Wednesday, 24 October 2012

When Did You Do Your Homework?


This post deals with talking about the past in general, and saying when you did your homework in particular.


Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or colleague. You are talking about your Spanish homework. Hearing from you that you have completed your Spanish homework, the other person says: "when did you do your homework?"

In Spanish, the other person could choose to be less formal and say:
¿Cuándo hiciste los deberes?

Alternatively, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say:
¿Cuándo hizo (usted) los deberes?


The question is an invitation for you to say when you did your Spanish homework. When you say when you did something something, you DO NOT need to be concerned about the level of formality in the other person's question.

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Hice los deberes el lunes pasado (I did my homework last Monday)
  • Hice los deberes el lunes pasado por la noche (I did my homework last Monday evening)
  • Hice los deberes ayer (I did my homework yesterday)
  • Hice los deberes ayer por la tarde (I did my homework yesterday afternoon)
  • Hice los deberes anteayer (I did my homework the day before yesterday)
  • Hice los deberes anteayer por la mañana (I did my homework the day before yesterday in the morning)

Talking about the past
Please note that the all the examples above refer to past actions which were completed at a time which also belongs in the past. In other words, the periods of time in which the actions in the examples above were completed, i.e. last Monday/ yesterday/ the day before yesterday, are also in the past.

However, sometimes you may wish to talk about past actions which were completed at a time which in Spanish belongs in the present. In other words, the period of time in which the actions were completed is still ongoing. Examples of periods of time which in Spanish belong in the present are: today/ this week/ this month/ this year/ etc. In such cases, it is common to use an alternative form of referring to completed actions, as follows:
  • Hoy he hecho los deberes (today I have done my homework)
  • Esta semana he hecho los deberes (this week I have done my homework)
  • Este mes no he hecho los deberes (this month I have not done my homework)

Now you should practise answering the question:
¿Cuándo hiciste los deberes?

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