Using desde (hace) with El Presente instead of El Pretérito Perfecto to express since/for

Have a look at these sentences:

No fumo desde hace un año.
I have not smoked for a year.

Desde hace dos meses María está muy contenta.
María has been very happy for 2 months.

No veo a Ana desde hace tres semanas.
I have not seen Ana for three weeks.

Desde hace 24 horas no duermo.
I haven't slept for 24 hours.

To express that you have done something for + [duration] - i.e. to talk about an action or event that started in the past but is still ongoing in the present - in Spanish you use El Presente with desde hace + [duration] as such: 

- Desde hace + [duration] + action in El Presente
or
- Action in El Presente desde hace + [duration]

 

You can never use El Pretérito Perfecto (like Present Perfect in English) with desde hace:
No he fumado fumo desde hace un año.

 
Desde + [specific date] = since + [specific date]

In the same context, you will use desde instead of desde hace when your action's starting point is a specific date

Vende coches desde 1987.
He has been selling cars since 1987.

Vivo en Madrid desde septiembre.
I have lived in Madrid since September.

Desde las ocho no come.
He has not eaten since eight o'clock.

Desde el lunes voy al gimnasio.
I've been going to the gym since Monday.

See also:

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

Desde hace 24 horas no duermo.
I haven't slept for 24 hours.


Vende coches desde 1987.
He has been selling cars since 1987.


Vivo en Madrid desde septiembre.
I have lived in Madrid since September.


No veo a Ana desde hace tres semanas.
I have not seen Ana for three weeks.


Desde el lunes voy al gimnasio.
I've been going to the gym since Monday.


Desde hace dos meses María está muy contenta.
María has been very happy for 2 months.


Desde las ocho no come.
He has not eaten since eight o'clock.


No fumo desde hace un año.
I have not smoked for a year.


Q&A Forum 4 questions, 12 answers

RickyA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Something in the past that continues.

One of the lessons included things that were happening in the past but are still ongoing. Instead of the present perfect, it included the present tense and then something else (it was not this lesson). Could you tell me where that lesson is or explain it to me? Thanks.

Asked 4 weeks ago
InmaKwiziq team memberCorrect answer

Hola Ricky,

I imagine you are referring to "llevar + gerund"?

Llevar + Gerund

If it is not this one, let us know again. There are lots of lessons about "ongoing actions".

Saludos

Inma

RickyA2Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Hola, Inma,

Yes, this is what I was looking for but it is confusing to me. It is my understanding that llevar means to take, carry or wear. How does it relate to this gerund example?

Gracias,

Ricky

Something in the past that continues.

One of the lessons included things that were happening in the past but are still ongoing. Instead of the present perfect, it included the present tense and then something else (it was not this lesson). Could you tell me where that lesson is or explain it to me? Thanks.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

ValerieB1Kwiziq community member

Why can't I use desde hace in this example?

Asked 1 year ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hi Valerie

Which example are you referring to?

ValerieB1Kwiziq community member

Sorry.  Now I've got it.  Desde hace for duration, desde for specific time.

Thanks for your prompt reply.

Why can't I use desde hace in this example?

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

MeghanB2Kwiziq community member

How would you say "I will be here for 4 months?"

Asked 1 year ago
AndyC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Peninsular Spanish: "Estaré aquí cuatro meses"

Latin-American Spanish: "Estaré aquí por cuatro meses"

SilviaKwiziq team member
Muchas gracias por tu respuesta Andy! In effect, that's the right answer for Meghan's question. You need to use the normal future tense for that sentence in particular. Silvia
MeghanB2Kwiziq community member
Perfecto - gracias a todos.
PrakashA1Kwiziq community member
Voy a estar aqui para cuatro meses
PrakashA1Kwiziq community member

Sorry i was wrong the answer will be.

Estare aqui para cuatro meses

How would you say "I will be here for 4 months?"

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

GailC1Kwiziq community member

How does "Hace días que Laura no viene a visitarnos." fit the pattern?

This was the quiz answer. I would have chosen "Laura no viene a vistarnos desde hace días." but it wasn't an option.
Asked 2 years ago
EC1Kwiziq community member
The problem is in the lesson, not in the quiz question. The lesson doesn't explain the "Hace ... que" structure, which is a common way of expressing this. It's in beta—hopefully they'll improve it!
GailC1Kwiziq community member
Thanks. Will you let me know when the "Hace ... que" structure is added? I find "desde hace" and all its permutations challenging, since they don't match what I would say in English.
AlanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

I find it helpful to interpret, for example, "desde hace 5 meses" as meaning "since 5 months ago".  Desde = since, and hace = ago, in this context.  So "for 5 months" equates to "since 5 months ago", which is literally true.

But, "since March" has to be "desde marzo".  "desde hace marzo" makes no sense because it would mean "since March ago"!!

How does "Hace días que Laura no viene a visitarnos." fit the pattern?

This was the quiz answer. I would have chosen "Laura no viene a vistarnos desde hace días." but it wasn't an option.

Sign in to submit your answer

Don't have an account yet? Join today

Clever stuff underway!