Spanish time phrases

Rob Ashby

Rob Ashby

The Spanish Obsessive

Here is a selection of useful Spanish time expressions that you’ll find yourself using again and again. There are four sections:

  1. Time units (days, weeks, etc)
  2. Referring to a specific time (past, present, and future expressions)
  3. How to say “since” in Spanish
  4. How to say “until” in Spanish

Units of time

These refer to specific ways of counting time, including days, weeks, months, etc.

Saying “until” in Spanish

Spanish uses hasta + [specific point in time] to say “until”:

Referring to a specific time

Past, present, and future time phrases in Spanish.

To say “ago” in Spanish, use either hace or atrás with the time unit. Hace goes before the time unit; atrás comes after:

Phrases to refer to the present:

Spanish uses este/esta + [time unit] to say “this [time unit]”:

Phrases to refer to the future:

There are two ways to say “next” with time phrases in Spanish:

El/la [time unit] que viene Next [time unit]

El/la próxima [time unit] Next [time unit]

For example:

Note that you wouldn’t generally say el día que viene, as mañana means “tomorrow” 🙂

Saying “since” in Spanish

Spanish uses desde + [specific point in time] to say “since”:

When desde que is used with a verb, that verb is always in the indicative (i.e, not subjunctive), simple past (referring to a specific point in the past, rather than something ongoing):

You can also use desde in combination with hace to mean “for”, to talk about actions that started in the past and are still going on:

Desde hace [length of time] For [length of time]

This can be used with a verb in the present simple tense:

Desde hace mucho tiempo que no te veo 

I haven’t seen you for a long time

 

Estoy aquí desde hace dos meses 

I’ve been here for two months

 

Trabaja en la tienda desde hace un año 

He/she has worked in the shop for a year

Saying “until” in Spanish

Spanish uses hasta + [specific point in time] to say “until”:

Hasta que is used with verbs, and can refer to either past or future actions (“until he arrived”; “until he arrives”). When referring to the past, hasta que is used with the normal, indicative version of the verb:

However, when talking about the future with hasta que, the subjunctive is used:

Desde hace [length of time] For [length of time]

For example:

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