Ways To Say When In Spanish

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Written By Jessica Knight

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Are you struggling to find the right words to express ‘when’ in Spanish? Look no further! In this article, we will explore various ways to say ‘when’ in different contexts.

Whether you want to talk about a specific event, refer to a future or past occurrence, describe duration, or indicate a recurring event, we’ve got you covered. From using the word ‘Cuando’ to expressing time with ‘En el momento que,’ we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to enhance your Spanish language skills.

Want to know how to refer to a specific time period? We’ve got that covered too with ‘En el periodo que.’

So, if you’re ready to expand your vocabulary and improve your conversational skills, keep reading. Get ready to impress others with your ability to accurately and fluently express ‘when’ in Spanish.

Using the word "Cuando"

When you’re craving tacos, you always know exactly where to go. ‘Cuando’ is the word you need to express when in Spanish.

It is a versatile word that can be used in various contexts. For example, you can say:

  • ‘Cuando estoy cansado, necesito descansar’ (When I’m tired, I need to rest)
  • ‘Cuando llueve, me gusta quedarme en casa’ (When it rains, I like to stay at home)
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Remember to use ‘cuando’ to indicate when something happens or to ask about a specific time.

Expressing time with "En el momento que"

At the moment that the clock strikes twelve, the festivities begin. En el momento que el reloj marca las doce, comienzan las festividades.

Es un momento mágico lleno de alegría y emoción. La gente se reúne para celebrar y disfrutar de buena comida y compañía. Las luces brillan y la música suena alegremente. Todos están ansiosos por dar la bienvenida al nuevo año.

Es un momento de esperanza y renovación. ¡Que empiecen las celebraciones!

Describing a specific event with "Al ocurrir"

Upon the occurrence of a specific event, ‘al ocurrir’, you can feel the atmosphere buzzing with anticipation and excitement. The room comes alive as everyone waits for what is about to happen.

It’s a moment that captures everyone’s attention and holds it tight. The energy is electric, and you can’t help but be swept up in the emotions of the moment.

It’s a thrilling experience that you won’t soon forget.

Referring to a future event with "Cuando suceda"

As the anticipation builds and the date draws nearer, there’s an undeniable sense of excitement in the air for when the event happens.

You can’t help but feel a surge of anticipation as you imagine the moment when it finally takes place. It’s as if time slows down in those seconds, and you hold your breath in anticipation.

The wait will be worth it, and when it happens, it’ll be a moment you’ll never forget.

Indicating a past event with "Cuando ocurrió"

Remember that moment when the unexpected happened and everything changed? When it occurred, it shook your world and left an indelible mark on your heart.

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That’s how ‘Cuando ocurrió’ is used in Spanish to indicate a past event. It’s a phrase that allows you to refer to a specific time in the past when something significant happened.

So, whenever you want to talk about a past event in Spanish, remember to use ‘Cuando ocurrió’.

Using the phrase "En el instante en que"

So, you already know how to indicate a past event with ‘Cuando ocurrió’, right?

Well, let me introduce you to another way to express when something happened in Spanish. It’s by using the phrase ‘En el instante en que’.

This phrase is used to emphasize a specific moment in time when an event occurred. It adds a sense of immediacy and precision to your sentence.

So, next time you want to be more detailed about timing, remember to use ‘En el instante en que’.

Expressing duration with "Durante"

During your Spanish learning journey, you’ll come across the useful phrase ‘Durante’ to express duration.

This versatile preposition is used to indicate the length of time an action or event takes place. For example, you can say ‘Durante una hora estudiaré español’ (For an hour, I will study Spanish).

‘Durante’ can be used with any time period, from minutes to years, making it an essential tool for expressing duration in Spanish.

Referring to a specific time period with "En el periodo que"

In the period that you embraced the Spanish language, your understanding and confidence will skyrocket.

‘En el periodo que’ is a useful phrase when referring to a specific time period. It is commonly used to talk about historical events, such as ‘En el periodo que duró la guerra’ (During the time the war lasted).

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This phrase is also helpful when discussing personal experiences, like ‘En el periodo que estuve en España’ (During the time I was in Spain).

Using ‘en el periodo que’ allows you to specify the exact time frame you are referring to and adds clarity to your statements.

Describing a recurring event with "Cada vez que"

Imagine the excitement you’ll feel every time you use the phrase ‘cada vez que’ to describe a recurring event in Spanish! This expression is perfect for talking about activities that happen repeatedly.

For example, you can say ‘Cada vez que voy al cine, disfruto mucho’ (Every time I go to the movies, I enjoy it a lot).

‘Cada vez que’ allows you to express the frequency of an event and adds a dynamic touch to your Spanish conversations.

Using the word "Mientras

Whenever you use the word ‘Mientras’ in your conversations, it adds complexity and depth to your Spanish. It allows you to express simultaneous actions or contrasting situations effortlessly.

For example, you can say ‘Mientras estudio, escucho música’ (While I study, I listen to music) or ‘Mientras hace calor afuera, el aire acondicionado está encendido’ (While it’s hot outside, the air conditioning is on).

‘Mientras’ is a powerful tool that enhances your ability to communicate effectively in Spanish.


In conclusion, there are various ways to say ‘when’ in Spanish, depending on the context and the specific event or time period being referred to. Whether it is expressing time, describing a past or future event, indicating duration, or referring to a specific time period, there are different words and phrases that can be used.

By learning and practicing these different expressions, you can effectively communicate when something happened or will happen in Spanish.

Keep practicing and expanding your knowledge of Spanish to become more fluent in using these phrases.