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1.9: Hace ___ que y otras frases útiles

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    Expressing time ago/time since an event

    In English, to explain how much time has passed since an event, we often use the words "ago" and "since":

    I moved to Pennsylvania 5 years ago. / It's been 5 years since I moved to Pennsylvania.

    I arrived 10 minutes ago. / It's been 10 minutes since I arrived.

    One way to express this idea in Spanish is with the verb hacer:

    Me mudé a Pennsylvania hace 5 años.

    Llegué hace 10 minutos.

    You can also start with the length of time and put the verb second, but in this case you need to add que:

    Hace 5 años que me mudé a Pennsylvania.

    Hace 10 minutos que llegué.


    Hace (time) is best translated to English "ago", and hace (time) que is English "since", but they can both be used to communicate the same information.

    To ask how long ago something happened or how long it's been since something happened, use the questions "¿Cuánto tiempo hace que...? or ¿Hace cuánto tiempo...? with a verb in the preterite:

    ¿Cuánto tiempo hace que cumpliste los 18 años? / ¿Hace cuánto tiempo cumpliste los 18 años?

    How long has it been since you turned 18? / How long ago did you turn 18?

    Other words commonly used with the preterite

    You'll recall that the nosotros form of -AR and -IR verbs is the same in the present and in the preterite. In these situations, you'll need to look for context clues. The words below are commonly used with the preterite.

    Spanish English Spanish English
    anoche last night pasado, pasada last; past (adjective)
    anteayer the day before yesterday por primera (segunda, etc) vez for the first (second, etc) time
    el año pasado last year la semana pasada last week
    ayer yesterday una vez; dos veces once; twice (two times)
    de repente suddenly ya already
    desde... hasta... from... until...    

    Ya compré una camisa ayer. Miré la televisión anoche, desde las 9 hasta las 11.

    I already bought a shirt yesterday. I watched TV last night, from 9 until 11.

    ¡A practicar!

    Actividad \(\PageIndex{1}\)
    Actividad \(\PageIndex{2}\)

    Use the preterite and the expressions hace (time) and hace (time) que to indicate when each thing happened in your life.

    ¿Cuánto tiempo hace que hiciste las siguientes cosas?

    • Llegaste a la universidad por primera vez
    • Empezaste a estudiar español
    • Cumpliste los 18 años
    • Aprendiste a conducir
    • Te levantaste hoy por la mañana
    • Jugaste un videojuego o un juego de mesa

    This page incorporates material from 5.6: El pretérito de los verbos regulares and 6.2.1: Práctica- Los pretéritos irregulares, parte 1 by M. Barrio De Mendoza, K Gutiérrez, H.Ho, C. Lin, & A Stere Lugo through ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

    1.9: Hace ___ que y otras frases útiles is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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