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Old June 30, 2014, 01:29 PM
Ryan Straker 1995 Ryan Straker 1995 is offline
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Smile Help with present tense construction?

Hi everyone,

I'm just writing this post because I'm stuck with a particular construction I have found in my grammar guide.

I'm going over the present tense, and one of the uses of it, as I'm sure you'll all know, is to convey an action that began in the past and continues in the present. This I understand.

The author of the grammar then went on to give three constructions of how to do this:

1. Hace + expression of time + que + conjugated verb

2. Conjugated verb + hace + expression of time

3. Conjugated verb + desde hace + expression

Generally, I understand this, and can competently use all three constructions effectively.

However, I was talking to a native speaker the other day, and I used the first construction, and she said that it was completely wrong, and that the third construction was better. Why is this? Is my grammar guide wrong or are the three constructions used in differing geographic/contextual settings? Is it merely a case of one being predominant in South America and another being prominent in Spain?

Thanks

Last edited by Ryan Straker 1995; July 01, 2014 at 07:14 AM.
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  #2  
Old June 30, 2014, 02:58 PM
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Rusty Rusty is offline
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Both the first and the third time constructs are perfectly valid the world over. The conjugated verb doesn't necessarily have to be in the present tense, but at your stage in the text, that is what you're focused on.

What you might have done is use phrasing that wasn't expected by your listener.

If you could remember what you said, and provide the context, we can help you figure out if your listener's complaint was warranted.
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Old July 01, 2014, 07:10 AM
Ryan Straker 1995 Ryan Straker 1995 is offline
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I was telling her that I have been studying Spanish for a week, using the first construction: Hace una semana que estudio español.
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Old July 01, 2014, 07:47 AM
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It's correct. Another idiomatic expression is: llevo una semana estudiando español.
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Old July 01, 2014, 08:02 AM
Ryan Straker 1995 Ryan Straker 1995 is offline
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Thank you. I can't think of why she would have told me it was wrong. Maybe because the first is used only in Latin American Spanish, and she was from Spain?
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Old July 01, 2014, 08:57 AM
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Julvenzor Julvenzor is offline
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I don't think so. Maybe, she simply doesn't understand you. Sometimes, the problem is the pronunciation. In general, it is not difficult to English speakers, but a strong accent does can play tricks.

A pleasure.
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Old July 01, 2014, 12:38 PM
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For the moment your focus is on using these three constructions to describe the duration of some action or state that began in the past and continues to the present. As Julvenzor and Rusty have indicated:

Hace una semana que estudio español. =
Estudio español hace una semana. =
Estudio español desde hace una semana. =
I have been studying Spanish for a week.

Just as your book states.

However, the first two of these constructions can also be used to describe when some action occurred and completed in the past, measured as the time span since the event occurred or completed to the present.

Hace una semana que estudié español. =
Estudié español hace una semana. =
I studied Spanish a week ago.

The third construction doesn't allow "estudié español" as the conjugated verb phrase: it can't be used to say how long ago something happened, it can be used only to say how long ago something started.

No estudio español desde hace una semana. = I haven't studied Spanish for a week.
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