Time expressions with ‘hacer’

Hello all!

I cannot believe that I am asking this after all the years that I have spent studying Spanish, but here goes!

What is the difference in aspect and or meaning between the following:

1. Hace mucho que no te veo.

and

Hace mucho que no te he visto.

2. Hace mucho que no te escribo.

and

Hace mucho que no te he escrito.

 

Hacer + que + present tense Spanish verb (used to express an action which started in the past and continues into the present, and which equates the English ‘for’ + the present perfect)  is one of the most basic concepts/expressions and every beginner learns this. I have read hundreds of explanations and pages with the most basic examples. They all work because the structure and wording of the sentence and verb is natural.

Ex.

3. Hace dos meses que estudio ruso.

I have been studying Russian for two months.

but

Hace mucho que no te veo.

is NOT:

I haven’t been seeing you for a long time. (This is incorrect English.) The correct way to express this is: I haven’t seen you for a long time. The fact that we have a negative in the sentence doesn’t help either!

and I’ve NEVER seen sentence (3) from above expressed with the Spanish present perfect.

Ex.

Hace dos meses que he estudiado ruso.

 

I welcome any comments and all suggestions.

 

Gerardo

Autor: | 2017-11-18T22:47:31+00:00 18/11/17|English, Gramática, Grammar, Tiempos verbales|16 Comentarios

16 Comentarios

  1. chileno 19/11/2017 en 02:04

    Hola Gerardo:

    Would the following make sense to you?

    Hace mucho que no te veo. = It’s been a long time without seeing you

    Hace mucho que no te he visto. = It’s been a long time that I have not seen you.

    ?

    • Gerardo 19/11/2017 en 04:53

      Hola chileno.

      Your translations for each are fine and I can easily work with them.

      More important for me right now is to know that both are correct and said/used. Now, I assume that the same type of wording would work for sentence (2) and that those are also both correct and used. I have seen the Spanish versions of both sentences (1) and (2) but what about sentence (3)? Could you say both:

      Hace dos meses que estudio ruso. (This is the one you see everywhere in textbooks.)
      and
      Hace dos meses que he estudiado ruso. (I have never seen/heard this before. Is it correct?)

      • chileno 19/11/2017 en 16:41

        Your translations for each are fine and I can easily work with them.

        Please write them, as you understand what I wrote, in the most natural way you can.

        Same thing goes for number 2.

        Now I am going to wait for you to write your version of what you understood from what I wrote, which would also apply for example 2 and then address your example #3.

        OK?

        • Gerardo 19/11/2017 en 18:43

          chileno:

          The idea I want to express is the following:

          I haven’t seen you in/for a long time. (sentence 1)

          which students are taught is:

          Hace mucho que no te veo.

          English uses the present perfect tense and Spanish uses the simple present. Recently, I have seen the Spanish sentence using the present perfect (Hace mucho que no te he visto). I have never seen this construction before. I understand this sentence to mean exactly the same thing in English. My question is, are both the same in meaning and can they be used interchangeably?

          Sentence (2),

          Hace mucho que no te escribe = I haven’t written to you in a long time
          sounds incorrect to me in Spanish using the simple present. I would have (naturally and without thinking) used the present perfect in Spanish:
          Hace mucho que no te he escrito, to express the English meaning. This goes against the “rule”. Are both correct to express my English translation?

          Sentence (3),

          I have been studying Russian for two months.

          The only way I have seen this done in Spanish is with the present tense, that is, as above: Hace dos meses que estudio ruso. Is it possible to use the present perfect here as well? That is, is this correct and acceptable: Hace dos meses que he estudiado ruso.

          The only way I have ever seen this translated i

          • chileno 19/11/2017 en 19:27

            Gerardo:

            Just for kicks. Please improve the English versions of both of my translations…

            Hace mucho que no te veo. = It’s been a long time without seeing you

            Hace mucho que no te he visto. = It’s been a long time that I have not seen you.

            • Gerardo 20/11/2017 en 02:03

              Hola chileno:

              Hace mucho que no te veo. = It’s been a long time without seeing you
              Hace mucho que no te he visto. = It’s been a long time that I have not seen you.

              Your English translations are fine as long as you consider them more or less literal. They reflect the tense and meaning. As a native speaker of English and knowing a bit of Spanish and the way it works and equates English I would translate them as follows:

              Hace mucho que no te veo. = It makes/is a long time that I don’t see you. (a literal translation which means in good English, I haven’t seen you in a while/long time, or It has been a while/long time since I have seen you.)

              Hace mucho que no te he visto. = It makes/is a long time since I have seen you. (more or less literal and which is closer to the good English, I haven’t seen you in a while/long time or It’s been a while/long time since I’ve seen you.)

              • chileno 20/11/2017 en 03:56

                Sorry I wasn’t clear enough. I just want a natural and native way of what you understand of he following. Not the Spanish translation.

                It’s been a long time without seeing you

                It’s been a long time that I have not seen you.

                Thank you.

  2. Blasita
    Blasita 19/11/2017 en 18:03

    Hola, Gerardo y todos:

    Qué bien que nos hayas planteado esta pregunta, Gerardo, gracias. Por mi parte voy a centrarme solamente en el español y no en las traducciones, aunque me suena bien lo que dices. Nunca había pensado en el uso del pretérito perfecto compuesto en estos casos. Que conste que mi respuesta ahora es solamente un toma de contacto inicial y viene un poco a salto de mata. Espero aumentarla y matizarla pronto.

