To take time in Spanish
When we talk about how long it takes/one takes to do something we generally use the verb "tardar" in Spanish.
The way we use this verb is slightly different to the English "to take time". Have a look at the following examples:
Notice how in the Spanish examples above the person (yo, tú...) is the subject of the sentence, unlike in English where "it" is normally the subject. (It takes me, It took me...) so "tardar" always agrees with the person.
This would be incorrect:
Me tarda 5 minutos.
¿Cuánto tiempo te tardó?
As you can see in the third example above, we can use tardar to talk about how long some form of transporation takes.
Here are more examples:
While in English "what takes time" is expressed with the infinitive "to [verb]", in Spanish we use preposition en + infinitive:
Tardo 5 minutos en llegar a la oficina.
It takes me 5 minutes to get to the office.
Tardé 6 horas en corregir los exámenes.
It took me 6 hours to mark the exams.
In cases where the subject is unimportant or unknown, or when simply making a general statement, tardar is used in its reflexive form: tardarse.
It can be used in the singular, for example se tarda, se tardó or in the plural, for example se tardan, se tardaron.
Se tardó dos horas en llegar. = Se tardaron dos horas en llegar.
It took two hours to arrive.
When used in its plural form it works as a passive with "se", see Forming the Spanish passive with se (la pasiva refleja).
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