Spanish time phrases

Here is a selection of useful Spanish time expressions that you’ll find yourself using again and again. There are four sections:

  1. Time units (days, weeks, etc)
  2. Referring to a specific time (past, present, and future expressions)
  3. How to say “since” in Spanish
  4. How to say “until” in Spanish

Referring to a specific time

Past, present, and future time phrases in Spanish.


Expressions to talk about the past in Spanish:

To say “ago” in Spanish, use either hace or atrás with the time unit. Hace goes before the time unit; atrás comes after:

Phrases to refer to the present:

Spanish uses este/esta + [time unit] to say “this [time unit]”:

Phrases to refer to the future:

There are two ways to say “next” with time phrases in Spanish:

El/la [time unit] que viene Next [time unit]

El/la próxima [time unit] Next [time unit]

For example:

Note that you wouldn’t generally say el día que viene, as mañana means “tomorrow” 🙂

Saying “since” in Spanish

Spanish uses desde + [specific point in time] to say “since”:

When desde que is used with a verb, that verb is always in the indicative (i.e, not subjunctive), simple past (referring to a specific point in the past, rather than something ongoing):

You can also use desde in combination with hace to mean “for”, to talk about actions that started in the past and are still going on:

Desde hace [length of time] For [length of time]

This can be used with a verb in the present simple tense:

Desde hace mucho tiempo que no te veo I haven’t seen you for a long time


Estoy aquí desde hace dos meses I’ve been here for two months


Trabaja en la tienda desde hace un año He/she has worked in the shop for a year

Saying “until” in Spanish

Spanish uses hasta + [specific point in time] to say “until”:

Hasta que is used with verbs, and can refer to either past or future actions (“until he arrived”; “until he arrives”). When referring to the past, hasta que is used with the normal, indicative version of the verb:

However, when talking about the future with hasta que, the subjunctive is used:

Desde hace [length of time] For [length of time]

For example:

2 comments. Leave new

There is a mistake on this page:
Esta semana = Tomorrow is incorrect

7th January 2018 7:56 pm

Thanks Janet, corrected!

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