Spanish Lessons


A Useful Verb: Hacer

The Spanish verb hacer primarily means "to do" or "to make." This verb is used in a wide range of expressions, which makes it one of the most versatile verbs in Spanish. However, and maybe for the same reason, the meanings and uses of hacer are not always easy to grasp. The fact that this is an irregular verb doesn't make it any easier either. So, to successfully master the verb hacer, the first step would be to memorize its conjugation (the past tense is especially challenging). After that, we recommend that you study it using a case-by-case approach. Luckily, the use of hacer is extremely common, so our catalog of videos offers you plenty of examples. 


Let's quickly review the two basic meanings of the word hacer. The first meaning is "to make":

Vamos a hacer un arroz.

We're going to make rice.

Caption 74, 75 minutos - Del campo a la mesa

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The second basic meaning of hacer is "to do":

¿Y ahora qué hacemos?

And now what do we do?

Caption 12, Guillermina y Candelario - Una película de terror

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Keep in mind that these meanings of the verb hacer as "to do" or "to make" can be used in many different situations that don't necessarily correspond to the uses of "to make" and "to do" in English. For example, in Spanish you can use the verb hacer to say quiero hacer una llamada (I want to make a call), and hazme un favor (do me a favor). But you can also use it in expressions like me haces daño (you hurt me), and ella hizo una pregunta (she asked a question). Here's another example:

Tú me hiciste brujería.

You put a spell on me.

Caption 38, Calle 13 - Un Beso De Desayuno

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Hacer is also extensively used in Spanish to express time or duration. It can be used to express for how long you have been doing something:

Tengo veinte años y estoy hace dos años acá en Buenos Aires.

I'm twenty years old and I've been here in Buenos Aires for two years.

Caption 40, Buenos Aires - Heladería Cumelen

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Or to express the concept of "ago":

Hace unos días me olvidé la mochila en el tren.

A few days ago I forgot my backpack on the train.

Caption 22, Raquel - Oficina de objetos perdidos

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Hacer is also used in weather expressions:

Hoy hace tanto viento que casi me deja caer.

Today it is so windy that it almost makes me fall [over].

Caption 22, Clara explica - El tiempo

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And other impersonal expressions, such as hacer falta (to need/be lacking):

Se puede poner entero, no hace falta quitar corteza.

It can be put in whole; it's not necessary to remove the crust.

Caption 84, Cómetelo - Crema de brócoli

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To indicate taking on a role:

Siempre quieres que haga el papel de villana.
You always want me to play the role of the villain.

Or to indicate that someone is pretending to be something: 

Digo si pasa algo con mi hijo, no te hagas la ingenua.

I'm saying if something is happening with my son, don't play dumb.

Caption 13, Muñeca Brava - 44 El encuentro - Part 5

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The reflexive form hacerse is commonly used in this way in many expressions such as hacerse el loco (to pretend to be crazy), hacerse la mosquita muerta (to look as if butter wouldn't melt in one's mouth, literally "to pretend to be a dead fly"), hacerse el muerto (to play dead), etc. Here is another example:

Mira, no te hagas la viva.

Look, don't play smart.

Caption 3, Yago - 3 La foto

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Hacer can also express the idea of getting used to something:

No hacerme a la idea de que esto está bien

Not to get used to the idea that this is OK

Caption 32, Xóchitl - Vida en Monterrey

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Hacer is also used to express that something doesn't matter in expressions such as no le hace (it doesn't matter), or no hace al caso (it doesn't pertain to the matter). Or it can mean "to refer to": Por lo que hace al dinero, tú no te preocupes (Concerning money, you don't worry). The list of its possible uses goes on and on! Let's see one last use of hacer, which was sent to us by one of our subscribers:

The expression hacer caso means "to pay attention," "to obey," or "to believe":


Nada, hay que hacerle caso al médico.

No way, you have to pay attention to the doctor.

Caption 63, Yago - 8 Descubrimiento

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Hazme caso que tú eres perfecta.

Believe me that you are perfect.

Caption 58, Biografía - Enrique Iglesias

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Pero yo siempre, siempre, siempre le hago caso a Sor Cachete.

But I always, always, always, do as Sister Cachete says.

Caption 35, Muñeca Brava - 44 El encuentro - Part 2

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Thank you for reading and sending your suggestions.



Soler is an auxiliary verb, so you will always see it combined with another verb. It's used to indicate that an action is done on a regular basis. The only equivalent expression in English is "used to," which can only refer to the past tense, while the Spanish soler can be conjugated in several tenses. Of course, just as in English, Spanish has many adverbs that can be used to convey the same idea: usualmente ("usually"), regularmente ("regularly"), habitualmente ("habitually")and so on, but the use of soler is much more common in casual conversation.


When using soler you must remember to always use proper syntax: you have to conjugate soler (the auxiliary verb) and then add the infinitive form of the main verb. English has a similar construction in the past tense (used + infinitive). Let's see some examples right away. And remember: if you see them highlighted in blue and you have an active subscription to Yabla Spanish, you can click on the link to watch the video containing the caption.


Después, suelo* lavarme los dientes en el baño,

After that, I usually brush my teeth in the bathroom,

y después desayuno.

and then have breakfast.

Captions 3-4, El Aula Azul - Actividades Diarias

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[*Suelo happens to be also a noun that means "floor"]


If we were to use an adverb to express the same idea, the construction would be different. Notice how the main reflexive verb lavarse changes because it needs to be conjugated: 

Después, usualmente me lavo los dientes en el baño, y después desayuno.;p
After that, I usually brush my teeth in the bathroom, and then have breakfast.

In this example, Xóchitl conjugates the verb soler in the present tense (third person plural: nosotros) and leaves the main verb hacer ("to do") in the infinitive form, as per the rule:


... actividades que solemos hacer, eh, o festejar,

... activities that we usually do, um, or celebrate,

cada mes o cada año.

each month or each year.

Caption 10, Xóchitl - Vida en Monterrey

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But here, the band Pericos is talking about an action in the past, so the verb soler is conjugated accordingly:


Qué gano o qué pierdo yo así solías pensar

What do I gain or what do I lose that's how you used to think

Caption 17, Los Pericos - Fácil de Engañar

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Here is a combo (see, in green, a super literal English translation)


Después de comer, solemos echar la siesta

After eating, we usually take a nap

y mi padre suele ver la televisión.

and my father usually watches TV.

Captions 20-21, El Aula Azul - Actividades Diarias

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It is also quite common to combine the use of soler with an adverb reiterating the same meaning. So don't be too surprised if you see something like this:

Usualmente suelo ir al parque los domingos.
I usually go to the park on Sunday.

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