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Three verbs to talk about length time in Spanish: “tardar”, “llevar” and “durar” 6

Do you know how to use the verbs “tardar”, “llevar” and “durar” in time expressions? Their use is fairly common to express how long it takes to do something, how long something goes on for or how long something has been going on. Let’s see the best way to use them:

  •  Durar: ‘to go on, to last’

durarWe use durar+ length of time to express how long something lasts.

– La película dura dos horas.
The movie lasts (for) two hours.

– ¿Cuánto dura el vuelo?
– How long is the flight? / How long does the flight take?

– La conferencia durará cuatro días.
– The conference will last four days.

  • Tardar: ‘to take (time)’

tardarWe use ‘tardar’ + amount of time + en  + infinitive to say how long it takes for someone (person, animal or thing) to do something.

Tardamos tres horas en llegar al pueblo.
– We took three hours to get to the village.

– ¿Cuánto se tarda en llegar de Madrid a Burgos en autobús?
– How long does it take to go from Madrid to Burgos by bus?

Tardar‘ also means to take too much time, as in delaying.

– Pedro tarda en llegar.
– Pedro is late in arriving.

  • Llevar

llevar– ‘Llevar‘ + time + gerund: ‘to be, to take’

We use this expression to refer to how long an action has been going on.

Llevo media hora esperando.
– I’ve been waiting for half an hour.

– ¿Cuánto tiempo llevas buscando a tus padres biológicos?
– How long have you been looking for your biological parents?

– ‘Llevar’ + time + sin + infinitive: ‘to go / to be for + length of time + without’

Lleva dos días sin comer.
– He hasn’t eaten for two days.

– ‘Llevar’ + amount of time (+ en) + place

We use this expression to say how long someone or something has been somewhere.

– La estatua lleva tres años en la plaza.
– The statue has been here for three years.

– ¿Cuánto tiempo llevas aquí?
– How long have you been here?


Gerund in Spanish (form and uses)

Gerund. And what’s that?

FORM

We make it by replacing the endings “-ar, -er, -ir” of the infinitive with -ando (verbs that ends in -ar) or -iendo for the verbs that end in -er, -ir

ger_1

Note: if the stem of the verb ends in vowel, ie. caer — ca-er, the ending for the infinitive would be -yendo.

ger_2

There are some irregular verbs in the gerund form

The verbs ending in -ir with an –e or an –o in the radical change those vowels by -i, or -u.

ger_3

 

USES

1. Temporal = while / when

Abriendo la puerta, descubrí al ladrón. (Cuando abrí la puerta)
– When I opened the door, I discovered the thief.

2. Causal = because / since

Viendo que se encontraba incómoda, nos fuimos de la fiesta. (Como se sentía incómoda)
– Seeing she was feeling uncomfortable, we left the party.

3. Conditional = if

Estudiando mucho desde hoy, podremos aprobar el examen (Si estudiamos mucho)
– If we study a lot from now on, we will be able to pass the exam.

4. Concessive (+ aun) = although

Aun lloviendo, iré a correr (Aunque llueva)
–  Even if it rains, I will go for a run.

5. Modal = answer the question “how” and the gerund is equivalent to “this way”

– Los sueños se cumplen trabajando en ellos (¿Cómo se cumplen los sueños? Así = Trabajando)
– The dreams are come true by working on them.

6. Relative = sentence with “that” and works as an adjective.

– La niña hablando con el policía es mi prima. (La niña que habla con el policía)
– The girl speaking with the policeman is my cousin.

Valores del Gerundio

And, if you are an English speaker, this is a very important part of the post.

We don’t use the gerund…

As a subject, in which case we use the infinitive.

Estudiar español es muy fácil.
Studying Spanish is very easy.

 

Ficha de teoría: Valores_gerundio_teoria

 


“Echar”: 7 meanings + 7 common expressions

“Echar” is a very tricky but I’m here to help! 🙂

If you look for the meanings of “echar” in the RAE (Royal Spanish Academy Dictionary) you will find about 48 meanings and as many expressions that use this verb.

But despite all this abundance of meanings, the idea of “echar” implies movement from inside to outside or put away. Some of the meanings are ‘to throw’, ‘to expel, fire’, ‘to pour’, amongst many others…

Let’s see with detail some of the most used and useful meanings of “echar”

MEANINGS

1. ‘To throw, throw away’ – ‘Hacer que algo vaya a parar a alguna parte, dándole impulso’ (rae) ( to put (something) in a particular place in a careless or forceful way, to cause to move suddenly or forcefully to or away from a particular place) (merriam-webster).

