Newsletter Activity 2 – Saying how long you’ve been doing something for

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!

10 thoughts on “Newsletter Activity 2 – Saying how long you’ve been doing something for”

  1. 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

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

    • 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)

  3. 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?

  4. ¡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!

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


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