Sorry! Search is currently unavailable while the database is being updated, it will be back in 5 mins!

The Different Uses of the Word Hecho in Spanish

Surely you've heard the word hecho in Spanish. But did you know that this Spanish word can function as a noun, a verb, or an adjective, as well as being a part of countless fixed expressions? Let's look into the many uses of the word hecho in Spanish!


Hecho as a Noun

The masculine noun el hecho in Spanish can mean "the fact," "the incident," or "the event." Let's see some examples:


El hecho es que a mí Vargas me asignó ese caso

The fact is that Vargas assigned me that case

Caption 22, Confidencial: El rey de la estafa Capítulo 2 - Part 3

 Play Caption


el microrrelato tenía que estar basado en un hecho o personajes históricos.

the flash fiction story had to be based on a historical event or figures.

Caption 15, Aprendiendo con Carlos El microrrelato - Part 3

 Play Caption


Hecho as a Verb

Hecho is the participle form of the verb hacer, which means "to do" or "to make." Since participles are used with the auxiliary verb haber to form the perfect tenses (the equivalent of English sentences like "I have spoken," "I had eaten," etc.), the translations for hecho in this context would be "done" or "made." Let's listen to two examples where hecho accompanies haber as part of the present perfect tense:


Pero, ya he hecho un montón de cosas.

But, I've already done a ton of things.

Caption 22, Clase Aula Azul La segunda condicional - Part 1

 Play Caption


Han hecho un viaje bastante largo.

They've made quite a long journey.

Caption 6, Amaya Mis burras Lola y Canija

 Play Caption


Hecho as an Adjective

The Spanish word hecho can also be an adjective that means "done" or "made." Let's take a look:


Pero todo hecho con el material o tejidos andinos.

But all made with Andean material or fabrics.

Caption 31, Otavalo Zapatos andinos

 Play Caption


Remember that adjectives in Spanish must agree with the nouns they modify in terms of number and gender. Therefore, alternative forms of the masculine singular adjective hecho include the singular feminine hecha and the masculine/feminine plural forms hechos and hechas. Let's listen to two of these:


Es una masa redonda, hecha con harina,

It's some round dough made of flour,

Captions 5-6, El Aula Azul Adivinanzas de comidas - Part 3

 Play Caption


Quesos especiales hechos aquí en la región. 

Special cheeses made here in the region.

Caption 32, Desayuno Puerto Escondido Frijoles Refritos

 Play Caption

When Not to Use Hecho 

The Spanish word hecho should not be confused with echo, which is the first person singular form of the verb echar (to throw, throw away, put in, etc.), as we hear in the following caption:


Primero echo casi más de la mitad.

First, I put in almost more than half [of the package].

Caption 45, Recetas de cocina Papa a la Huancaína

 Play Caption


Because the "h" in hecho is silent, the identical pronunciation of these two words lead even native Spanish speakers to confuse them. However, bear in mind that as there is no such verb as hechar in Spanish, echo in this context should always be spelled without an "h."


Hecho in Fixed Expressions

In its various incarnations, the word hecho also appears in too many Spanish fixed expressions to name! Below you will find a smattering of these, with lots of examples from our Yabla Spanish video library. Can you figure out how the word hecho, or one of its variants, is functioning in each of them?


dar por hecho: to presume, to be a given, to take for granted


puesto que se da por hecho que cuando lo comunicamos es porque nos gusta

since it's presumed that when we communicate it it's because we like it

Captions 39-40, Raquel y Marisa Español Para Negocios - Introducción

 Play Caption


de hecho: in fact


De hecho, es un sitio bastante tranquilo y pintoresco que vale la pena visitar.

In fact, it's a quite calm and picturesque place that's worth visiting.

Caption 23, Aprendiendo con Carlos América precolombina - El Dorado

 Play Caption


el hecho de que: the fact that 

quiero recalcar el hecho de que todo pasa, 

I want to emphasize the fact that everything passes,

Captions 74-75, Soledad Refranes - Part 2

 Play Caption


estar hecho polvo: to be exhausted (literally "to be made into dust")


"yo ya estoy hecho polvo.

"I'm exhausted already.

Caption 24, Pigueldito y Federico El cielo

 Play Caption


hecho a mano: handmade


son todas hechas a mano; bordados hechos a mano,

they're all handmade, handmade embroidery,

Captions 40-41, Málaga Lourdes y la talabartería en Mijas Pueblo

 Play Caption


hechos reales: a true story


basada en hechos reales.

based on a true story.