– No deberíamos echar desperdicios al mar.
– We shouldn’t throw waste into the sea.

– ¡Échalo a la basura ahora mismo!
– Throw it away right now!

2. ”To throw out, to fire, to expel’ – ‘Hacer salir a alguien de algún lugar, apartarle con violencia, por desprecio, castigo, etc. // Deponer a alguien de su empleo o dignidad, impidiéndole el ejercicio de ella’ (rae). ‘To remove from a place, office, or employment usually in a sudden or unexpected manner (merriam-webster).

– La profesora me ha echado de clase esta mañana.
– The teacher threw me out of class this morning.

– Tengo que aceptar todos los proyectos que me dan si no quiero que me echen del trabajo.
– I have to take on all the projects they give me if I don’t want to get fired.

3. ‘To move, to lean, to push’ – ‘Inclinar, reclinar o recostar’ (rae). ‘To incline, deviate, or bend from a vertical position’ (merriam-webster).

– Puedes echar la cabeza a un lado que no veo bien?
– Can you tilt the head because I can’t see properly?
4. ‘To post, to give’ – ‘Dar o repartir’ (rae) ‘To post a letter // to give’ (merriam-webster)
– He echado la carta al buzón. Llegará en tres días.
– I post the letter. It will arrive in three days.
– Mamá pato echa de comer a los patitos.
– Mum duck feed the ducklings.
5. ‘To reckon, to count, to estimate’ – ‘Hacer cálculos, cuentas. Suponer o conjeturar el precio, distancia, edad, etc., que nos son desconocidos’. ‘To think or suppose, to believe that something is true or possible. To calculate or guess (an amount, number, value, etc.). To have or form a general idea about something’ (merriam-webster).
– ¿Qué edad le echas?
– How old do you reckon he is?
6. ‘To take time, to spend time’ – ‘Invertir o gastar en algo el tiempo que se expresa’. ‘To allow (time) to pass in a particular place or while doing a particular activity’ (merriam-webster).
– ¿Cuánto tardarás en llegar? – Échale dos horas.

– How long will it take you to arrive? -Let’s say two hours.

7. ‘To show‘ – ‘Representar o ejecutar comedias u otros espectáculos’ (rae). ‘To give a theatrical performance, to be staged or presented’ (merriam-webster).

– Echan una peli de Julia Roberts en la tele esta noche. No me la pierdo.
– There’s a Julia Roberts movie on TV tonight. I won’t miss it.

EXPRESSIONSechar_expressions

• echar a perder: ‘to spoil, to go off’.

– Con este calor la carne se echa a perder enseguida.
– With this heat, the meat goes off immediately.

• echar de menos: ‘to miss someone’.

– Juan está tan triste porque echa de menos a su amiga Marta que está de viaje.
– Juan is so sad because he misses his friend Marta who is traveling.

• echarse atrás: ‘to cry off’.

– Estaba todo organizado para la compra del piso pero se echaron atrás en el último minuto.
– It was all organized for the purchase of the house but they cried off at the last minute.

• echar un cable: ‘give a hand’.

– No te preocupes, te echaré un cable hasta que encuentres otro trabajo.
– Don’t worry, I’ll give you a hand until you find another job.

• echarse encima de alguien: ‘pounce on’.

– Los alumnos se me echaron encima cuando les mandé más tarea para el lunes.
– The students pounced on me when I gave them more homework for Monday.

• echar un vistazo: ‘have a look, take a look, take a glance’.

– He echado un vistazo al examen y no parece difícil.
– I have taken a look at the exam and it doesn’t seem difficult.

• echar en cara: ‘throw something is someone’s face’.

– No aguanto más que Pedro me eche cosas en cara constantemente. 
– I can’t stand anymore Pedro throwing things at my face constantly.


Uses of the 4 Past Tenses in Spanish 4

In previous posts you have learned about how to talk about the past, and you learned how to form and use the Pretérito Perfecto (Present Perfect), the Pretérito Imperfecto (Past Continuous), the Pretérito Indefinido (Past Simple) and Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto (Past Perfect).

Now you have all the tenses required to talk about the past, but you might be wondering when to use one or the other, aren’t you? I hear you, it seems tricky but it is not that much.

