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Hoy, mañana, ayer

Let’s learn some adverbs related to time, including the words for “today”, “tomorrow”, “yesterday”, and “still”.

Full Podcast Episode


Lo haremos hoy.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to learn several new adverbs to talk about time, including the words for “today”, “tomorrow”, “later”, and “before”.

Let’s start with some really simple ones: The word for “today” is hoy, spelled h-o-y, and the word for “yesterday” is ayer, spelled a-y-e-r. For example:

I didn’t do it yesterday; I’ll do it today.

No lo hice ayer; lo haré hoy.

The word for “tomorrow” is mañana, which is identical to our word for “morning”. That may seem confusing, but it’s pretty easy to tell what is meant from context most of the time. For example:

Tomorrow he’ll do what he didn’t do this morning.

Mañana hará lo que no hizo esta mañana.

Let’s practice these words.

Tell him I want to have it today.

Dile que lo quiero tener hoy.

She was telling him that yesterday.

Le decía eso ayer.

Tomorrow will be better than today.

Mañana será mejor que hoy.

I’ve told you that I won’t go tomorrow.

Te he dicho que no iré mañana.

The word for “meanwhile” is mientras, spelled m-i-e-n-t-r-a-s. Mientras. Here’s an example:

I’ll do it tomorrow. Meanwhile, you can do it.

Lo haré mañana. Mientras, tú puedes hacerlo.

Next we have the word entonces, which roughly means “then”. For example:

I was very happy then.

Estaba muy feliz entonces.

Now of course, we learned this as a noun to refer to a time in the past, as in en ese entonces to mean “at that time” or “back then”. But it’s also used as an adverb in this way.

And actually, the word entonces as an adverb doesn’t just refer to time — it can also be used in logical statements. For example:

If you didn’t do it, then who did it?

Si tú no lo hiciste, entonces ¿quién lo hizo?

So just like the English word “then” doesn’t just refer to time, but also to logic in if-then situations, the word entonces can mean “then” in a logical way.

Let’s practice mientras and entonces.

I was with him while he was doing that.

Estaba con él mientras hacía eso.

If she wasn’t happy, then did she leave?

Si no estaba feliz, ¿entonces se fue?

I’ve told you I don’t like talking while we watch tv.

Te he dicho que no I like talking mientras we watch TV.

Te he dicho que no me gusta hablar mientras vemos tv.

If you want to be honest, then tell the truth.

Si quieres ser honest, entonces di la verdad.

Si quieres ser honesto, entonces di la verdad.

Now let’s learn how to say “still” in Spanish, as in “are they still doing it?” There are actually two words for this. The first one is aún, spelled a-u-n, with an accent mark on the U. For example:

No, I still have the same house.

No, aún tengo la misma casa.

But there’s another word that means basically the exact same thing: The word todavía, spelled t-o-d-a-v-i-a, with an accent mark on the I. For example:

Are you still doing that?

¿Todavía estás haciendo eso?

And not only do these two words, aún and todavía, both mean “still”, they can also both mean “yet” in some situations. And that’s because in English, the word “yet” basically means “still” in many cases. Check out this example:

We haven’t done that yet.

No hemos hecho eso todavía.

So in English, we could have said “still” instead of “yet”: “We still haven’t done that.” Whenever “yet” could be translated as “still”, we’ll use aún or todavía in Spanish.

This can easily lead to some difficulties in our quizzing, because how are you supposed to know whether to translate “still” or “yet” as aún versus todavía? Well, for now, we’ll make it predictable for you: We’ll use aún as our translation for “yet” and todavía for “still”. Again, this is completely arbitrary because in reality either one can be translated either way. But let’s go ahead and practice translating aún as “yet” and todavía as “still”.

We still haven’t gone.

Todavía no hemos ido.

She still doesn’t have it.

Todavía no lo tiene.

He was telling me that he hasn’t had it yet.

Me decía que aún no lo ha tenido.

She wants me to tell her that I haven’t gone yet.

Quiere que le diga que no he ido aún.

The rest of today’s adverbs are pretty tricky, but very important if you ever want to communicate in a way that’s very specific about timing. We’re going to learn four adverbs that all have to do with the idea of “before” or “after”. And Spanish actually has several different adverbs associated with these concepts, all of which require some special nuance to use.

Let’s begin with the word antes, which literally means “beforehand”. Check out this sentence example:

Yes, we’ll do it, but beforehand, we’ll do another thing.

Sí, lo haremos, pero antes haremos otra cosa.

In English, we rarely use the word “beforehand”; we more often say “first”. Spanish actually has another word for “first”, which we’ll learn later. But it’s actually not used all that often; it’s used specifically in cases where what you’re describing is something that happens first of all, before anything else. Again we’ll learn that word later. In English, though, we often use the word “first” when what we really mean is “beforehand”. Check out this example.

We can go to your house today, but we have to go to my house first.

Podemos ir a tu casa hoy, pero tenemos que ir a mi casa antes.

In this case, when we say “first”, we don’t mean it has to be the first thing we do; we’re just saying that my house has to come before your house. We might even be going to a bunch of places before my house; I’m just using the word antes to indicate that the order of operations puts my house before your house.

Speaking of “before”, the word antes can be used to indicate the concept of before, but it has to be used in a specific way. Check out this example:

We have to go to my house before that.

Tenemos que ir a mi casa antes de eso.

So to say “before”, you use antes de, and then a noun of some type. Here’s another example:

I’ll go to my house before going to your house.

Iré a mi casa antes de ir a tu casa.

Here’s a more complex example.

I’ll do it before he does it.

Lo haré antes de que él lo haga.

