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Since

In expressions of time

As a preposition

Since when used as a preposition is usually translated by desde:

 

  •  since the war/1994 = desde la guerra/1994

 

▪ Where the sentence contains the idea of continuous action up to the present, the tenses used in Spanish often differ from those used in English

Where English uses the present perfect tense, Spanish uses the present tense:

 

  •  I’ve been here since March = estoy aquí desde marzo

  •  I’ve been waiting since 3 o’clock = estoy esperando desde las 3

 

In some contexts Spanish uses the present perfect tense:

 

  •  he has been working since 6 a.m. = ha estado trabajando desde las seis de la mañana

 

Where English uses the pluperfect tense, Spanish also uses the pluperfect:

 

  •  I had been waiting since 3 o’clock = había estado esperando desde las 3

  •  we had been living there since 1983 = habíamos vivido allí desde 1983

 

▪ In negative sentences, the tenses used in Spanish are usually the same as in English:

 

  •  I haven’t seen him since Friday = no lo he visto desde el viernes

 

▪ Where there is no idea of continuous action up to the present, but of actions within a time scale to the present, the tenses in Spanish are also the same as in English:

 

  •  she has only competed three times since 2002 = sólo ha competido tres veces desde 2002

  •  we had been there twice since Christmas = habíamos estado allí dos veces desde Navidad

 

▪ If the sentence in Spanish begins with desde, then the verb patterns do not coincide in any circumstances. Que is also added later in the sentence:

 

  •  I’ve been here since March = desde marzo que estoy aquí

  •  I’ve been waiting since 3 o’clock = desde las tres que estoy esperando

 

As a conjunction

When since is used as a conjunction in expressions of time, it is usually translated by desde que. The tenses used in Spanish are the same as those used with the preposition:

 

  •  he has lived alone since he got divorced = vive solo desde que se divorció

 

or desde que se divorció que vive solo

▪ In formal or literary language, the past tense following desde que is often replaced by the imperfect subjunctive:

 

  •  since she arrived in this country = desde que llegara a este país

 

▪ In negative sentences the tense pattern is sometimes the same as in English:

 

  •  I haven’t seen her since she moved = no la he visto desde que se mudó or no la veo desde que se mudó or desde que se mudó que no la veo

 

▪ Note also the use of (desde) hace…que + no:

 

  •  it’s ages since I saw him = (desde) hace mucho tiempo que no lo veo

  •  it was years since the whole family got together = hacía años que no se reunía toda la familia

 

▪ Where possible, Spanish prefers to use the preposition desde + noun to translate since + verb:

 

  •  since his wife died = desde la muerte de su esposa

  •  since I was a child = desde niño

  •  since she arrived = desde su llegada

 

As an adverb

When since as an adverb means from then until now, it is usually translated by desde entonces:

 

  •  he hasn’t been seen since = no se lo ha visto desde entonces or desde entonces que no se lo ve

 

For more examples and particular usages see the entries for since

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