Splitting Auxiliary Verbs from Main Verbs

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Splitting Auxiliary Verbs from Main Verbs
Splitting Auxiliary Verbs from Main Verbs
Although it is very common in English to separate auxiliary and main verbs from each other,
that practice generally should not be imitated in Spanish.
The situation is most common in English where an adverb separates a form of "to have" from
a past participle. Note how in the following Spanish examples the form of haber is kept next
to the past participle. The Spanish adverb can usually go before or after the verb:
We have always gone to the coast. Siempre hemos ido a la costa.
I have never had a virus in my computer. Nunca he tenido un virus en mi ordenador.
We have bravely traveled to where nobody else has been before. Hemos viajado
audazmente a donde ningún otro ha estado antes.
The main exception with haber is that if haber is in the infinitive form, an object pronoun can
be attached: Quiero haberlo visto con mis propios ojos. I want to have seen it with my own
Similarly, adverbs should not be used to separate other auxiliary verbs from main verbs:
I can almost say I am the only one in Spain who wears them. Casi puedo decir que
soy el único de España que los lleva.
She can't win if she doesn't keep on diligently studying. No puede ganar si no sigue
estudiando con diligencia.
Blizzard is secretly working on a third title. Blizzard está trabajando en secreto en un
tercer título.
My life is crazily spinning out of control. Mi vida está girando locamente fuera de
In general, it is not grammatically proper in Spanish to place words between the auxiliary verb
haber or estar and the verb it is associated with. Such a practice is common in English but should not
be duplicated in Spanish.
For example, it is acceptable in English to use sentences such as "I have not seen it" or "he
has often said false things." (The auxiliary and main verbs are shown in boldface.) But that
word order cannot normally be used in Spanish. These sentences must be expressed in
Spanish as "no lo he visto" and "muchas veces ha dicho cosas equivocadas."
It is sometimes awkward in English to insert an adverb or other word between forms of "to
be" and the gerund (the "-ing" form of the verb), but it is still done frequently. For example,
"China is rapidly growing." But again, that word order normally isn't used in Spanish:
"China está creciendo rápido."
Other than in works that have been poorly translated into Spanish, there are two instances
where you're likely to see auxiliary and main verbs separated:
Sometimes, a word or phrase can be inserted between a form of haber and a past participle
to provide the sentence with a literary flavor. Example: No obstante, esta Corte ha, otra vez,
rehusado a acogerse a esta propuesta. (Nevertheless, this court has, again, refused to
invoke this proposal.)
Pronouns can be attached to haber or habiendo. Example: Muchas personas dijeron haberlo
visto vivo. (Many people reported having seen him alive.)
Seguir , when used an auxiliary verb, also generally isn't separated from the main verb: Siguen
luchando duramente contra el gobierno. (They keep on fighting hard against the government.)
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