Using desde que / hasta que (since/until) with indicative and subjunctive (subordinate time clauses)

Desde que (since...and Hasta que (until...) are used in Spanish to talk about the beginning and the end of an action respectively.

They are subordinate sentences that depend on a main clause. 

Desde que

We can use desde que with the indicative or the subjunctive.

Desde que + indicative

We generally use desde que with the indicative in both present and past tenses. For example:

Siempre pienso en ti desde que me despierto.I always think of you from the moment I wake up.

No juego al fútbol desde que me torcí el tobillo.I haven't played football since I twisted my ankle.

Siempre he sido muy inquieta desde que era niña.I've always been very restless since I was a child.

Desde que + subjunctive 

When talking about past actions we can also use it with the subjunctive, but this makes it sound more formal.

For example:

No juego al fútbol desde que me torciera el tobillo.I haven't played football since I twisted my ankle.

When using desde que expressing an action that will take place in the future, we then use it with the subjunctive, also as a subordinate clause. For example:

Mañana, desde que aterrices hasta que llegues al hotel habrán pasado un par de horas.Tomorrow, from the moment you land until you arrive at the hotel, a couple of hours will have passed.

Tendremos tiempo de organizar la fiesta desde que los niños se hayan ido al colegio.We will have time to organise the party from the moment when the children have gone to school.

Hasta que 

We can use hasta que with the indicative or the subjunctive.

Hasta que + indicative

When we are talking about present and past events. For example:

A veces espero a mi hija despierta hasta que llega a casa.Sometimes I wait up for my daughter until she gets home.

He tenido estos pantalones durante años, hasta que se han rajado.I've had these trousers for years, until they ripped.

Mi abuelo trabajó en la oficina de Correos hasta que murió.My grandfather worked at the post office until he died.

Hasta que + subjunctive

When we are talking about a future event that is yet to happen. For example:

No voy a permitir que mi hijo use Instagram hasta que tenga 15 o 16 años.I am not letting my son use Instagram until he is 15 or 16.

Mañana, desde que aterrices hasta que llegues al hotel habrán pasado un par de horas.Tomorrow, from the moment you land until you arrive at the hotel, a couple of hours will have passed.
 

Remember, in Spanish we cannot omit "que" - these are all subordinate sentences and "que" is required. This would be incorrect:

No me despiertes hasta haya dormido al menos 4 horas.
Don't wake me up until I have slept a minimum of 4 hours.

Desde me levanto hasta me acuesto estoy pensando en ti.
Since I wake up until I go to bed I think of you.

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Examples and resources

No voy a permitir que mi hijo use Instagram hasta que tenga 15 o 16 años.I am not letting my son use Instagram until he is 15 or 16.
A veces espero a mi hija despierta hasta que llega a casa.Sometimes I wait up for my daughter until she gets home.
Siempre pienso en ti desde que me despierto.I always think of you from the moment I wake up.
No juego al fútbol desde que me torcí el tobillo.I haven't played football since I twisted my ankle.
Mañana, desde que aterrices hasta que llegues al hotel habrán pasado un par de horas.Tomorrow, from the moment you land until you arrive at the hotel, a couple of hours will have passed.
No juego al fútbol desde que me torciera el tobillo.I haven't played football since I twisted my ankle.
Tendremos tiempo de organizar la fiesta desde que los niños se hayan ido al colegio.We will have time to organise the party from the moment when the children have gone to school.
Cuece la pasta hasta que esté "al dente".Cook the pasta until it is al dente.
Mi abuelo trabajó en la oficina de Correos hasta que murió.My grandfather worked at the post office until he died.
He tenido estos pantalones durante años, hasta que se han rajado.I've had these trousers for years, until they ripped.
Siempre he sido muy inquieta desde que era niña.I've always been very restless since I was a child.

Q&A Forum 4 questions, 5 answers

GC1Kwiziq community member

I'm not sure I understand why despierta is used here and not despierto (1st person conjugated)

A veces espero a mi hija despierta hasta que llega a casa

Is it because despierta is being used as an adjective here? Thank you

Asked 2 months ago
ShericeA2Kwiziq community member

Because it says "sometimes I wait / for my daughter to wake up" instead of despierto which is "I wake up"

InmaKwiziq team member

Hola G,

As Sherice was saying, the word despierta in this sentence is an adjective that agrees with "hija" (daughter, feminine noun -> despierta). It is not used as a verb conjugated in the present:

"Yo me despierto a las 7." (I wake up at 7.)

Here you need the ending -o for the yo-form of the verb despertar. 

Saludos,

Inma

I'm not sure I understand why despierta is used here and not despierto (1st person conjugated)

A veces espero a mi hija despierta hasta que llega a casa

Is it because despierta is being used as an adjective here? Thank you

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GC1Kwiziq community member

Hi - I'm not sure I understand why despierta is used here and not despierto (1st person conjugated)

A veces espero a mi hija despierta hasta que llega a casa.

Is it because it is being used as an adjective in this sentence. Thx

Asked 2 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola G,

exactly! "despierta" here in this sentence is an adjective agreeing with the subject (Yo..), and we can see by the ending "despierta" that it is a lady talking. If it was a man talking then it'd say:

Yo a veces espero a mi hija despierto hasta que llega a casa.

So it is not using the verb "despertarse" here, it is simply an adjective:(despierto/despierta/despiertos/despiertas = awake)

I hope this clarifies it for you.

Saludos,

Inma

 

Hi - I'm not sure I understand why despierta is used here and not despierto (1st person conjugated)

A veces espero a mi hija despierta hasta que llega a casa.

Is it because it is being used as an adjective in this sentence. Thx

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JohanC1Kwiziq Q&A regular contributor

Does this sentence make sense

A veces espero a mi hija despierta hasta que llega a casa.
Asked 5 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hi Johan,

Yes, it does. What do you find confusing about it?

Inma

Does this sentence make sense

A veces espero a mi hija despierta hasta que llega a casa.

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RalphC1Kwiziq community member

Siempre he sido my inquieta desde que era niña.

Asked 10 months ago
InmaKwiziq team member

Hola Ralph

Gracias. Corrected.

Inma

Siempre he sido my inquieta desde que era niña.

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