Spanish Expressions with "hacer"


The verb “hacer” can be used in a number of ways to indicate the length of time an action has been taking place.

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The word “hacer” means “to do,” and it can be used for several things in the Spanish language. It can be used to tell time, how long ago an action happened. Something that happened in the past, and it continues in the present. There are also several common expressions that we will learn in this lesson.

  1. 1. If you would like to tell someone that you have been doing something for three years, you can say:

Hace tres años que comencé a estudiar en la universidad.

It has been three years since I started studying at the university.

When you want to indicate and action that started in the past, and continues unto the present, you will use this formula:

“Hacer” + time + que + verb in the preterite or

“Verb in the preterite + Hacer + time

Nos mudamos a Australia hace cuatro años.

We moved to Australia four years ago.

  1. If you would like to tell someone that something happened while you had been doing another action for a while you will use:

“Hacía + Time + Que +verb in the preterite or

Verb in the preterite +Hacía + Time

Hacía tres días que estábamos viajando, cuando perdí mis papeles.

It had been three days that we were traveling, when I lost my papers.

  1. If you want to talk about the weather, you would also use “hace,” to indicate how cold or hot it is.

Hace calor! – It is hot!                            

Hace fresco – It is a little chilly

Hace frío! – It is cold                              

Hace buen tiempo – It is good weather

Hace mal tiempo – It is bad weather                  

Hace viento – It’s windy

  1. Hacer,” is also used to indicate an action. It means “to do.”

Hacer los quehaceres – To do housework

Hacer la tarea – To do your homework

Hacer la cama – To make your bed

Hacer ejercicio – Exercise

Hacer cola – To stand in line

Hacer caso – To mind

Hacer un viaje – To travel

Hacer daño – To do harm

Hacer la compra – To go shopping

As you can see, “Hacer,” can be used to tell someone to “do” a trip or to “do” harm, as well as “to do your homework.” In English we don’t say “We are going to make a line.” when we are going to stand in line. However, if you would translate the expression “hacer cola.” literally, that is what you would get.  

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:

Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.

Specific Capabilities at this Level

I can write short, simple notes and messages relating to matters in areas of immediate needs. I can write a very simple personal letter, for example thanking someone for something.
Spoken Production:
I can use a series of phrases and sentences to describe in simple terms my family and other people, living conditions, my educational background and my present or most recent job.
Spoken Interaction:
I can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar topics and activities. I can handle very short social exchanges, even though I can’t usually understand enough to keep the conversation going myself.
I can read very short, simple texts. I can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus and timetables and I can understand short simple personal letters.
I can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.