Caption 12, Aprendiendo con Silvia Nacionalidades y adjetivos - Part 1

 Play Caption


trato hecho: it's a deal, done deal


Trato hecho, ¿sí o no? -¡Trato hecho!

It's a deal, yes or no? -It's a deal!

Caption 60, La Sucursal del Cielo Capítulo 2 - Part 5

 Play Caption


That's all for today. We hope that this lesson has helped to give you a sense of the many ways that the word hecho can be used in Spanish, as well as the the one way in which it should not be. Don't forget to write us with your questions or comments.



Signup to get Free Spanish Lessons sent by email

Using Subjunctive after Conjunctions of Time

The Spanish subjunctive is used in adverb clauses when the action described in the clause is anticipated or hypothetical (a reservation, a condition not yet met, a mere intention). Adverb clauses are sentences that function as adverbs in compound sentences: 


Organizaremos una fiesta / cuando mi esposo regrese de su viaje.
We will organize a party / when my husband comes back from his trip.


In the previous example, the main clause is organizaremos una fiesta and its verb (organizaremos) is in the indicative mood, future tense. However, the adverb clause that modifies that verb (in this case, establishing a condition of time for the action to happen) must use regrese, the subjunctive form of the verb regresar (to come back). Adverb clauses like this one are usually introduced by conjunctions, which you can use to identify the type of clause that it's being used. The previous sentence, for example, uses the conjunction cuando (when) to introduce the adverb clause. The word cuando is a conjunction of time, just like después (after). These conjunctions are used with the subjunctive to express anticipated circumstances, that is, a future occurrence not yet met. Let's study some examples from our catalog of authentic videos.


An example with the conjunction cuando (when):


pues no quiere deberle nada a nadie cuando llegue a la presidencia.

because he doesn't want to owe anything to anyone when he reaches the presidency.

Caption 23, Andrés Manuel López Obrador - En campaña

 Play Caption


An example with the conjunction hasta (until), which must be combined with the pronoun que (that):


Yo mantendré esa tradición hasta que me muera.

I will keep this tradition until the day I die.

Caption 66, Estado Falcón - Locos de la Vela

 Play Caption


Here's an example with the conjunction siempre (always), which combined with the pronoun que (that) means "whenever" or "as long as." Pay attention, the word order has been changed, so the main clause appears at the end.


Pero siempre que sea posible,

But whenever it is possible,

recurriremos a un fotógrafo profesional.

we'll turn to a professional photographer.

Caption 27, Raquel y Marisa - Español Para Negocios - Introducción

 Play Caption


Now, that doesn't mean that you should always use subjunctive after conjunctions of time. You must use it only when you are talking about actions anticipated to occur in the future. If, for example, the conjunction is used to introduce an adverb clause that refers to actions in the past or in progress, known facts or habits, you must use the indicative. Let's see examples:


An example where you don't use subjunctive after the conjunction cuando (when):


Lo primero que hago cuando voy de compras

The first thing that I do when I go shopping 

es mirar los escaparates.*

is to look at the display windows.

Captions 3-4, Raquel - Haciendo compras

 Play Caption


*Another common word order could be: Lo primero que hago es mirar los escaparates cuando voy de compras.


Now, an example where you don't use subjunctive after hasta que (until):


Hay policías desde que salgo de mi casa hasta que entro al Tec.

There are police from when I leave my house until I enter the Tech.

Caption 67, Alumnos extranjeros del - Tec de Monterrey

 Play Caption


And here's and example with the conjunction siempre (always) combined with the pronoun que (that) that doesn't use subjunctive either.


Entonces, yo siempre que estaba en Lima no los encontraba.*

So, every time I was in Lima, I didn't meet up with them.

Caption 9, Gonzalo el Pintor - Vida

 Play Caption


 *Again, the main clause appears at the end of the sentence here, but you can easily change the word order: Entonces, yo no los encontraba siempre que estaba en Lima.


