¿Cuánto tiempo tiene?

Tiempo, of course, means time, although the correspondence is not exact, as we’ll see. Let’s look at some common examples with tiempo.

Tener tiempo

In general, tener tiempo works for have (enough) time to do something, either literally or figuratively.

  • No tengo tiempo. I don’t have enough time to do it. This idea can also be expressed with dar: No me da tiempo.
  • No tengo tiempo para tus mamadas. I don’t have time for your bullshit.

Pharmacy, Iztacalco, Mexico City

Pharmacy, Iztacalco, Mexico City

¿Cuánto tiempo tiene?

Surprisingly, the meaning of tener tiempo is sometimes not about having enough time but rather about how long. ¿Cuánto tiempo tiene? almost looks like it could mean What time is it? but the question actually asks how long something been going on.

  • ¿Ya tiene mucho que llegaron? Have they been here for a long time at the antro? The word tiempo here is frequently omitted, as in this example. Hacer would convey the same idea here.
  • Tiene tiempo que no lo veo. I haven’t seen him in quite a while. Again, you could substitute hacer for tener here.
  • ¿Tiene mucho tiempo esperándome? Has he been waiting long for me? (The reply: No, poquito.)
  • Tiene poquito. He’s only been here for a short while. He just arrived. That building is new. Naturally, in a different context, tiene poquito could refer to something other than time: poco dinero, for example.
  • Tienen poquito de andar juntos. They haven’t been going out (dating) for very long.

Here’s some movie dialogue I once heard: Ándale, que no tengo tu tiempo. The meaning was: I don’t have as much time to waste as you do. Step on it. I’m in a hurry, even if you aren’t. Literally, I don’t have your time.

Tómate tu tiempo

Tómate tu tiempo means take your time, of course. It is also possible without te: toma tu tiempo.

Con tiempo

Con tiempo does not mean with time so much as with enough time.

  • Me hubieras avisado con tiempo que venías. You should have told me beforehand that you were coming. In advance. That would have given me enough time to …

For talking about making payments in advance, use por adelantado: Pagó por adelantado. He paid in advance, before delivery.

Con el tiempo

Con el tiempo, by contrast, means eventually or over time, but note the presence of the definite article el in the Spanish version.

  • Ya te lo voy a decir con el tiempo. I’ll tell you eventually, someday, all in good time.
  • Espero que (yo) llegue a quererla con el tiempo. I hope that one day I’ll grow to love her. (telenovela dialogue)

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