Learners of Spanish often find it difficult to say how long they’ve been doing something for because there’s a change of verb tense from English to Spanish. Consider the sentence:

  • “I’ve been speaking Spanish for three months”.

In English we use a past tense: “I have been learning”. However in Spanish we use a present tense and form this sentence in one of two ways:

  • hace tres meses que hablo español
  • hablo español desde hace tres meses

It’s also important to point out that there are other ways to form this construction, but today we’re focusing on using hace. Here is a simplification of these constructions:

  • hace + time phrase + que + present tense
  • present tense + desde hace + time phrase

It’s over to you. Let us know how long you’ve been learning Spanish, or playing the guitar, or travelling the world using one of these constructions!

¡Esperamos vuestros comentarios!

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    10 replies to "Newsletter Activity 2 – Saying how long you’ve been doing something for"

    • Anne

      I am still on Season 3. Could you talk about “que hay…”? It was used by Mark in Episode 9 season 3. I have seen “hay que,” but not “que hay.” Thanks

    • Hannah

      Hablo español desde hace que cuartro semanas.

    • Sarah Pezoa

      Yo hablo Español desde hace 30 años pero estoy todavía aprendiendo. Gracias a Coffee Break Español y Radio lingua! ¡Me encanta!

      • Adel Resouly

        I would welcome emails in Spanish,dealing with general topics about Spain or Argentina,both of which I visited recently. Will attempt to reply in Spanish.
        Thank you.
        Adel (a slow learner of the Spanish language)

    • Elizabeth

      Hace 27 anos que estudio espanol.

    • Gary

      I am curious about expressing how long it has been since a completed action occurred. Examples from an older Spanish course seem to follow this pattern:

      •hace + time phrase + que + preterite tense
      •preterite tense + hace + time phrase

      Such as: Hace tres semanas que lo hice
      and Lo hice hace tres semanas

      Almost the same, except no “desde”

      Lastly, does anyone know how to toggle a typical US keyboard to a Spanish country keyboard and then know which keys to use for accents and other Spanish-specific characters?

    • LJ

      Gary, if you are using Windows, you can set up an International keyboard within Windows. Not sure what version you are using, but the steps taken are generally the same.

      Look at this link to see it the method will work for you (I have been using mine successfully for four years now.)


    • Radio Lingua Team

      ¡Hola amigos y amigas! Como cada semana, ¡os felicitamos por vuestros ejemplos! Sarah y Elizabeth, ¡bien hecho! Hay que practicar español cada día. Hannah, just a small correction: “Hablo español desde hace cuatro semanas” – without “que” after “desde”. Gary, both mean the same and express the same length, it’s just different forms of saying it.

      Muchas gracias por vuestra colaboración.

      ¡Hasta la próxima!

    • John Lange

      Hablo español desde hace cinco años pero, para mi, el problema es que no tengo tiempo. Hay mucho trabajo en mi oficina.

    • Jac

      Hace dos años que vivo en Corea.

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