In this sentence, I’ll do something before an entire fact, the sentence “he does it”. We have to use a que phrase in this situation, because antes de needs to be before a noun of some type, and a que phrase works for that. So the English simply uses “before”, but the Spanish uses antes de or antes de que.

And then after the que, we’re using the subjunctive, because we’re using the second half of the sentence to describe something in the future. This works just like cuando and hasta que. Here’s one more example, and see if you can predict the Spanish:

We won’t do it before I have a house.

No lo haremos antes de que yo tenga una casa.

Let’s use some more sentences to practice translating “beforehand”, “first”, and “before” into Spanish.

I was here beforehand.

Estuve aquí antes.

I have to tell him it before that time.

Se lo tengo que decir antes de esa hora.

In this next one, you’ll use a past-tense subjunctive in the second half of the sentence.

I was there before she did it.

Estuve ahí antes de que ella lo hiciera.

We’ll go, but first she’ll tell you what to do.

Iremos, pero antes ella te dirá qué hacer.

I’m going to be there before they throw the party.

Voy a estar ahí antes de que hagan la fiesta.

The opposite of antes is después, spelled d-e-s-p-u-e-s, with an accent mark on the E. Después. By itself, it means “afterwards”. Here’s a simple example:

Afterwards she was fine.

Después, estuvo bien.

So just like antes, by itself, means “beforehand”, después, by itself, means “afterwards”. But we can also use this as the word for “after”. To turn antes into “before”, we used antes de. To turn después into “after”, we’ll use después de. Here’s an example:

We’ll do it after that day.

Lo haremos después de ese día.

And then if you want to describe something that happens after an entire fact, you have to use después de que. For example:

I’ll do it after he is here.

Lo haré después de que él esté aquí.

Let’s practice this.

You have to tell me if he’ll be there afterwards.

Tienes que decirme si estará ahí después.

She did it after I did it.

Lo hizo después de que yo lo hice.

I tell you that that was after the party.

Te digo que eso fue después de la fiesta.

He’ll do it after everyone leaves.

Lo hará después de que todos se vayan.

Now let’s learn a couple more words that describe something that happens at a later time. The word tarde means “late”. For example:

We did it a little bit late.

Lo hicimos un poco tarde.

Now of course we’ve already learned that tarde is also a noun meaning “afternoon”, but this meaning as an adverb has nothing to do with the afternoon; it’s better to think of this word for “late” as a completely different word.

Now what if instead of saying “late”, you wanted to say “later”? There are actually multiple ways to do this in Spanish. One way is simply to say más tarde. For example:

He’ll be here later than me.

Estará aquí más tarde que yo.

But there’s actually a word that means “later” all by itself, the word luego. So here’s another example:

He’ll be here later.

Estará aquí luego.

You can’t use luego to say “later than” someone else, in the same way that you can use más tarde que. Instead, luego tends to be used by itself, to mean “later” as a general, vague concept. Another way this is used is as a parting greeting in some regions:

Until later!

¡Hasta luego!

OK, so both más tarde and luego can mean “later”, but más tarde can be used in more specific situations, such as “later than” something else. In English, when we’re comparing the times that things happen, we sometimes say “later than”, but to pinpoint things even more specifically, we often say “after” or “afterwards”, which in Spanish uses después.

To help keep all of these straight, let’s practice our various uses of tarde, después, and luego.

We want to do it later.

Queremos hacerlo luego.

The party starts later than the concert.

La fiesta starts más tarde que the concert.

La fiesta comienza más tarde que el concierto.

She wants you not to tell her that after tomorrow.

Quiere que no le digas eso después de mañana.

Now it’s a little bit late.

Ahora es un poco tarde.

She was here after everyone had left.

Estuvo aquí después de que todos se habían ido.

We’ll do it later.

Lo haremos luego.

We don’t have to go afterwards.

No tenemos que ir después.

Are you saying that we can go after they do that?

¿Dices que podemos ir después de que hagan eso?

I want her to tell him the truth later.

Quiero que le diga la verdad luego.

Remember that you can get more practice with any of this at LCSPodcast.com/83. Or if you’re ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz.

This first example uses the word entonces to mean “so” instead of “then”. In such cases it means almost the exact same thing as así que. Try to predict the Spanish.

She wants us to tell it to him, so we’ll do it tomorrow.

Quiere que se lo digamos, entonces lo haremos mañana.

Tell him to go after the party.

Dile que vaya después de la fiesta.

Tell me if you want to do it while I do it.

Dime si quieres hacerlo mientras yo lo hago.

They told us they still didn’t have it.

Nos dijeron que todavía no lo tenían.

That’s what I was saying afterwards.

Eso es lo que yo decía después.

You told him to do it here beforehand.

Le dijiste que lo hiciera aquí antes.

She doesn’t want her kids to say what she said.

No quiere que sus hijos digan lo que ella dijo.

They are saying that we told them to go.

Dicen que les dijimos que fueran.

I’m going to tell her to go later.

Voy a decirle que vaya luego.

I’m not sure(m) she is telling the truth.

No estoy seguro de que diga la verdad.

We always tell the truth, so we’ll say it(f) before that day.

Siempre decimos la verdad, entonces la diremos antes de ese día.

Yesterday he was here for three hours; that's why it was late when we left.

Ayer estuvo aquí tres horas, por eso era tarde cuando nos fuimos.

Are you saying that we can go today?

¿Dices que podemos ir hoy?

I have to tell you not to say anything.

Tengo que decirte que no digas nada.

I told you that that’s what she says.

Te dije que eso es lo que ella dice.

I won’t say anything yet.

No diré nada aún.

I’m not telling you that.

No te estoy diciendo eso.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/83.

In tomorrow’s episode, we’ll learn some important abstract nouns, including the words for “question”, “opportunity”, and “help”.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Michael Agudelo. Our music was performed by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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