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The Preposition hasta in Spanish

Although the most common English translation for the Spanish preposition hasta is "until," like most Spanish prepositions, its meaning can vary in different contexts. Today's lesson will explore the four main definitions of the Spanish word hasta provided by Royal Spanish Academy as well as its various English translations.

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1. A Final Limit in Space or Time

According to the first definition, the Spanish preposition hasta can denote "a final limit in a trajectory of space or time." Possible translations for this use of hasta include "until," "up until," "up to," and "to." Let's take a look at this use via several subcategories.

 

Time

The preposition hasta in Spanish can mean "up to" a certain point in time. Let's see some examples:

 

Eh... Trabajo hasta las dos 

Um... I work until two,

Caption 47, Cleer y Lida Juego de preguntas y respuestas - Part 2

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Hasta el momento, ella ha probado zanahoria, brócoli y papa.

Up until now, she has tried carrots, broccoli, and potatoes.

Captions 37-38, Ana Carolina Ejercicio de adverbios de tiempo

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Like the word "until" in English, when used in situations in the past, this takes on the meaning of "before" and sometimes has a slightly negative connotation:
 
 
No llegaron hasta el final de la fiesta.
They didn't arrive until the end of the party.  
 

Location

When used to talk about location, hasta means "up to that point" and might be translated with "up to" or simply "to":

 

Hay dos formas de llegar hasta Pasai Donibane: por mar o por tierra.

There are two ways to get to Pasai Donibane: by sea or by land.

Captions 29-30, Viajando con Fermín Pasajes (Pasaia) - Part 2

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Aquí lo que tenemos que hacer es meter un hisopo, pues hasta su buche.

Here what we have to do is to place a Q-tip, well up to his throat.

Captions 53-54, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Microchip para Nacahué - Part 1

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Situation

The Spanish word hasta is often used along with que to form an adverbial phrase that means "until" (such moment as something else happens). Note that when the verb that follows hasta que refers to a habitual action or past event, it will be conjugated in an indicative tense. Let's see an example:

 

y lo tuvo con ella hasta que llegó la primavera.

and she had him with her until spring came.

Caption 41, Cleer El patito feo

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On the other hand, when the subordinate clause following hasta que refers to a potential future event or is a command, the verb that follows will be in the subjunctive

 

y tenemos que dejar que poche hasta que se quede bien blandita. 

and we have to let it saute until it gets very soft.

Caption 41, La cocina de María Tortilla de patatas

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For several more examples, check out Yabla's lesson on hasta que and hasta que no, which function similarly. 

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2. A Numerical Limit

According to definition two, the Spanish preposition hasta can also describe a maximum quantity. Let's view a couple of examples:

 

En el mes me puedo gastar hasta doscientos euros...

During the month I can spend up to two hundred euros...

Caption 69, 75 minutos Gangas para ricos - Part 15

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Pesan hasta siete kilos, ocho kilos los machos adultos.

They weigh up to seven kilograms, eight kilos for adult males.

Caption 95, Animales en familia Un día en Bioparc: Coatís

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3. Hasta Meaning "Not Before"

This third and less common use of the Spanish preposition hasta to mean "not before" is primarily heard in Mexico and Central America. Let's take a look:

 

Terminará hasta mediodía.

He won't finish before noon. 

 

4. Emphasis or Disbelief 

In the fourth definition, the Spanish word hasta instead functions as an adverb to add emphasis or a feeling of surprise or disbelief, much like the English word "even":

 

¿Hamburguesas de aguacate? -Sí... Hasta miel de aguacate.

Avocado burgers? -Yes... Even avocado honey.

Captions 44-45, 75 minutos Del campo a la mesa - Part 1

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Hasta se cree la mega estrella.

She even thinks she's the megastar.

Caption 54, X6 1 - La banda - Part 1

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Idiomatic Expressions with hasta

Now that we know four different ways to use the Spanish word hasta, let's take a look at some of the many idiomatic expressions in which it appears, including at least five different ways to say goodbye in Spanish:

 

hasta luego: see you later

hasta pronto: see you soon

hasta la próxima: see you next time

hasta mañana: see you tomorrow

hasta la vista: until we meet again

 

A host of additional expressions with estar hasta mean "to be fed up":

 

estar hasta las narices (literally "to be up to one's noses")

estar hasta la gorra (literally "to be up to one's hat")

estar hasta arriba ("to have had it up to here")

estar hasta la coronilla (literally "to be up to one's crown")

 

Let's see this last one in context:

 

Muy bien, estaba hasta la coronilla.

Just great, I was fed up.

Caption 16, Los Años Maravillosos Capítulo 6 - Part 4

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Meanwhile, estar hasta el cuello (literally "to be up to one's neck") is equivalent to the English "to be up to one's eyeballs," or overwhelmed, while estar hasta en la sopa ("to be even in the soup") describes something or someone that seems omnipresent. And finally, let's look at a Spanish expression with hasta that can mean "that's all" or "that's it":

 

hasta aquí el vídeo de hoy.

that's all for today's video.

Caption 68, Aprendiendo con Silvia Recuerdos de infancia - Part 1

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On that note, we hope that this lesson has helped you to understand the different uses of the Spanish word hasta and some idioms that include it. Can you think of any more? We invite you to let us know with your suggestions and comments¡Hasta pronto!

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