Spanish time prepositions: Desde, por.

desde por spanish time prepositions

Expressing time periods is simple in almost any language. Several use prepositions together with time expressions to achieve this goal. Also, they generally just use one single word to express themselves in different ways. However, Spanish is a vocabulary with an extensive vocabulary and this is not the case. When speaking Spanish, two of the most valuable prepositions to talk about time are Desde and Por. Prepositions, by themselves, have no meaning but can help us denote many things depending on the word/group of words they go with.


As we mentioned, Desde and Por are two Spanish prepositions that will help you express time. These two are among the most used Spanish words by Spanish speakers. So, if you want to keep learning and keep getting better at speaking Spanish, you can’t miss having these in your vocabulary. They will help you communicate clearly and make out the most of your skills. Keep reading and learn how and when to use Desde and Por.


What are las preposiciones


Las preposiciones are invariable words that serve as connectors between sentences. They don’t need changes. It means that they have neither gender nor number. Its purpose is to introduce a term in a nominal group or a sentence. Prepositions are mandatory if you want to build correct and coherent sentences.


In Spanish, there are 23 common preposiciones that help Spanish speakers communicate well. These are a, ante, bajo, cabe, con, contra, de, desde, durante, en, entre, hacia, hasta, mediante, para, por, según, sin, so, sobre, tras, versus y vía.


Of course, those all are single-word prepositions, but there are prepositional phrases or locuciones preposicionales as we call them in Spanish. The locuciones prepositivas/preposicionales differ from las preposiciones because they have have more specific meanings.


Here are some examples.


Ellos fueron a la excursión, a pesar de los contratiempos. / They went on the excursion, despite the setbacks.


Dejaron la ropa fuera de la casa, pero después llovió. / They left the clothes outside the house, but then it rained.


Sofía fue de compras en compañía de sus amigas. / Sofia went shopping in the company of her friends.


Prepositions in Spanish do not usually have an exact meaning or equivalent between languages. So, it is advisable to learn them well.


How to use Desde


The Spanish word Desde is a preposition that indicates the origin of an action in the past that has continuity in the present. It can also indicate the point from which you have to start telling something. Depending on what we want to express in the sentence, desde has three variants with different structures.


First, we have the structure Desde + date/point in time.


We can use this formula to refer to specific days, months, years, or specific dates. For example,


Vivo en Venezuela desde el año 1999, prácticamente toda mi vida.

I have lived in Venezuela since 1999, practically my whole life.


Trabajo desde los lunes hasta los viernes, y así todas las semanas.

I work from Monday to Friday, and so every week.


Another useful structure with Desde is Desde hace + amount of time


In this formula, we have the preposition desde and the verb hacer in an impersonal way. Therefore, the phrase Desde hace will not change no matter what time expression you use after. Here are some examples.


Desde hace dos meses que no como mango, ya me está dando antojo de comer.

I haven’t eaten mango for two months, It’s already making me want to eat that.


Somos amigos desde hace más de 10 años, y ahora estamos casados.

We have been friends for more than 10 years, and now we are married.


Third, we have desde que + verb. You should conjugate the verb in the past tense when we talk about past events. Yet, it can help you talk about routines, and in that case, you should conjugate the verb using the present indicative tense. Let’s see a few examples.


Desde que hago ejercicio todas las mañanas, me siento más energética durante el día. / Since I exercise every morning, I feel more energetic during the day.


Desde que aprendí inglés tengo más oportunidades laborales. / Since I learned English I have more job opportunities.


Finally, you can also use desde to ask questions. In that case, the formula would be:


Desde cuándo + verb


For example,


¿Desde cuándo te estaré esperando? / Since when will I be waiting for you?


¿Desde cuándo estás viviendo en España? / Since when are you living in Spain?


How to use por (tiempo)

Por is a Spanish preposition that you can use for several purposes. Spanish speakers often use por to express cause or reason, speak of an indeterminate point, or express the passage through a place. Also, they use it to introduce a complement in a passive sentence.


When we use it together with a time expression, it helps us talk about duration and express time as well. it indicates an approximate time. You can use it to talk about the parts of the day, such as morning, afternoon, and night. Likewise, the formula Spanish speakers use to build sentences is the following:


Por + Time expression/part of the day (mañana, tarde, and noche. / morning, afternoon, and night)


Let’s see some examples


Me tome la pastilla por la mañana, así que me tocaría otra vez por la noche. / I take the pill in the morning, so I would take it again at night.


De todas maneras, por la tarde yo voy a ir a visitarla, así que me puedes dejar el encargo a mi. / Anyway, in the afternoon I’m going to visit her, so you can leave the order to me.


Por las noches suelo ver películas y series con mi esposo. / At night I usually watch movies and series with my husband.

Estuve esperando a David por 5 minutos. / I was waiting David for 5 minutes.


In conclusion, Por and Desde are prepositions that help us talk about a specific moment or time in our lives. Although, the only relationship that these have is that they are both prepositions since they do not have equal meanings. Keep in mind that desde can help us talk about routines but you must conjugate the verb properly. The best way to master how to use desde and por is by practicing and letting your skills build up day by day. Then, you should start practicing as soon as possible and let your Spanish improve at a rapid pace.










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