In today’s Spanish lesson we will have a look at the differences between Spanish adverbs of time pronto and temprano, and also tarde and luego. For sure at some stage of your Spanish learning you weren’t sure which of these adverbs to use.

Let’s start with pronto and temprano. Pronto means soon, quickly, little time after something else or sooner than expected.

Hemos llegado pronto porque hemos cogido el metro. (We took a metro so we arrived quickly/ early.)
No te preocupes, nos vemos pronto. (Don’t worry, we’ll see each other soon.)

Spanish word temprano also means sooner than expected but unlike pronto it also means early in the morning (or at night).

Me levanto temprano durante de la semana, a las 7. (I get up early during the week, at 7.)

Hoy voy a acostarme temprano, estoy muy cansado. (Today I’m going to sleep early, I’m very tired.)

Can you see the difference between these phrases?

Voy a levantarme pronto. (I will get up soon.) = in couple of minutes from now
Voy a levantarme temprano. (I will get up early.) = early in the morning

The differences between tarde and luego are more subtle. Tarde means late and refers to the last hours of a day or night.

Es tarde para cenar ahora. (It’s late to eat dinner now.)

Habéis llegado tarde. El espectáculo ya ha empezado. (You’ve arrived late. The show has already started.)

Luego, on the other hand, means later and refers to a moment after the thing or situation we are talking about now.

Look at these two sentences:

Te llamo luego. (I’ll call you later.) = maybe in 10 minutes, in 3 hours, tomorrow or next week
Te llamo más tarde. (I’ll call you later.) = later but still the same day

Note that we normally put adverbs of time at the end of the sentence. We can use them at the beginning but if we do so, then the subject of the sentence goes after the verb.

Luego me va a llamar María. (María will call me later.)

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