Saying “Estar Tarde” Instead of “Llegar Tarde” When You’re Talking About Being Late

Transcript of the video lesson:

Hey, this is Joel from In this lesson, I want to talk about a common mistake that a lot of Spanish students make. It’s a mistake that I even made. I remember when I was in Guatemala. I was supposed to meet somebody at 8 o’clock and she was late… maybe 15 minutes. I don’t know.

Anyway, when she got there, I said, “Estás tarde.” I was trying to say, “You’re late” just like in English. And she corrected me and said “No… llegaste tarde.” – “You arrived late.”

So, in Spanish you can’t say “Estás tarde.” You have to say, “You arrived late” which would be, “Llegaste tarde.”

Or of course, “He arrived late” – “Él llegó tarde”

“They arrived late” – “Ellos llegaron tarde”

You can also use the present tense. You can say, “Llegas tarde” – “You’re late”

Or, “Estás llegando tarde.”

Now, if you’re the person that’s arriving late, getting there late, you can say, “Llegué tarde” – “I arrived late.”

Or you can say, “Estoy llegando tarde” which is the present tense. Now, let’s say that you want to call a person and let them know that you’re going to be late. You can call them and say, “Voy tarde” which is basically like saying, “I’m running late.” Or, you can say, “Llego tarde.” That’s more like “I’ll be late.” “I’m going to be late.”

Alright, well I hope that this was helpful for you and that it will help you sound more natural, more fluent when you’re speaking. Don’t forget to check out my website for more lessons, my mp3 conversational course, and native Spanish speakers you can practice your Spanish with.

Alright, thanks for watching.

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