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Translating 'Since'

Time and Causation Interpreted Differently


The English word "since" has several meanings and can function as at least three parts of speech — adverb, conjunction and preposition, and they can't all be translated to Spanish the same way. Following are some of the most common ways of translating "since"; this is not a complete list, although usually one of these can be used in most situations.

"Since" meaning from a certain time forward: When using a date or time, the preposition desde can usually be used:

  • Nueve periodistas españoles han muerto en conflictos desde 1980. Nine Spanish journalists have died in conflicts since 1980.
  • Desde hace una hora ya no tengo trabajo. I have been without work since an hour ago.
  • Están en huelga desde la semana pasada. They have been on strike since last week.
  • Mi madre desde entonces no es lo que era. My mother since then isn't what she used to be.

Note that as in the examples above, the present tense of the verb is used even though the action began in the past.

When "since" is used by itself as an adverb, it usually is the equivalent of "since then," so desde entonces can be used: No ha llovido desde entonces. It hasn't rained since.

Desde que can be used in constructions such as the following:

  • Parece que pasaron 15 minutos y no 15 años desde que nos fuimos. It seems like 15 minutes have passed and not 15 years since we went away.
  • Desde que trabajé aquí, he tenido muchas oportunidades. Since I started working here, I have had many opportunities.
  • Desde que te vi no puedo dejar de pensar en ti. Since I saw you I can't stop thinking about you.

"Since" as introducing a reason: When "since" is used to explain why something is being done or occurring, you often can use one or more of the words or phrases of causation. Other words or phrases can be used in addition to those below:

  • Como porque tengo hambre. I am eating since I am hungry.
  • Como Henry tenía miedo a volar, rehusó ir a Londres. Since Henry was afraid to fly, he refused to go to London.
  • Dado que soy celíaco ¿qué alimentos puedo injerir? Since I have celiac disease, what foods can I eat?
  • No importa, ya que es sólo un sueño. It doesn't matter, since it's only a dream.

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