How Long Ago Did It Happen?
You already know how to ask when something happened. All you have to do is ask, ¿Cuándo? For example,
However, if you wish to ask how long ago something happened or how long something has been happening, you need to memorize the Spanish phrase:
Either form of the question is correct, and you will complete the question with a conjugated verb in either the present or past tense.
If the verb is in the present tense, the question means, “(For) how long have…?
If the verb is in the past tense, the question means, “How long ago did…?”
Usually, the response will follow this format:
hace + time period + que + action
Please note that hacer is always in the third person singular form (hace) and does NOT change to reflect the quantity of time.
In the past tense, you have the option of putting “hace + time period” at the end of the sentence, thereby eliminating the need for que.
You can also ask how long ago it’s been since you haven’t done something. In this case, you will use the present tense, and the translation of these questions can be a little tricky. For example,
When you respond, you can answer with one of the following:
- desde + noun
- desde que + conjugated verb
- desde hace + time period
For example, take the question, “¿Desde cuándo trabajas aquí?" You can formulate your answer in one of the following ways:
In the next section we'll talk about Spanish Adverbs (describing actions).