    Lo que a mí me suena natural en los ejemplos 1 y 2 es el presente de indicativo (veo, escribo). Aunque te habla una gran usuaria del pretérito perfecto compuesto, las segundas opciones (he visto, he escrito) me rechinan de alguna forma; por aventurarme aún más, diré que especialmente la segunda. Sí, la 3 es bastante peor. Hasta aquí mera cuestión de oído.

    Hace mucho (tiempo) que no te veo. No te veo desde hace mucho (tiempo). – ✔
    Hacía mucho (tiempo) que no te veía. No te veía desde hace mucho (tiempo).
    – ✔

    Hace días que no te he visto. No te he visto desde hace días.* (?)
    He puesto un ejemplo con una expresión temporal más reciente para intentar casarlo con la proximidad que el pretérito compuesto tiene para mí en los casos de simultaneidad con el simple. De todos modos, no me cuadra.

    Hasta pronto. Un saludito.

    • Gerardo 20/11/2017 en 02:30

      Hola Blasita!

      Gracias por tu respuesta.

      So, if I understand your answer correctly, I should use the present indicative, as the rule says. That is,

      Hace mucho que no te veo = I haven’t seen you in a long time.

      I must say, as a native American English speaker, this sounds horrible — but it follows the rule as to how it is expressed in Spanish.

      NOTE: (about an hour after this was originally posted) Well, I just found a dictionary entry that says this, indeed, is the idiomatic way of expressing the idea. Therefore, I assume that the question I posed below is also done the same way.

      What about with “writing to someone”? Should I use the simple present, as well?

      Should I say:

      Hace mucho que no te escribo = I haven’t written to you in a long time.

      Many thanks.

  3. Gerardo 20/11/2017 en 03:10

    And I assume that:

    Hace mucho que no nos hablamos = It’s been a long time since we have spoken/talked.

    This has driven me absolutely crazy.

  4. Blasita
    Blasita 20/11/2017 en 10:42

    Hello again,

    After the introduction, here comes the first chapter!

    1.- Hace mucho que no te veo (desde la última vez que te vi, no te he vuelto a ver, no te he visto). I haven’t seen you in a long time. Long time no see (common phrase in spoken English).

    Although Hace mucho que no te he visto doesn’t sound right to me, I wouldn’t dare say it is not a grammatically correct sentence, . I wouldn’t use he visto here and I’m afraid I don’t have a good answer to your question —not right now. If I heard Hace mucho que no te he visto (te he visto en el pasado por última vez —aunque si es hace mucho, utilizo “vi”—, y ahora hablo del tiempo que hace de ello). I’d see no difference in meaning. Not so natural or smooth to me as the simple present (presente de indicativo).

    I must admit the pretérito compuesto sounded better to me after repeating this sentence to myself several times. And it seems that Chileno naturally uses it.

    2.- Hace mucho que no te escribo (desde la última vez que escribí, no te he escrito). I haven’t written to you in a long time.

    It’s correct and, again, this is the tense I’d use. In fact, I’d always use the presente de indicativo with Hace mucho que …,; I cannot think of a single sentence in which I wouldn’t.

    3.- Hace dos meses que estudio ruso. I have been studying Russian for two months.

    What I often say in this case is Llevo dos meses estudiando ruso. If I heard he estudiado, which I wouln’t use in this sentence, I’d understand you stopped doing it two months ago.

    Creo que el uso del presente de indicativo tiene sentido, por su carácter atemporal, con expresiones como estas, que ya indican la temporalidad. El presente y el pretérito compuesto pueden coincidir en algunas construcciones y contextos, pero en este tipo de frases de valor temporal, yo empleo el primero.

    Amenazo con un segundo capítulo. 😀 Me encantaría leer sobre el uso y la opinión de los demás. Buen día. Un cordial saludo.

  5. Gerardo 20/11/2017 en 14:31

    Just as a bit of background, I have seen published sentences such as these which brought up the doubt as to the usage. I assume that they were written by native speakers.

    Hace mucho que no he visto una propuesta tan ridícula y complicada. = I have not seen a proposal as ridiculous and complex as this one for a long time.

    Hace mucho que no he visto una obra tan original y completa sobre el sanatana-dharma en todos sus diferentes aspectos. = It has been a long while since I saw a work so original and complete about Sanatana-dharma in all its different aspects.

    Would anyone be comfortable replacing the “he visto” with “veo” here and keeping the same meaning and having it sound natural?

  6. monic 20/11/2017 en 15:00

    Hello Gerardo!

    No, they do not sound natural to me but my usage is similar to Blasita (good explanation, Blasi) because we come from regions which have usually the same usage. I hope you understand me. 🙁 I use the present simple in these phrases, Gerardo.

    Saludos cordiales

  7. Blasita
    Blasita 24/11/2017 en 13:28

    Buenas tardes:

    No suelo hacerlo, pero, como no se animaba nadie más en el Café y deseaba ayudar a que Gerardo tuviera más comentarios cuanto antes, abrí una conversación en el foro de español del Cervantes.

    Ya le había dado yo vueltas a la importancia e influencia del tipo de verbo que se emplee en esta construcción, y esto parece ser determinante a la hora de admitir el pretérito perfecto compuesto. En resumen, Gerardo, pensamos que en las dos primeras oraciones que nos propones no cabe el compuesto y que en la tercera no tiene sentido su uso y el significado no es nada claro. Recomiendo leer las respuestas que me han ofrecido.

    Un saludo.

    • Gerardo 24/11/2017 en 22:58

      Blasita–

      Many thanks for going above and beyond in finding an answer to my question!

      The comments are extremely interesting and I will certainly refer to this again and again.

      All the best.

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