses irregular past participles is estar to be - temporary.
O torneio está ganho. The tournament is won.
Which verbs have double participles? Much like irregular verbs, there is no pattern or rule for knowing which verbs have double participles – you have to learn them one by one. You can find a few of the most common ones in the following table:

Main Verb Regular Participle Irregular Participle
absorver to absorb absorvido absorbed absorto absorbed
aceitar to accept aceitado accepted aceite accepted
agradecer to thank agradecido thankful grato thankful
completar to complete completado completed, complete completo completed, complete
entregar to deliver entregado delivered entregue delivered
enxugar to dry enxugado dried, dry enxuto dried, dry
fixar to fixin place fixado fixedin place fixo fixedin place
ganhar to win ganhado won ganho won
gastar to spend gastado spent gasto spent
imprimir to print imprimido printed impresso printed
pagar to pay pagado paid pago paid
limpar to clean limpado cleaned, clean limpo cleaned, clean
matar to kill matado killed morto killed, dead
sujar to dirty sujado dirtied, dirty sujo dirtied, dirty

Double the Participles, Double the Trouble

The problem with double participles is that not even native, well-educated Portuguese speakers can always agree on the rules governing the use of double participles. In fact, certain grammatically incorrect forms are widely used. The verbs pagar and ganhar are prime examples of this phenomenon. You may often hear the incorrect forms “ter pago” and “ter ganho”, despite the correct forms being “ter pagado” and “ter ganhado”.
Past participles in Portuguese require a bit more effort to learn, but with a bit of study and practice you’ll soon have all the exceptions memorised. And if someone tries to tell you “ter ganho” is correct, point them towards this lesson! 😉

What did you think? Leave a Comment for Rui & Joel:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.