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Los usos del tiempo del presente

Now that you know how to conjugate the present tense, what are you going to use it for?

The present tense in Spanish is very similar to the one in English, but it doesn't use helping/linking verbs (am,is,are,do,does).  It has the following basic meanings/uses:

Trabajo los sábados en el mercado.  I (do) work on Saturdays at the market.
Tengo muchos amigos simpáticos.  I (do) have many nice friends.
Estudio español con don Carlos.  I am studying (study, do study) Spanish with don Carlos.
¿A quién llamas?  Who(m) are you calling (do you call)?

¿Qué haces este fin de semana?  What are you doing this weekend?
Asisto a un concierto en el centro.  I'm going to a concert downtown.

¿Estudias mucho?  Do you study a lot?
¿A qué hora llega don Carlos a clase?  (At) What time does don Carlos arrive to class?
So if you want to ask "What do you do after school?", which is correct:

¿Qué haces tú haces después de las clases?
¿Qué haces después de las clases?

Did you choose rojo or verde?  The correct answer is verde.  The linking verb "do" is understood, so there is no need for the double "hace" in the frase roja.

No hablo japonés.  I do not (don't) speak Japanese.
Ella no estudia de manera suficiente.  She does not (doesn't) study enough.

*To express an action in progress at the precise moment you can also use the present progressive tense, which uses the verb
"estar" [in the present tense, of course] followed by the present participle(gerundio) [ando/iendo].

How long????

Using "hace" to express how long you have been doing something.

Think of a few (3+) activities that you do.  Choose ones that you have been doing for a while.  They might be a hobby, a sport you play, something you study, etc.  Write down what you do in Spanish, skipping four lines between each.  I'll use "I teach Spanish in high school" for my example.

Enseño español en el colegio.

Go ahead and write yours down. ......    I'll wait.

Now we want to discuss "for how long" you have been doing these activities.  In parenthesis, after the sentence write the time period.

Enseño español en el colegio. (20 años)

Now to put this into a sentence, all you have to do is fill-in the formula, just as if you were in a math class.

formula: Hace + time period+ que + verbal expression (the activity in the present).

So my sentence ends up being:

Hace 20 años [the time period]que enseño español en el colegio [the activity].

Go ahead and do yours.  Write your sentences ojn the first line under each activity.

Got it?

Another way to express this using the present tense is by using a slightly different formula:

verbal expression + desde hace + time period.

My sentence this time would be:  Enseño español desde hace 20 años.

Do yours this way. Do this on the second line underneath the original.

Come on, I don't have all day.

What if someone tells you they do something and you want to find how long they have been doing it?  How do you create the question?  There are two possible questions.

¿Desde cuándo + verbal expression [probably in the second person form, unless you are asking about someone else]?

¿Cuánto tiempo hace que + verbal expression?

So, if someone asked me how long I have been teaching Spanish, they would ask:

¿Desde cuándo enseñas (enseña Ud. el) español?


¿Cuánto tiempo hace que enseñas (enseña Ud. el) español?
Use the last two lines under each sentence to compose the questions you would ask yourself if you had a dual personality.


Go to and review this, do the activities, and take the test.