10.2 Other Verbs Used Like Hacer

Two other common verbs are also used non-systemically.

Acabar

Acabar (“to finish,” “to end”) is used in the present tense, followed by de + infinitive, and translates as “to have just done something”:

Acaban de firmar el tratado. They have just signed the treaty.

As with hace when combined with a present tense verb, the present tense equals present perfect meaning in the above example.

Just as we saw when hacía combines with a past tense verb, usually the imperfect, the imperfect tense of acabar equals past perfect meaning:

Acababan de firmar el tratado. They had just signed the treaty.

Llevar

The verb llevar plus duration of time often translates as a form of “to be” and when combined, as it often is, with a present participle, means “to have been doing (something)”:

Llevo cinco años en este pueblo deprimente. I have been (living) in this depressing town for five years.
Lleva veinte minutos tronando. It has been thundering for twenty minutes.

The first example above is merely another way of expressing Hace cinco años que vivo en este pueblo deprimente.

Likewise, llevar is used in the same circumstance but in the imperfect tense and translates as “had been” (past perfect tense) or, with the present participle, “had been doing” (something):

Su familia llevaba más de ciento quince años en este país. Her family had been (living) in this country for more than 115 years.

Desde = since

As is often the case in English, the mere inclusion of the word desde (“since”) in a sentence with a present tense verb normally renders the meaning to be present perfect. Likewise, when desde appears in a sentence in the imperfect tense, the meaning routinely shifts to past perfect tense.

Mi tío está aquí desde enero. My uncle has been here since January.
Trabajaban en esa fábrica desde junio. They had worked (had been working) in that factory since June.

Vocabulario básico

Verbos:

aumentar- to increase (cognate: augment)
fabricar- to manufacture (cognate: to fabricate)
invertir (ie)- to invest
lograr- to manage (to do something), to obtain, to achieve
montar- to put together, to assemble
realizar- to achieve, to carry out (false friend); to realize

Sustantivos:

las acciones- stock (stock market-false friend in this usage)
el ascenso- promotion, ascent
el asunto- matter, issue, question (not interrogative)
el aumento- increase (cognate: augmentation)
la bancarrota- bankruptcy
la Bolsa- stock market
la catarata- waterfall
el comercio- business, commerce
el corredor/ la corredora de bolsa- stockbroker
la cuestión- issue, question (not interrogative)
la empresa- company, business, enterprise, undertaking
la fábrica- factory
la ganancia- profit, gain, (pl.) earnings, winnings
la gerencia- management
el/la gerente/-a- manager
la huelga- strike
el negocio- company, business
la nuera- daughter-in-law
el/la obrero/-a- worker
la pérdida- loss
el préstamo- loan
el principio- beginning, principle
el salto- waterfall; jump
el sueldo- salary
el yerno- son-in-law

Adjetivos:

débil- weak (cognate: debility)
deprimente- depressing

Adverbios:

aún- still, yet
ni siquiera- not even

Expresiones:

ir a la bancarrota- to go bankrupt
en obras- under construction
montar una empresa- to start a company/ business
pedir prestado- to borrow*

*The past participle here functions as an adjective and agrees in number and gender with what was borrowed. Spanish has no one verb meaning “to borrow.”

Last revised on January 5, 2021.