Posted by: janecronin | August 13, 2017


This week we’re going to look at a somewhat troublesome character, the verb “hacer”.  This means “to do” or “to make” which is rather fundamental.  Sometimes people ask me why there are so many irregular verbs in Spanish.  The answer is that relatively speaking, there aren´t actually very many irregular verbs, it’s just they tend to be the most common ones.  The reason for this is that the more a word is used in a language the more likely it is to suffer alterations.  Just think of “go” and its past tense “went” if you want an example in English of an extremely common, but oddly irregular, verb!

So, amongst its charms, “hacer” can change to “hago” (I do), “hice” (I did), “hecho” (done) and “hare” (I will do).  All of these have to be assimilated gradually as our knowledge of grammar expands.  For most of us there’s not a lot of point memorising all of these changes and chanting them like Latin.  I sometimes say to students, wouldn´t it be nice if you could walk into a shop and just say “hago, haces, hace, hacemos, hacéis, hacen” rather than actually use each word in some sort of meaningful sentence.

One of the other problems with this verb, especially in its infinitive form “hacer”, is that it’s quite hard to pick up in a sentence.  If we hear someone saying, for example: “va a hacer …” (he is going to do …) the first half of the verb is likely to disappear along with the “va a …” since the “h” is silent and we are left with a string of three letter “a”s.  Before we know it we are just hearing the ending “-cer” (pronounced “theer”) which is hard for us to associate immediately with the verb “hacer”.  That’s just something we have to get used to.  The most obvious way of identifying the verb is to match it with what comes next – “hacer los deberes” (do the homework);  “hacer la cama” (make the bed); “hacer una cita” (make an appointment); “hacer un pedido” (make an order) “hacer falta” (to miss or need).  Of course there are many other uses of “hacer” but we have to start somewhere.

If somebody screams at you “¿Qué has hecho?” (What have you done?) you might want to  cover your tracks, but the question “¿Qué vas a hacer?” (What are you going to do?) will require a more thoughtful answer.  The past participle of this verb, “hecho” (done), can also work as an adjective as in “bien hecho” (well done) and as a noun meaning “fact”.  The phrase “de hecho” means “in fact”.

If we add the prefix “des” to “hacer” we get “deshacer” (to undo).  Therefore “deshecho” means “undone” which can describe a person who is distraught and “in bits”.  Likewise, we can add the prefix “re” to make “rehacer” (to redo).

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