Language Guide
Verbs
Time Expressions with "Hacer"

Time Expressions with "Hacer"

Quick Answer

The verb hacer  can be used in various ways to talk about the passage of time. You can use hacer to describe how long ago something happened or how long you have been doing something. You can also use hacer to describe past actions that were interrupted by another action.

Let's learn some handy time expressions with hacer!

Hace and Actions that Occurred a Specific Amount of Time Ago

There are two formulas you can use with hacer to talk about actions that occurred a specific amount of time ago.

Formula One

hace + time + que + verb in the preterite

Formula Two

verb in the preterite + hace + time

Examples with Formula One

Hace seis años que conocí a mi esposo.
It was six years ago that I met my husband.
 
Hace cinco minutos que llegó.
He arrived five minutes ago.
 

Examples with Formula Two

Aprendió a hablar español hace tres años.
He learned to speak Spanish three years ago.
 
Empecé mi trabajo hace seis meses.
I started my job six months ago.
 

Hace and Actions that Started in the Past and Continue into the Present

There are two formulas you can use with hacer to talk about actions that started in the past and continue into the present. These expressions are useful for talking about something you have been doing for a certain amount of time.

Formula One

hace + time + que + verb in the present

Formula Two

verb in the present + desde + hace + time

Examples with Formula One

Hace un año que estudian español.
They have been studying Spanish for one year.
 
Hace seis años que conozco a mi esposo.
I have known my husband for six years.
 

Examples with Formula Two

Habla español desde hace tres años.
He has spoken Spanish for three years.
 
Tengo mi trabajo desde hace seis meses.
I have had my job for six months.
 

Hace and Actions that Were Interrupted in the Past

There are three formulas you can use with hacer to talk about actions in the past that were interrupted. These expressions are useful for talking about something you had been doing when something else happened.

Formula One

hacía + time + que + verb in the imperfect

Formula Two

verb in the imperfect + hacía + time

Formula Three

verb in the imperfect+ desde + hacía + time

Examples with Formula One

Hacía una semana que leía el libro cuando lo perdí.
I had been reading the book for a week when I lost it.
 
Hacía un año que estudiaba español cuando viajé a España.
I had been studying Spanish for one year when I traveled to Spain.
 

Examples with Formula Two

Dormía hacía siete horas cuando sonó el reloj.
I had been sleeping for seven hours when the alarm went off.
 

Examples with Formula Three

Jugábamos con el perro desde hacía 30 minutos cuando empezó a llover.
We had been playing with the dog for 30 minutes when it began to rain.
 

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