The Spanish verb hacer has a multitude of usages. Today we study how this verb is used to express time in a sentence.

There are different formulas to indicate the length of an action using hacer. To describe an action that started in the past and continues in the present we can use:

1) Hace + time + que + verb

Hace tres años que vivo en Valencia – I’ve been living in Valencia for three years.

2) Desde hace + time + que + verb

Desde hace tres años que vivo en Valencia

3) Verb + desde hace + time

Vivo en Valencia desde hace tres años.

These three formulas have the exact same meaning so you can use them in every context. At first we suggest you to only learn one and use it until you’re familiar with it, to avoid mixing them up.

To do the negative form you only need to add “no” before the verb:

Negative 1 = Hace + time + que no + verb

Hace dos meses que no como carne – I haven’t been eating meat for two months.

Negative 2 = Desde hace + time + que no + verb

Desde hace dos meses que no como carne

Negative 3 = No + verb + desde hace + time

No como carne desde hace dos meses.

On the other hand, to indicate that an action has stopped in the past we can use:

4) Hacía + time + que + imperfect tense

Hacía dos años que estaban juntos cuando nació el bebé.

Using the verb hacer in time expressions, we can also describe how long ago something happened, with this formula:

5) Preterite tense + hace + time

Viví en Londres hace siete meses – I lived in London six months ago.

Negative 5 = No + verb + desde hace + time

No iba al cine desde hace siete meses – The last time I went to the cinema was seven months ago.

Another way to express the negative form is: hace + time + que no + preterite tense

Hace dos años que no te veía – The last time I saw you was two years ago.


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