Table of contents Chapter 12 12.13 desde, hace, desde hace

Chapter 12: Prepositions

  12.13 desde, hace, desde hace

desde in figurative sense
Use of desde
Use of hace
desde hace and hace... que

  12.13 desde

desde is used to indicate a point of time or location.
In the meaning of time it can be translated with since.

   desde in a timely sense = since
Desde el año 1970 trabaja en Francia.
= He has worked in France since 1970.
Desde que se enteró que le habían engañado no habló más con ellos.
= Since he had noticed that they had deceived him he didn't talk to them anymore

In the local sense, desde means from.

   desde in a local sense = from

Desde mi ventana podía verla.
= I could see her from my window.

Viendo la cosa desde afuera parece una cosa de niños.
= Looking from the outside it seems something childish.
Desde Madrid cada cinco minutos salen trenes con destino a Alcalá.
= From Madrid trains leave to Alcalá every five minutes.
Desde la torre se ve la ciudad desde arriba.
= From the tower you can see the town below.

  I. desde can be used figuratively = from
Aqui puedes aprender JavaScript desde cero.
= Here you can learn JavaScript from cero.
Desde la altura de sus principios morales todo el mundo le pareció vil y tonto.
= From the height of his principles the world seemed mean and stupid.

  II. use of desde

Desde is used when the starting point of an action is exactly known and the event is still going on until the present time or some certain point of time (that is known as well). If the end of the event is not mentioned desde just means since. If the total period is mentioned it is from ... to.

Vivo en Madrid desde el año pasado.
= I live Madrid since last year.
Desde 1980 no fumo más.
= Since 1980 I do not smoke anymore.
Estuve en Paris desde agosto hasta noviembre.
= I was in Paris from August until (to) November.

  III. use of hace

hace is a preposition that doesn't have a counterpart in English. The English construction is: It has been a time that ... It means that the start of an action is known and the action doesn't go on anymore

   hace = it has been ... that

Hace una semana me escribió una carta.
= It's been a week that he wrote this letter to me. (action is finished, doesn't go on anymore)

Hace un año me mudé a Berlin.
= It's been a year that I moved to Berlin. (the move is done, I live in London, end of story)

  desde in a span of time (desde hace = for)

Vivo en Berlin desde hace diez años.
= I have been living in Berlin for ten years.

Desde hace tres semanas le estoy diciendo que tiene que ir al médico.
= I have been telling him for three weeks that he has to go to the doctor.
Desde hace una semana me escribe una carta cada día.
= He has been writing me a letter every day for the last week. (It is still going on)

  hace is to be conjugated

Hace ya tres años que se murió su esposa.
= It has been already three years that his wife died.

  hace is a verb that changes with tenses
Hacía ya tres años que se había muerto su esposa cuando se casó de nuevo.
= It had been already three years that his wife had died when he remarried.

  IV. desde hace and hace... que

desde hace is used when a time span is expressed and the action is still ongoing. Such constructions can be also described with desde hace or hace .... que.

Vivo en Londres desde hace diez años.

Hace diez años que vivo en Londres.
= I have been living in London for 10 years.
= It's been 10 years that I live in London.

Desde hace tres semanas le estoy diciendo que tiene que ir al médico.
Hace tres semanas que le estoy diciendo que tiene que irse al medico.
= I have been telling him that he has to go to the doctor for three weeks.
= It's been three weeks that I have been telling him that he has to go to the doctor.