Tarde, its several Spanish meanings and a fixed sentence

The word tarde has several meanings, and sometimes is used in a wrong way by Spanish students in a fixed sentences due to a literal translation of its English equivalent. That is why I decided to write about  tarde, its several Spanish meanings and a fixed sentence.

Let’s start with the meanings.


TARDE can be afternoon, or evening, as you know in Spain , we don’t have evening, we go from afternoon to night 🙂

For example: Juego al fútbol todos los martes por la tarde – I play football every Tuesday afternoon/evening

TARDE can also be late

For example if you are out with a friend but it is very late and you need to work the next day you can have a look at your watch and say.

¡El tiempo ha pasado volando! Me tengo que ir, es muy tarde – Time has flown by! I need to go, it is very late.

-if tarde means late, later in Spanish is más tarde.

Imagine a friend phones you but you are very busy and can’t talk right now, you could say:

-lo siento, no puedo hablar ahora, estoy muy ocupada, te llamo más tardeI am sorry I can’t talk right now, I am very busy, I will call you later.

Lastly we have the fixed sentence that uses tarde I wanted to talk to you about. The sentence in English is “to be late”, lots of students translate that in Spanish as ser tarde, but that sentence in Spanish NEVER NEVER uses the verb “to be” so it is NOT  estar tarde,  or NOT  ser tarde, instead in Spanish we use the verb LLEGAR tarde, to arrive late, and we use it in all the tenses, some examples of how to use it are:

-in the present:

Siempre llego tarde a mi clase de español– I am always late to my Spanish lesson

-in the past:

No sé que pasó en la reunión porque llegué tarde– I don’t know what happened in the meeting because I was late

-in the future:

¿Puedes esperarme 5 minutos? Estoy en un atasco y voy a llegar tarde – Can you wait 5 minutes? I am in a traffic jam and I am going to be late.

Can you think about other sentences where you can use this fixed sentence?  Leave them in the comments below! And remember every time you are late in Spanish tú llegas tarde 🙂 it is a little twist that can make such a difference in your Spanish speaking skills.

That is all from my side, now as usual it is your turn, leave a comment and let me know:

-were you aware the word “tarde” had so many meanings in Spanish?

-do you know any other meaning of the word “tarde”?

LA PRACTICA HACE LA PERFECCIÓN,  so…leave a sentence below with at least one of the uses of “tarde”.

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¡Ten un día excepcional! And…

I will see  you next week!

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