Let me explain.

  • Pretérito Perfecto: Is used for past actions that have a feeling of continuing into the present, or continuing to affect the present, or without mention of when.

– Esta tarde he tomado un café con Sara.
– This afternoon I have had a coffee with Sara.

  • Pretérito Indefinido: Is used for past actions that are seen as completed at a definite time in the past.

– El año pasado fuimos de vacaciones a Portugal.
– Last summer we went on holiday to Portugal.

It is also used for actions in the past that have no relation with the present, such as single events that contain a date or a specific period of time.

– Viví en Paris desde 1997 a 2001.
– I lived in Paris from 1997 to 2001.

– Trabajamos en el proyecto la semana pasada.
– We worked in the project last week.

– Ayer no fui a trabajar.
– Yesterday I didn’t go to work.

The Indefinido is used for a series of actions in the past, to talk about past actions that happen one after the other.

– Ella se levantó, se vistió, tomó un café y fue al trabajo.
– She got up, got dressed, had a coffee, and went to work.

  • Pretérito Imperfecto: This tense Is used for actions in the past that are not seen as completed. It’s use implies that the past action did not have a definite beginning or a definite end.

– Cuando vivía en Londres, todavía no conocía a Peter.
– When I was living in London, I still didn’t know Peter.

The Imperfecto is also used for habitual actions (used to…).

– Hacía yoga todas las mañanas.
– I used to do yoga every morning.

The Imperfecto is the tense of the description, so it is used to describe things, people, animals, situations in the past. Also for telling time and stating one’s age.

– Mi padre era alto, moreno y llevaba un bigote muy gracioso.
– My father was tall, dark and he had a funny moustache.

– Hacía mucho frío y no tenía un abrigo.
– It was very cold and I didn’t have a coat.

– Cuando tenía 12 años jugaba en el parque.
– When I was 12 years old I played in the park.

– Eran las 10 de la noche.
– It was 10 o’clock at nigh.

We combine the imperfecto with the indefinido to tell a story.

– Hacía mucho frío cuando él llegó a casa y preparó una taza de té.
– It was very cold when he arrived home and prepared a cup of tea.

  • Pretérito Pluscuamperfecto: Used to talk about an action that happened in the past, previous to another action also in the past.

– Cuando llegué a casa, él ya se había ido.
– When I arrived home, he had already gone.

And now all in combination! Woohoo!

– Pedro estaba (description) muy cansado porque se había acostado    (action 1º) muy tarde la noche anterior por lo que no oyó (action 2º) el despertador a la mañana siguiente.

– Pedro was very tired because he had gone to sleep very late the previous night, and that’s why he didn’t hear the alarm the following morning.

 

Finally, you can download a printable version of this lesson in the link below. You will also find a second link to a pdf with some exercises to practice and reinforce the knowledge. Remember that you can get a personalized correction for free by sending your answers to learn@mariaortegagarcia.com and I will get back to you with the corrections as soon as my busy teaching schedule allows me to.


Talking about the past (IV): Pluscuamperfecto de Indicativo (Past Perfect) 1

In previous posts we have learnt about the “Pretérito Perfecto”, the “Imperfecto” and the “Indefinido”. In this post we are going to learn how to form and use the “Pluscuamperfecto”, the last of the past tenses in Spanish. In a next post we will learn how to use all the four in combination.

Form

The Pluscuamperfecto is a compound tense, which means that is formed with the auxiliary verb, “haber” in the imperfect tense and followed the participe of the verb.

Pluscuamperfecto

Pluscuamperfecto

Use

We use this tense to talk about a past and finished action previous to another finished action or moment also in the past. Note: It is equivalent to the Past Perfect in English.

– La película ya había terminado cuando llegamos a casa.
– The movie had already finished when we arrived home.

Habíamos estudiado mucho para el examen, pero suspendimos.
– We had studied a lot for the exam but we failed.

As you can see, in both examples, the sentences talked about two past situations, and there are two actions in each sentence: the one in pluscuamperfecto (past perfect) is previous in time to the one in the indefinido (past simple).

Finally, you can download a printable version of this lesson in the link below. You will also find a second link to a pdf with some exercises to practice and reinforce the knowledge. Remember that you can get a personalized correction for free by sending your answers to learn@mariaortegagarcia.com and I will get back to you with the corrections as soon as my busy teaching schedule allow me.

