Spanish time adverbials: Ayer, antier, mañana, pasado mañana

spanish time adverbials ayer manana

The Spanish words ayer, antier, mañana, and pasado mañana help people differentiate the days of the week. These are one of the most basic words when learning Spanish. Therefore, these words also help you express on what day you did, do, or will do something. Sometimes, they help Spanish speakers to express how much time has passed or will be missing for a said action or circumstance to happen. They have become pretty important for most Spanish students because they are pretty used by native speakers. As a result, learning how to use them is essential. In this article, we will show you how to use ayer, antier, mañana, and pasado mañana without any issues.


Differences between mañana and pasado mañana


The word mañana can act as a feminine noun or as an adverb of time. Mañana refers to the part of the day from sunrise to noon. Likewise, Spanish-speaking people use pasado mañana to state the day after tomorrow. Let’s see a few examples below.


Por la mañana fui a visitar a mi hermana, estaba contenta por haberme visto.

In the morning I went to visit my sister, she was happy to have seen me.


Al final voy a ir al doctor pasado mañana, iba a ir mañana pero no tenían cita, entonces tuve que modificarla.

I’m finally going to the doctor the day after tomorrow. I was going to go tomorrow but they didn’t have an appointment, so I had to change it.


La mañana pasó volando no? / The morning flew by, didn’t it?


Me dijo que me entregaría el dinero pasado mañana, así que tenemos que esperar.

He told me he would give me the money the day after tomorrow, so we have to wait.


On the flip side, you can also use the word mañana as tomorrow or in reference to the future. For example,


¿Mamá, puedo ir a casa de Sofía? Es que tenemos que hacer un proyecto de ciencias para mañana.

Mom, can I go to Sofia’s house? It’s just that we have to do a science project for tomorrow.


Uno nunca sabe qué puede pasar el día de mañana.

You never know what may happen tomorrow.


How to use ayer


The word ayer is an adverb meaning the day immediately preceding “today”. You can also use ayer as a noun, referring to the past or something that has happened in the past. Often, it can refer to the past tense of a circumstance or situation. The translation of ayer in English is yesterday. Here are some examples,


Creo que ayer hubo un malentendido entre nosotros, ¿será que puedo verte hoy para que lo podamos aclarar?

I think yesterday there was a misunderstanding between us. Could it be that I can see you today so that we can clear it up?


Ayer mi hermana y yo fuimos a ver la nueva película de Tom Cruise en el cine, estuvo increíble.

Yesterday my sister and I went to see the new Tom Cruise movie at the cinema, it was incredible.


Ayer fue Viernes.

Yesterday was Friday.


You can use ayer as past in general. The word ayer can refer to a more distant or indefinite past. Talking about ayer allows you to mention past tense in its broadest sense. For example,


Mi psicóloga me dijo que no debo vivir en el ayer ya que tengo que ocuparme del presente.

My psychologist told me that I should not live yesterday since I have to deal with the present.


Las costumbres de ayer nos suelen resultar extrañas en la actualidad.

The customs of yesterday often seem strange to us today.


Another way you can use ayer is for everyday expressions. For example,


¡Pareciera que hubieses nacido ayer! /

It seems that you were born yesterday!


¡Oye, yo no nací ayer! Yo sé lo que hago.

Hey, I wasn’t born yesterday! I know what I am doing.


Spanish speakers use these expressions as a kind of insult towards a person who has little knowledge about logical things in life.


What is the meaning of antier?


There are many ways to say and write “antier”. First, there’s antier. But, in some countries people say anteayer or antes de ayer. These all are adverbs that mean the same thing, the day before yesterday or two days before today. Anteayer and antier are the variants that Latin American people use the most because of how short they are.You can compose the word anteayer with the prefix -ante and the noun ayer. For example,


Vinieron a dejar la mercancía anteayer.

They came to drop off the merchandise the day before yesterday.


Anteayer me encontré con Luis en el centro comercial, me contó que él y su familia estaban de maravilla.

The day before yesterday I met Luis at the mall, he told me that he and his family were wonderful.


The word “antier” is common in Mexico as well as Central American and Caribbean countries. Though, in Spain, they consider it a rural and popular variant. Let’s see a few more examples.


¡Debiste haber sacado la basura antier cuando te dije, ahora todo el cuarto huele mal!

You should have taken out the garbage the day before yesterday when I told you, now the whole room smells bad!


Antier estuvo por acá Lucía, me estaba contando de su viaje por Europa.

The day before yesterday Lucia was here, she was telling me about her trip to Europe.


Me saqué las cordales antier, fue muy doloroso.

I took my wisdom teeth out the day before yesterday, it was very painful.


The phrase antes de ayer is a valid variant but it’s more popular in formal conversations or environments. For example,


No nos había avisado nadie hasta antes de ayer que nos enteramos.

No one had warned us until the day before yesterday that we found out.


Generally speaking, the words ayer, antier, mañana, and pasado mañana help you to express time in terms of days. As you have seen, they are quite easy to use and you’ll face no struggle if you want to add them to your daily vocabulary. Even though almost all of these words are adverbs, some can work as nouns or phrases. To use them properly, you just have to pay attention to what day or moment it was, and start expressing yourself!

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