This lesson needs a lot of work. If you put expressions with "desde hace" and "hace" in an online translator they ALL come back with the same sentence in English. It's nearly impossible to tell when you're supposed to use "desde hace." More examples are needed. In fact I can't even tell from the lesson why I would ever use "desde hace" when "hace" works just fine for the same meaning. Moreover I talk to natives every single day and no one has corrected me to say "desde hace" instead of "hace." So maybe I'm crazy but maybe this lesson needs work.
This may not answer your question because "hace" has multiple uses and is complex. That said since I struggled with the topic for so long my comment may help. I think that one of the main points of this particular lesson about when to use "desde hace + length of time" [since / for and still ongoing] is that it is used with the present tense i.e. "I do not smoke since" as opposed to "I have not smoked since." As an English speaker I would have thought that the present perfect tense (latter) would be the choice, but in Spanish the present tense must be used.
The use of "hace" on its own when talking about time, always means "ago" and takes the pretérito indefinido. In the context of an action ongoing from the past, it mostly seems to mean "for" rather than "since," but more importantly the sentence construction is very very different. In this case it is "hace + length of time + que." So it depends on exactly what you are trying to say to someone as to which you use, but your daily usage may provide different possibilities.
I hope this helps. Saludos. John
Continuing with what John very well explained, it's true that we occasionally drop "desde" in a sentence that should be using desde hace to express "for" to express how long you've done something for. So, you may hear sometimes "No veo a Carmen hace 5 años" instead of what the lesson states, which would be "No veo a Carmen desde hace 5 años.".
This does happen sometimes as I said but this doesn't reflect the most common use of this time sentences. There are always little tweaks in Spanish and all languages, but this other version where we drop the word desde belongs to a different register and would be something that we may explain in higher levels, not in A2.
If you look in other sites and books you will find that this is a very common topic where the use of desde hace and hace are explained the same way we do in Kwiziq, without mentioning other more advanced versions.
I hope this clarified it.
Could you explain the harder concepts that is above A2 at another lesson post ?
There isn't really a lot of extra content on this. What A mentioned is something that may be said more colloquially and when we relax our speaking, the same way in all languages (I guess) we sometimes omit some words - these are a bit outside the rule, sometimes considered completely wrong grammatically and sometimes simply considered a relaxed alternative.
This practice is not generally taught in formal lessons as it is not the expected "norm" - we simply acknowledge it and explain if necessary with some comments.
In this case, we didn't include any example or explanation about omitting "desde" in "No veo a Carmen hace 5 años" because it is not the general structured sentence that we use.
Although it's good to know that you may occasionally hear it, we wouldn't include it in our testing.
Replying to "A": One thing that I suddenly learned, like a light bulb over the head in a cartoon, is that sometimes the inconsistencies are in English, not in Spanish. So now it always helps to check what is going on with the English translation and not only the Spanish wording.
That said, online translators are good, not perfect. They help us to see what is being said but don't always give us correct usage. And sometimes they're downright wrong.
The best thing you did was listen to Spanish speakers. You could always ask why they are using "hace" instead of "desde hace".
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