Note: 

Much of the above type and style of clarifications, grammar, and other tricky elements are now covered in Compass Spanish (a new course comprised of daily mini-lessons delivered straight to your inbox). If you struggle to find the time or have a busy schedule, try out a free week (no strings attached and no credit card required!).

Spill the Beans (1)


Irregularities of the Pretérito Indefinido tense in Spanish. Talking about the past (III) 7

Few days ago, a follower of my Facebook page asked me for help about his personal nightmare in Spanish. For him, the irregular verbs in the Pretérito Indefinido (Past Tense) were just something he couldn’t understand, so he wrote me few lines asking me for some tips. As this week, I also had a class with one of my students, working on the same topic, I decided I was going to spend some time answering all your prayers about the irregularities of the verbs in the Pretérito Indefinido in Spanish. 

❉  ❉  ❉

The past tense – Pretérito Indefinido – is used to talk about the past in Spanish. We used to talk about actions accomplished in a particular moment in the past.

El año pasado mis padres y yo nos mudamos a nuestra nueva casa. – Last year, my parents and I moved to our new house.

So, the action (mudarse = ‘to move’) was accomplished, finished in an specific time in the past (el año pasado = ‘last year’). We also use the pretérito indefinido to express an action that happens in the past, occurs in the middle of other action.

– Justo cuando estábamos pasándolo mejor, tuvo que irse. – Right when we were having more fun, he had to go.

As you can see, there are two actions: one extended in time (pasarlo bien = ‘have fun’) and one that happens in the middle of the previous one (tener que irse = ‘have to go’). In those cases, the action that happens in the middle of another action goes in pretérito indefinido.

Form

To conjugate a regular verb in the “Indefinido”, you just need to drop the endings -ar, -er or -ir from the infinitive form and add the endings.

Indefinido

 

Irregular verbs

Unfortunately there are quite a few irregular verbs in this tense. Verbs with an irregular root:

Indefinido_Irregular

Indefinido_Irregular

Some other irregularities:

  • Verbs ending by -ducir in the infinitive (like “producir”, “conducir”, “traducir”) C > J

The “c” in the root becomes “j”.

– Conducir: Conduje, condujiste, condujo, condujimos, condujisteis, condujeron.

  • Verbs that have an “-i-” between vowels with the verbs that en in “-er” and “-ir” in the infinitive, change the “i” for a “y” in the 3rd person of the singular (he/she) and of the plural (they). I > Y

– Leer: Le-ió > Leyó / Le-ieron > Leyeron – Contruir: Construyó / Construyeron – Oir: Oyó / Oyeron

  • Verbs ending by -zar in the infinitive (empezar, comenzar, cazar…) Z > C

The “z” becomes “c” only in the 1st person singular (yo).

– Empezar: Empecé, empezaste, empezó, empezamos, empezasteis, empezaron.

  • Verbs ending by -car in the infinitive (sacar, aparcar…) C > QU

The “c” in the rot becomes “qu” for the 1st person singular (yo).

– Sacar: Saqué, sacaste, sacó, sacamos, sacasteis, sacaron.

  • Verbs ending by -gar (llegar, jugar…) G > GU

The “g” in the root becomes “gu” in the 1st singular (yo).

– Llegar: Llegué, llegaste, llegó, llegamos, llegasteis, llegaron.

  • Verbs whose root end by “-ll” and “-ñ” (bullir, tañer…) won’t have the “i” in the 3rd person of singular and plural.

– Bullir: Bulló (not bullió) / Bulleron

  • Some verbs ending by “-er” and “-ir” in the infinitive change their vowel (E > I // O > U) in the 3rd person singular and plural. They are the same that change their vowel in the present of indicative (irregular verbs in the Present).

– Pedir: Pedí, pediste, pidió, pedimos, pedisteis, pidieron. – Dormir: Dormí, dormiste, durmió, dormimos, dormisteis, durmieron.

Otros verbos irregulares:

Andar > anduv-                             Caber > cup-
Haber > hub-                                 Poder > pud-
Poner > pus-                                  Saber > sup-
Decir > dij-                                   Querer > quis-
Traer > traj-                                  Venir > vin-

Note: 

Much of the above type and style of clarifications, grammar, and other tricky elements are now covered in Compass Spanish (a new course comprised of daily mini-lessons delivered straight to your inbox). If you struggle to find the time or have a busy schedule, try out a free week (no strings attached and no credit card required!).

Spill the Beans (1)