In today’s Spanish grammar lesson, we will cover the topic of how to use Haces/ Tras que (After) – Haces/ Before (Before) in Spanish. There are many things that confuse beginners when learning Spanish. Keeping track of everything you’ve learned is hard to do if you’re not constantly practicing and putting the language to use. A difficult upper part for beginning students is the use of After / After (After) – Before / Before (Before).
Let’s clear things up and take a look at when these two important expressions should be used.
We use “After” and “Before” chronologically.
“I got up, then I showered, then I got dressed, then I left the house.” (I got up, then I showered, then I got dressed, then I left the house.) In this context, “after”, “then” and “later” are synonyms.
In this sense, “Before” is the same in reverse.
“I got dressed, but first I took a shower.” (I got dressed, but first I took a shower).
Now let’s take a look at another very important instance where we use “Before” and “After”.
When I refer to another action, I have to use “Before” or “After” plus (+) Infinitive.
For example: “Before dressing, I showered” (Before dressing, I showered). “After getting dressed, I left the house.” (After getting dressed, I left the house.)
When we use “after that”, and “before”, we conjugate the verb that follows. We usually use this form when we change the subject.
“I prepared dinner before you arrived” (I prepared dinner before you arrived) / “I always prepare dinner before my children arrive” (I always prepare dinner before my children arrive).
Pay attention here because this is tricky! In the following case, we have to use the Subjunctive Mood, more specifically the Present Subjective, when the main verb is in the Present (Indicative), and the Imperfect Subjunctive when the main verb is in the Past (Indicative).
“I always go to sleep after the children fall asleep” (I always go to sleep after the children fall sleep)/ “Laura was very sad after her boyfriend broke up with her” with her).
These last uses of “Before” and “After” can be quite complicated and are aimed at more advanced students. If you find it too confusing, don’t worry, keep practicing the simpler ways of using “Before” and “After” until you feel more comfortable using the Subjunctive Mood.
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