‘Hacer’ is one of the most versatile verbs in Spanish. Spaniards use it in a wide range of expressions that we use daily. Although it is often said to mean “to make” or “to do”, in context it can refer to almost any activity as well as the act of becoming. ‘Hacer’ is almost always followed by a noun, except as a simple question (examples: “¿Qué haces, Pablo?” meaning “what are you doing, Pablo?/What are you making, Pablo?” or “¿Hace?” meaning “Will that do?”).
‘Hacer’ is highly irregular. Let’s see its conjugation:
- Yo hago
- Tú haces
- Él/Ella/Usted hace
- Nosotros hacemos
- Vosotrois hacéis
- Ellos/Ustedes hacen
Here are some of the most common uses of ‘hacer’:
1. To indicate the making or creation of something:
- Vamos a hacer una tarta de chocolate (We’re going to make a chocolate cake)
- Este árbol hace sombra (This tree provides shade)
- ¿Cuándo váis a hacer la maleta? (When are you packing?)
2. To refer to an activity in general. ‘Hacer’ also can replace a verb used earlier:
- Mis padres no hicieron nada el domingo (My parents didn’t do anything on Sunday)
- Cuando le conocí, mi marido comía mucho y yo hacía lo mismo (When I met my husband, he used to eat a lot and I did the same)
- Haz lo que digo, no lo que hago (Do what I say, not what I do)
3. To express weather terms – Typically, weather terms use a third-person singular form of ‘hacer’ followed by a noun:
- Hace frío (It’s cold)
- Hacía muchísimo calor en Sevilla (It was so hot in Seville)
- Hacía viento por todas partes (It was windy everywhere)
4. To show causation:
- Patricia me hace feliz (Patricia makes me happy)
- Eso me hizo sentir mal (That made me feel bad)
5. To indicate the length of time an action has been taking place:
Hace + time + que + present tense form of the verb
- Hace tres años que vivo en Barcelona (I have been living in Barcelona for three years)
- Hace dos años que no estudio español (I haven’t studied Spanish for two years)
Present tense form of the verb + desde hace + time
- Mis hermanas estudian chino desde hace cinco años (My sisters have been studying Chinese for five years)
- Álvaro no conduce desde hace nueve meses (Álvaro hasn’t driven for nine months)
6. To indicate the act of becoming: We use ‘hacerse’ (reflexive form of ‘hacer’) to indicate change:
- Me hice budista (I became a budist)
- Carlos y Paula se hicieron amigos (Carlos y Paula became friends)
7. In various impersonal expressions – ‘Hacer’ can become the equivalent of ‘to be’ in some cases:
- Hace un día espléndido (It’s a terrific day)
- Si hace falta, limpio la mesa (if it’s necessary, I’ll clean the table)
8. To indicate how something seems:
- El día se hacía muy largo (The day seemed very long)
- Las vacaciones se me hacen cortas (Holidays seem very short to me)
9. To indicate the taking of a role:
- Julia Roberts hizo el papel principal en ‘Pretty Woman’ (Julia Roberts had the starring role in Pretty Woman’).
- Mi hijo hacía el tonto a la perfección (My son played the perfect fool)
- Carla hizo como que no entendía nada (Carla acted as if she understood nothing)
Let’s do this exercise! Next Friday, we’ll post the solutions on Facebook.
Translate these sentences into Spanish:
- Let’s do something constructive.
- Make your homework.
- I haven’t gone to church for four years.
- Click here.
- What are you doing tomorrow?
- I would love you to come to the party
- I’ve been living in Madrid for ten years
- My sister plays a secondary role in the movie
- It’s very cold. Do you have a coat?
- Lorena and Miguel became veggies
If you are interested in learning more about ‘hacer’ and other useful Spanish verbs, ask us for a free trial class and we will make you happy (te haremos feliz) by showing you the benefits of this methodology: effective, convenient and affordable. Go ahead!