Thursday, 1 December 2011

Tell Me, You Have Been Able To Play Chess For How Long?

SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. Maybe you are talking about leisure activities in general. Perhaps you are talking about playing chess in particular. The other person knows you have been able to play chess for some time, but does not know how long and say to you: "tell me, you have been able to play chess for how long?"

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say:
Dime, ¿desde cuándo sabes jugar al ajedrez?


Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be a little bit more formal and say:
Dígame, ¿desde cuándo sabe (usted) jugar al ajedrez?
  


OUR TIP

You DO NOT need be concerned about the degree of formality in the question you are asked. Whether the other person uses the more/ less formal question is irrelevant to your choice of answer.

Your answer depends only on what you want to say about when you learned to play chess. There are a variety of ways to answer this question. Maybe you want to say that you have been able to play chess:
  • Ever since a given point in time (year/ month/ date/ time/ etc.)
  • Ever since a specific event
  • For a given period of time (in years/ months/ weeks/ days/ hours/ etc.)

Here are some examples which deal with those basic possibilities:
  • Desde el año dos mil uno (since 2001).
  • Desde enero (since January)
  • Desde marzo del año dos mil (since March 2000).
  • Desde el tres de junio del año dos mil (since June the 3rd, 2000).
  • Desde ayer (since yesterday).
  • Desde que me compré ese libro (since I bought that book).
  • Desde hace* dos años (for two years)(*).
  • Desde hace* una hora (for one hour)(*).
  • Desde hace* unos años (for some years)(*).
  • Desde hace* unas horas  (for some hours)(*).
Notes


*NB You can express the period of time in other units, such as months/ days/ minutes/ etc. simply by using 'meses'/ 'días'/ 'minutos'/ etc. instead.





Now you should practice answering the question:
Dime, ¿desde cuándo sabes jugar al ajedrez?


*Please see grammar below


Grammar-"HACE"
In Spanish the impersonal 'hace' is often used to indicate elapsed time/ gone by. In this context, the use of  'hace' is often similar to the use of "ago" in English.

There are however some uses of 'hace' which are not quite the same as the use of "ago" in English.

In Spanish we use 'hace' in the following situations:

1.- To indicate something which happened a specific period of time ago. This is a normal translation of the English idea of "ago". An example of this use could be:
  • Llegué hace dos horas (I arrived two hours ago).


2.- 
To indicate something which happened an unspecified period of time ago. Again, this is a normal translation of the English idea of "ago". A couple of examples of this use could be:
  • Llegué hace horas (I arrived hours ago).
  • Llegué hace varias horas (I arrived several hours ago).


3.- 
 Used along with desde to indicate an ongoing action which started a specific period of time ago. A couple of examples of this use could be: 
  • Estudio español desde hace dos años (I have been studying Spanish for two years/ I started doing it two years ago)*.


4.- 
 Used along with desde to indicate an ongoing action, which started a unspecified period of time ago. A couple of examples of this use could be: 
  • Estudio español desde hace años (I have been studying Spanish for years/ I started doing it years ago)*.
  • Estudio español desde hace varios años (I have been studying Spanish for several years/ I started doing it several years ago)*.
Notes


*NB Please remember to use the Spanish expression 'desde hace' to indicate periods of time of this type.





Now you should practise the use of hacer to indicate elapsed time with some examples of your own.

Spanish lessons online
Skype/ Google+ Hangout/ Facetime
Great lessons
Book now
© Copyright 2011 Love-Spanish.com by Jose M González. All Rights Reserved.
Post a Comment