Using llevar + participio to express the completion of an action so far

In Spanish we can use the verb llevar followed by a past participle to express the completion of an action. The effect of using this verbal structure is similar to using haber + infinitive, however using llevar gives a nuance of accumulation or repetition, and implies that the action will continue in the future.

Let's see some examples:

Llevamos recorridos 6 kilómetros. Esta tarde seguiremos caminando.
[So far] we've done 6 kilometres. We will continue to walk this afternoon.

Llevaba leídas al menos 50 páginas y de repente perdí el libro.
[Until then] I had read at least 50 pages and all of a sudden I lost the book.

Este autor lleva publicadas 5 novelas cortas.
This author has [had] published 5 short novels [so far].

¿Llevas ahorrados 150 euros?
Have you saved [so far] 150 euros?

In all these examples we can see a completed action [so far/until then] but we get the sense of a possible continuation in the future, by using llevar. If we had used the perfect tense with haber, that possible continuation wouldn't be implied.

Había leído al menos 50 páginas y de repente perdí el libro.

(I had read at least 50 pages and all of a sudden I lost the book.)

(completed action, no sense of possible continuation)

Notice that when we use this structure with llevar, the participle agrees in gender and number with the object:

recorridos, kilómetros

leídas, páginas

publicadas, novelas

ahorrados, euros

Sometimes when using this structure, the meaning is a bit more literal and used to express how something is presented or what something includes. For example:

Señora, ese precio lleva incluido un 10 por ciento de descuento.
Madam, that price includes a 10 percent discount.

El dispositivo lleva incorporado un sensor.
The device is fitted with a sensor.

Ayer Andrés llevaba puesta una camisa de flores horrorosa.
Yesterday Andrés was wearing a horrible flowery shirt.

They are describing how something is presented (camisa horrorosa) or what something includes (descuento, sensor). The participle is still agreeing with the object.

There is a very similar structure conveying the same meaning. See Using tener + participio to express the completion of an action

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

El dispositivo lleva incorporado un sensor.
The device is fitted with a sensor.


Llevamos recorridos 6 kilómetros. Esta tarde seguiremos caminando.
[So far] we've done 6 kilometres. We will continue to walk this afternoon.


Señora, ese precio lleva incluido un 10 por ciento de descuento.
Madam, that price includes a 10 percent discount.


Ayer Andrés llevaba puesta una camisa de flores horrorosa.
Yesterday Andrés was wearing a horrible flowery shirt.


¿Llevas ahorrados 150 euros?
Have you saved [so far] 150 euros?


Este autor lleva publicadas 5 novelas cortas.
This author has [had] published 5 short novels [so far].


Llevaba leídas al menos 50 páginas y de repente perdí el libro.
[Until then] I had read at least 50 pages and all of a sudden I lost the book.


Q&A Forum 1 question, 2 answers

Clarification of statement in lesson

When you say

"Notice that when we use this structure with tener, the participle agrees in gender and number with the object:"

aren't you really referring to using the structure with llevar?

Thanks

Asked 1 month ago

I also noticed this Doug. Pretty certain it’s meant to be ‘llevar’. :)

InmaKwiziq language super star

Yes, you are both right! Typo corrected! 

Muchas gracias 

Inma

Clarification of statement in lesson

When you say

"Notice that when we use this structure with tener, the participle agrees in gender and number with the object:"

aren't you really referring to using the structure with llevar?

Thanks

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