When you are in the process of learning a language, you will generally get a lot a questions related to how you learned the Spanish you already know. Nothing kills your confidence more than not knowing how to respond to a question as simple as “how long have you been studying Spanish?” The phrases I will teach you in this article are most likely not one of the first Spanish lessons you’ll have in a classic school setting, but they will certainly come in handy in many Spanish conversations.
First Spanish Lessons: Using “hace _____ que”
Hacer actually translates to “to do” or “to make” but it is also a part of a very common and useful time expression:
“Hace (number) (unit of time) que”
For example, “Hace dos años que estudio español,” translates to “I have studied Spanish for two years” or “I have been studying Spanish for two years.”
It is important to understand that by using estudiar in the present tense, you are implying that you are still studying.
For those of you who once studied, but have since stopped studying, you will need the past tense.
For example, “Hace tres años que estudié español,” translates to “It has been three years since I studied Spanish.” This implies that you studied Spanish in the past, but stopped studying 3 years ago.
First Spanish Lessons: Combining “hace _______ que” with the past
I am sure plenty of you spent 2-4 years studying Spanish in high school but have been out of high school for 10 years or more. In this case, you might want to convey that while you did study Spanish for a decent amount of time, it’s been awhile and you are a bit rusty.
Here’s an example of how to do that:
“Estudié español por cuatro años en escuela secundaria, pero hace diez años!”
This translates to “I studied Spanish for four years in high school, but it has been ten years!”
First Spanish Lessons: More uses for “Hace_____ que”
You do not just have to stick to measurements of years when using this phrase and you are not limited to the verb “estudiar” This is especially useful if you are in a foreign country or at a new school and want to convey that you are new to the area.
For example, “Hace dos semanas que estudio aquí,” translates to “I have been studying here for 2 weeks.”
You can replace estudiar with other verbs as well.
For example, “Hace un mes que asisto a la universidad de West Lake,” translates to, “I have attended West Lake University for a month.”
If you are in another country, you can let them know how long you have been there. For example, “Hace seis días que estoy aquí,” translates to, “I have been here for six days.”
Put this real world first Spanish lesson to use
While there are ways to get around using the “hace _____ que” expression, you are taking yourself one step closer to speaking more like a native by incorporating this into your repertoire.
Check out these other articles about Spanish Lessons.