Demystifying Spanish Time Expressions: Desde, Desde Hace, and Hace


One of the fascinating aspects of learning a new language is delving into its nuances and quirks. In Spanish, mastering time expressions is essential for effective communication. Three commonly used expressions, "desde," "desde hace," and "hace," play pivotal roles in expressing time-related concepts. In this blog post, we'll explore the usage and provide clear examples of these essential Spanish time expressions.

  1. Desde (Since):

"Desde" translates to "since" in English and is used to indicate the starting point of an action or event. To use it correctly:

Structure: Desde + point in time or starting event


  • Desde el lunes (Since Monday)
  • Vivo en esta casa desde 2005 (I have lived in this house since 2005)


  1. Desde Hace (For, For the past):

"Desde hace" is equivalent to "for" or "for the past" in English. It expresses the duration of an action or event that began in the past and continues into the present. Here's how to use it:

Structure: Desde hace + period of time


  • Trabajo aquí desde hace cinco años (I have been working here for five years)
  • Estudiamos español desde hace tres meses (We have been studying Spanish for three months)


  1. Hace (Ago):

"Hace" is used to indicate how long ago an action or event took place. It is equivalent to "ago" in English. To use it correctly:

Structure: Hace + period of time


  • Llegaron hace una hora (They arrived an hour ago)
  • Comí esa pizza hace dos días (I ate that pizza two days ago)


  • When using "desde hace" and "hace" with expressions of time, pay attention to the verb tense. For ongoing actions, use the present tense with "desde hace." For past actions, use the preterite tense with "hace."


  • Trabajo aquí desde hace tres años (I have been working here for three years - ongoing action).
  • Trabajé aquí hace tres años (I worked here three years ago - past action).


Understanding the intricacies of "desde," "desde hace," and "hace" is a valuable asset in your journey to mastering Spanish. These time expressions allow you to convey when an action began, how long it has been going on, or when an event took place in the past.

Practice using them in your conversations and writing to enhance your Spanish language skills. ¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)