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Old August 15, 2011, 03:51 AM
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Esperar Esperar is offline
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Help with 'hace' in time expressions

I'm having problems with these sentences.

Hace tres años que esperamos una respuesta.
Esperamos una respuesta hace tres años.
Esperamos una respuesta desde hace tres años.

I know they all mean "we have been waiting for an answer for three years", but why is hacer used here? I don't get it.
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Old August 15, 2011, 06:14 AM
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Perikles Perikles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Esperar View Post
I know they all mean "we have been waiting for an answer for three years", but why is hacer used here? I don't get it.
This is always a problem for English speakers because in this construction of expressing an amount of time, English uses a perfect tense + for, whereas Spanish uses present tense plus hace or desde hace.

You need to focus on the whole expression, rather than individual words. Hace = it makes, so where English says I've been waiting for a long time, Spanish would say (literally) It makes a long time that I wait: Hace mucho rato que espero.

Notice that the English perfect tense is not actually obvious - it is action in the past, but still continuing in the present. A present tense is more logical, and in fact it is English which is out of line with other languages here.

Does that help?
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Old August 15, 2011, 06:30 AM
languagelover languagelover is offline
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Hi!

I'm afraid "hacer" is one of those words that is used in a whole load of Spanish expressions that simply cannot be translated word for word into English. In your example the closest you can get to an English equivalent is the word "ago" (but only in this expression involving time).

In these instances, the only thing I can suggest is that you do not think of "hacer" as meaning "to do/make" but learn/use the whole Spanish expression until it becomes second nature. It will start to sound normal after using it for a short while, I promise.

See this link http://www.123teachme.com/learn_span...oms_with_hacer which gives all sorts of other everyday examples of other Spanish expressions that use the verb "hacer" but cannot be translated word for word:

"Hace tres años" (3 years ago)
"Hace caso a la profesora" (He pays attention to the teacher)
"Hace cola en el banco" (He queues/stands in line at the bank)
"Hace daño" (It damages/hurts)
"Hace buen tiempo" (The weather is good)

It is simply not possible to translate word for word. In foreign languages, things are often just said differently. All you can do is learn the whole expression!

Another verb that is often used in Spanish expressions that cannot be translated word for word into English is tener. Again, the best thing to do with expressions like this is to learn the whole expression rather than the individual words. http://www.123teachme.com/learn_span...oms_with_tener

I hope this helps.
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Old August 15, 2011, 11:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Perikles View Post
This is always a problem for English speakers because in this construction of expressing an amount of time, English uses a perfect tense + for, whereas Spanish uses present tense plus hace or desde hace.

You need to focus on the whole expression, rather than individual words. Hace = it makes, so where English says I've been waiting for a long time, Spanish would say (literally) It makes a long time that I wait: Hace mucho rato que espero.

Notice that the English perfect tense is not actually obvious - it is action in the past, but still continuing in the present. A present tense is more logical, and in fact it is English which is out of line with other languages here.

Does that help?
Me ayuda mucho. Gracias.
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