How to Say When in Spanish: Multiple Options to Sound Like a Native

Men covering their faces with signs and wondering how to say when in spanish

Intro on How to Say When in Spanish?

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When it comes to how to say when in Spanish, we immediately stress about how little time we have, of course, it’s no secret that the concept of time repeatedly appears in our daily Spanish conversations.


Well, when learning a new language this is how we make accurate statements on time, especially when dealing with Spanish words.

Questions such as: Cuándo es tu cumpleaños are pretty typical in the Spanish language so it’s no wonder that the Spanish cuándo is something you might want to master.

Not only that:

In conversation, you will find that to achieve this element of communication, we use the word “when” (which in Spanish translates as cuando) quite often. This is the first (and most basic) way to communicate “when.” There are more options down below.

Here’s the deal:

The Spanish cuándo is one of the most frequently used Spanish adverbs.

In this article, we are going to dive deep into a comprehensive guide about the meaning of “when” in Spanish, and we will also give you a few examples to practice.

Are you ready?

Let’s get right to it.

Unlocking the Significance of “When” in Spanish

man using a magnifying glass to discover the meaning of when in Spanish

Imagine storytelling without temporal context for a second.

See what I mean?

Events would lose their charm and coherence. The word “when” is the temporal glue that binds actions, bringing sequences and vocabulary to life.

Here’s the deal:

In Spanish, mastering how to express “when” enables you to navigate conversations with elegance and precision.

In other words:

“Cuando” is your trusty companion for most “when” scenarios. It seamlessly adapts to diverse contexts, serving as the go-to term to inquire about or pinpoint the timing of events.

Such as:

“¿Cuándo Llegas?” (two words) translates to “When are you arriving?”

The word cuando is used to create harmony between an event and time.

These two elements are usually in different contexts. In this case, Cuando is a link between tense and an activity.

Below I will exemplify how to use When in Spanish in the three different tenses: (Present, Past, and Future) and various contexts as well.

  1. Present

This is used for different things and situations. The tense expresses something that occurs habitually or without much effort, a permanent state, or something that happens without a prompt.


  • Notarás que estas luces parpadean cuando la abres. – You’ll notice that these lights flash when you open it.
  1. Past

There are different layers to this tense with each covering a specific level of action. The general performance of it is activities that have already been completed, those that were continuous in the past.

At times, it is used to show that one thing was done or happened before another one commenced.


  • Todos se pusieron de pie cuando ella entró en la habitación. – Everybody stood up when she walked into the room.
  • Ella empacó nuestras maletas cuando estaba en el trabajo. – She packed our bags when I was at work.
  1. Future

This is used to talk about a future event or a state that is to be achieved. The use of “when” in the future tense shows the belief that whatever task is going on will be completed to allow the other one to begin. Also, it portrays trust that the state will be attained.


  • Cuando termines de recoger los platos, lleva al perro a pasear. – When you finish collecting the dishes, take the dog out for a walk.

Simultaneous Situations

two birds sitting opposite to each other to illustrate similar ways to say when in Spanish

If two actions occur at the same time, we use “when” to show the relationship.

How so?

Both activities take place within the shared timeframe, and there is no distinction between when one thing started compared to the other and when they both ended.

Such as:

  • Ella limpió la casa cuando fui al mercado. – She cleaned the house when I went to the market.

See what I mean?

In this case, the statement lacks specificity about the exact time when she cleaned the house. It could either be as soon as one left for the market or moments before they got back.

This gap demands the use of a general assumption that the two things happened at the same time.

4 Other ways to say “When” in Spanish

Man thinking of other ways on how to say Spanish

As you already know cuándo is the literal translation of “when”, but it is not the only way to ask and talk about time!

Here are some other different words you need to use in real Spanish conversations.

¿En qué momento?

¿En qué momento? literally means “In what moment?”

¿A qué hora?

 ¿A qué hora? means “At what time?”. When we use this question, we’re asking about a specific time of the day.

¿Qué día?

 ¿Qué día? means “What day?”. When we use this question, we are asking about a particular date.

¿En qué mes?

¿En qué mes? means “On which month?”

Example sentences when translated into Spanish using “When”

  • ¿Cuando viene el? When is he coming?
  • ¿Cuando LLegaste? When did you arrive?
  • ¿Cuando puedes comenzar? When could you start?
  • ¿Cuando nos podemos encontrar? When can we meet?
  • ¿Cuando quieres viajar? When do you want to travel?
  • ¿Cuando es el proximo examen? When is the next exam?
  • ¿Cuando deseas regresar? When do you wish to be back?
  • ¿Cuando nos podemos volver a ver? When can we see each other?
  • ¿Asi que, Cuando te mudaste aqui? So, when did you move here?
  • ¿Cuando comienza la pelicula? When does the movie start?
  • ¿Cuando te vas para Europa? When do you go to Europe?
  • ¿Cuando estara terminada la construccion? When will the construction job be finished?
  • ¿Me puedes decir cuando comenzaron a fallar los frenos? Can you tell me when the brakes started to fail?

Final Thoughts

Woman extending her arms out of triumph to illustrate she has mastered the art of saying when in Spanish

Now you know how to put the temporal magic of “when” in Spanish to effectively communicate with native speakers.

Whether you opt for the adaptable “Cuando,” the precise “en qué momento,” or the time-focused “a qué hora,” you’re poised to navigate time-related conversations with flair.


The next time you ponder, “How do you say ‘when’ in Spanish?” remember the multiple options at your disposal.

¡Buena suerte! (Good luck!)

By the way:

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Since he was a child, Daniel has been passionate about Social Dynamics. Learn how Daniel got his start as a Language Coach, and why he decided to start this language blog. If you want to send Daniel a quick message, then visit his contact page here.

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