Summarizing: the subjunctive is used after conjunctions of time (such as cuandohasta quesiempre que, etc.) only when you want to express anticipated circumstances, that is, a future occurrence not yet met (anyway, strictly speaking future is always hypothetical, right?). For your reference, other conjunctions of time that use subjunctive are después de que (after), mientras que (while, as long as), tan pronto que (as soon as), antes de que (before), and en cuanto (as soon as). So remember to always use subjunctive after them if you want to talk about anticipated circumstances. There is only one exception that applies to después de que (after), antes de que (before), and hasta que (until): you can get away with using a verb in infinitive (ending in -ar, -er, -ir) instead of subjunctive if you get rid of the pronoun que (that). Check the following examples:


Voy a bañarme después de hacer ejercicio.
I'm going to shower after I exercise.

Escribiré un libro antes de morir.
I will write a book before I die.

No me voy hasta hablar contigo.
I'm not leaving until I speak with you.


Of course, you can also use the subjunctive by adding the pronoun que. Here are the equivalent sentences for the examples above:


Voy a bañarme después de que haga ejercicio.
I'm going to shower after I exercise.

Escribiré un libro antes de que me muera.
I will write a book before I die.

No me voy hasta que hable contigo.
I'm not leaving until I speak with you.


Imperative Constructions

The Spanish constructions haber + de, tener + que, hay + que, and deber + infinitive are all used to express that something demands attention or action: an obligation, requirement, or necessity. Let's review some examples to learn the subtle differences between them and how to properly use them.


The construction haber + de + infinitive is used to express a mild sense of obligation or necessity (in some contexts it could be just a possibility). Its use is, therefore, preferred when you want to give an instruction in a very polite way, making it sound more like a suggestion than an order. For example, in one of our new videos Raquel uses haber de + infinitive repeatedly to share some entrepreneurial tips:

En primer lugar, hemos de definir nuestra estrategia.

In the first place, we have to define our strategy.

Caption 5, Raquel y Marisa - Español Para Negocios - Introducción

 Play Caption


Básicamente, en esta parte, hemos de definir

Basically, in this part, we have to define

qué vamos a publicar en cada red social.

what we are going to publish on each social network.

Captions 8-9, Raquel y Marisa - Español Para Negocios - Introducción

 Play Caption

Additionally, by using the first person plural, hemos, Raquel gives a subtle aura of consensus to her advice, which stresses the idea that even when she is using an imperative expression, she is not giving an order but rather sharing advice. If she were to use, for example, the second person, the expression would have a bit more pressing or demanding tone:

Lo primero que has de hacer al reservar en un restaurante es...

The first thing that you have to do upon reserving at a restaurant is...

Caption 3, Raquel - Reserva de Restaurante

 Play Caption


Here's another example with a twist, using negation:

Y no ha de faltarle nunca

And you should never lack

un sanconcho de ñato pa' rematar.

a snub-nosed fish stew to add the finishing touch.

Caption 14, Mary Grueso Romero - Platonera en la plaza del mercado

 Play Caption


You could also add the word uno (one), to talk impersonally. For example:

Uno ha de hacer aquello que desea.
One must do whatever one wants.

Incidentally, there is one Spanish imperative construction that only uses the impersonal form to express needs, obligations, or requirements in a more generalized way: hay + que infinitive.

¡Eres una víbora a la que hay que quitarle la ponzoña!

You're a snake from which it's necessary to remove the venom!

Caption 27, El Ausente - Acto 3

 Play Caption


Or for everyday tasks at hand:

Pues hay que diseñar unos 'flyers'.

So, we have to design some flyers.

Caption 58, Arturo Vega - Entrevista

 Play Caption


On the other hand, to convey a higher grade or urgency, necessity, or imperativeness, the expressions tener + que + infinitive and deber + infinitive* come in handy. The difference between deber and tener is subtle: the use of deber confers a sense of duty or moral imperativeness to the expression, while tener is better suited to talk about more practical matters.

You can also use these constructions in an impersonal way, adding the word uno (one):

Ya, cuando a uno le toca ser papá, pues,

Then, when it's time for one to be a dad, well,

uno tiene que reflexionar sobre eso.

one has to reflect on that.

Caption 8, La Sub30 - Familias

 Play Caption


[If you want to use the verb deber you would say: uno debe reflexionar (one must reflect)]


Or you can use the first person for more particular and pressing needs:

Ahora tenemos que hablar de precio.

Now we have to talk about price.

Caption 74, 75 minutos - Gangas para ricos

 Play Caption


[If you were to use the verb deber: debemos hablar de precio (we must talk about price)]



*By the way, the use of deber de + infinitive in imperative statements (such as debes de comer, meaning "you must eat") is common but grammatically incorrect. The use of deber de + infinitive is correct when used to express probability.