Trouble with HACER? Learn it with CHUNKS, never forget it again!

Trouble with HACER? Learn it with CHUNKS, never forget it again!

Hacer (To do) is one of the most important verbs in Spanish. You have to know what it means, how to conjugate it, and when to use it if you want to speak Spanish decently.

It’s a tricky little verb, but it won’t be if you learn it through chunks!

I’m Spring Spanish teacher Maura, and let’s start with the most useful Spanish chunk with hacer (To do):

1. Haciendo: the conjugation we use the most

Let’s start with one of the most common ways in which we use the verb hacer (to do), its gerund form: Haciendo (Making/Doing). Me atrevería a decir que lo uso todos los días de mi vida, más de una vez. (I’d dare say I use this every day of my life, more than once.) Here’s how it goes:

ACTOR 1
Hola, cariño, ¿en qué andas?
(Hi, honey, what are you up to?)

ACTOR 2
¡Hola! Aquí, en casa, haciendo el almuerzo. ¿Y tú? ¿Hoy nos vemos?
(Hi! Here, at home, making lunch. How about you? See you today?)

ACTOR 1
¡Si! Yo estaba haciendo la tarea del curso nuevo que te comenté, y ahora estoy haciendo ejercicio. Cuando termine, me arreglo y salgo.

(Yes! I was doing homework for the new course I told you about, and now I’m exercising. When I’m done, I’ll get ready and go out.)

Like with all gerunds, “haciendo” (making/doing) never changes, the verb “estar” (to be) in front of it does: Estoy haciendo ejercicio. (I am exercising.) Estaba haciendo ejercicio. (I was exercising.) To learn more on gerunds in Spanish, watch this video from Spring Spanish teacher Mariana.

Apart from using this to say what you’re currently doing, like “haciendo el almuerzo”, you can also use it to talk about things you’ve been doing lately or regularly, like a new activity or discipline.

ACTOR 1
Vale, bien. Me acuerdo del curso. Pero, ¿tú no estabas haciendo yoga todas las tardes? ¿Cómo te da tiempo?
(Okay, good. I remember the course. But weren’t you doing yoga every afternoon? How do you find the time?)

ACTOR 2
No, o sea, hago yoga rutinariamente, pero no todas las tardes. También hago natación, por cierto, pero sólo los fines de semana.
(No, I mean, I do yoga routinely, but not every afternoon. I also swim, by the way, but only on weekends.)

As you can see, many physical activities like “hago yoga” can use “hacer” as their verb. But it’s mostly physical activities that aren’t games or matches like tennis or football, for which you would use jugar tenis o futbol (play tennis or football). It’s more for disciplines and things like martial arts. For example:

  • Hago karate (I do karate)
  • Hago judo (I do judo)
  • Hago pilates (I do pilates)

Chunk Alert!

¿En qué andas? (What are you up to?) is a good chunk to replace ¿qué haces? (what are you doing?), but they both mean exactly the same thing. No todos los países hispanos dirían esto, pero en el contexto correcto, la mayoría lo entendería así. (Not every Hispanic country would say this, but in the right context, most of them would understand it as this.)

Maybe someone would make a silly joke and say “a pie” (on foot) because “andar” also means “to walk”. Simplemente ignóralos o ríete si realmente lo encuentras divertido. (Just ignore them or laugh if you actually find it funny.)

Joking aside, you can get more chunks like this by accessing the link in the description and checking our free Essential Spanish Chunking Kit.

2. Hacer: conjugation in the present tense

Of course, you could learn a whole conjugation table for each possible tense, but in the middle of a conversation, it will be impossible to recall them all. So, we’re going to present them all to you in the form of, what? Chunks, ¡claro! (of course!)

ACTOR 1
Ah, ya. ¿Y dónde nadas? Tengo un par de amigos que también hacen natación.
(Oh, right. And where do you swim? I have a couple of friends who also practice swimming.)

ACTOR 2
Nosotros lo hacemos en un club deportivo cerca de casa.
(We do it at a sports club near our home.)

ACTOR 1
Claro, eso lo hace más fácil.
(Sure, that makes it easier.)

Before we continue, stick with me till the end if you want to get two chunks with hacer (to do) that are basically idiomatic expressions which will make you sound like an absolute insider!

Back to conjugating, we already had the conjugation for “yo” (I) with our previous chunks:

  • Yo hago yoga (I do yoga)

The one for “tú” (you) with our chunk alert alternative:

  • ¿Qué haces? (What are you doing?)

By the way, keep in mind that this chunk is mostly used to ask what you’re doing, but in the right context, it might also mean: what do you do for work?

The conjugation for “el” (he) and “ella” (she) is the same as for “eso”, as you can see in this chunk:

  • Eso lo hace más fácil. (That makes it easier.)

And lastly, we have “nosotros” (we):

  • Nosotros lo hacemos en un club deportivo cerca de casa. (We do it at a sports club near our home.)

And “ellos”, “ellas” (they) and “ustedes” (plural you), which is the same:

  • Tengo un par de amigos que también hacen natación. (I have a couple of friends who also practice swimming.)

Here’s a little conjugation table that summarizes the above. We’ll use the chunk “hacer natación” for this. Keep in mind, though, that we’re not expecting you to memorize this, and this is only for completeness’s sake. In red, you’ll see what varies from the original word hacer for each pronoun.

PronounsPresent Tense Hacer
Yo (I)hago natación
Tú (You)haces natación
Él/ Ella/ Usted
(He/ She/You (formal))
hace natación
Nosotras/ Nosotros
(We)
hacemos natación
Ustedes/ Ellas/ Ellos/
(You/They)
hacen natación

3. Using hacer for household chores

There are a few household chores, daily-life type of things you should know also use “hacer” as their main verb:

  • Hacer la compra (Grocery shopping)
  • Hacer mercado (Grocery shopping)

Both of these just mean grocery shopping, but some places use one of them more than the other, just one or both equally. Yo solo digo “hacer mercado”. (I only say “hacer mercado”.)

  • Hacer la cama (Make the bed)
  • Hacerle servicio al carro (Service your car)

Remember, I’m from Venezuela, so I say “carro”, but this word has many, many alternatives in different countries. The point is, however you call it, you would still use “hacerle servicio”.

4. Two awesome chunks with hacer

Here are those two chunks that you can use to definitely impress whomever you’re talking to by showing them your insider knowledge:

  • Hacerse la loca (Play dumb): use this to say someone has been acting as if they do not know what’s happening. To refer to the masculine sex, use “hacerse el loco”. For example:
  • Le pregunté a mi jefa por el aumento de salario, y desde entonces, se está haciendo la loca conmigo permanentemente. (I asked my boss about the salary increase, and since then, she has been playing crazy with me permanently.)
  • Hacer el tonto (Fooling around): this might sound similar, but it’s not about ignoring anything. It’s more about acting foolish, like a clown. For example:
  • ¡Bájate de la ventana! ¡Deja de hacer el tonto, que te vas a caer! (Get down from the window! Stop fooling around, you’ll fall out!)

All right! Let’s review a bit. Fill in the blanks, would you?

  • Yo ________ yoga. (I do yoga.)
  • Nosotros lo __________ en un club deportivo cerca de casa. (We do it at a sports club near our home.)
  • Tengo un par de amigos que también __________ natación. (I have a couple of friends who also practice swimming.)

“Hacer” is an irregular verb – a really important one. There are many super important other irregular verbs that you have to know and be able to use.

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