The other day in C1 Spanish class I came across one of the problems that Spanish students at this level are always struggling with: speech connectors. We have to keep in mind that when the student reaches this high level, he has already studied all the verb tenses, and now what he does is polish his Spanish, (that’s what I usually call it ;)). Well, when do we use MIENTRAS and MIENTRAS QUE?
The term MIENTRAS can be used to express a simultaneous action or to make a comparison. However, the constructions are not exactly the same in both cases. Look at the examples:
- Mientras yo leo el libro, tu puedes ver el programa en la tele.
Mientras queyo leo el libro, tu puedes ver el programa en la tele.
- A mi me gusta leer, mientras a Pepe le gusta ver la tele.
- A mi me gusta leer, mientras que a Pepe le gusta ver la tele.
To talk about two simultaneous actions in time, you are going to use only the MIENTRAS form. Never use “MIENTRAS QUE” (even if you can hear it on the street, don’t use it).
In case you compare two elements, if you can use both forms, although it is preferable the form MIENTRAS QUE.
How to use ANTES?
We have another connector, it is the case of ANTES ,we use it to express preference in comparisons. Look at the examples:
- Antes que comerlo frío, prefiero calentarlo en el micro.
Antes decomerlo frío, prefiero calentarlo en el micro.
- Antes de terminar la clase, quiero deciros que mañana tenemos un examen.
Ante queterminar la clase, quiero deciros que mañana tenemos un examen.
So, to indicate that you prefer one thing to another, you can only use ANTES QUE and to indicate that one thing is before another we can only use ANTES DE.
We have many more connectors to talk about in Interigual, your online Spanish school, I leave you the link if you want to book your first class for free, remember that we are experts in high levels of Spanish: