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

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.


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.


Q&A Forum 3 questions, 10 answers

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

Asked 1 year ago
InmaKwiziq language super star

Hi Valerie

Which example are you referring to?

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?

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

Asked 1 year ago

Peninsular Spanish: "Estaré aquí cuatro meses"

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

SilviaKwiziq language super star
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
Perfecto - gracias a todos.
Voy a estar aqui para cuatro meses

Sorry i was wrong the answer will be.

Estare aqui para cuatro meses

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

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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 1 year ago
EC1
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!
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.

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.

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