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Question

I heard 'Hasta dentro' should always be in a negative context. Hence example 2 is incorrect.

NOTE: This is to clarify why 'Negative' context is expected to come with 'haste dentro', not to clarify in what context/situation it can be used (and what is indicated) in another question.

  1. No hay tren hasta dentro de dos horas. (There is no train for two hours)
  2. Hay trenes hasta dentro de dos horas siguientes. (There are trains for the next two hours)

I searched Linguee.com for examples and it looks they are used with 'no'.

Is there any specific reason why it should be in a negative sentence?

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    possible duplicate of Implications of 'Hasta dentro' – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' May 31 '15 at 11:01
  • @fedorqui, thanks for the comment but it is not a duplicate. This question is about why 'haste dentro' should be used in a negative context. – mon May 31 '15 at 22:57
  • Where did you hear that it must be used in a negative sentence? What was the reasoning given? There's nothing strictly grammatically wrong with #2, the problem is that it's ambiguous absent knowing where the speaker is from (because it can also mean "There are no trains for the next two hours") – user0721090601 May 31 '15 at 23:05
  • @guifa, thanks. I am learning with a native Spanish person and I was told 'haste dentro' should only be used in a negative context, otherwise it sounds strange or incorrect. I looked into Linguee for examples and so far (almost) all sentences had 'no' (linguee.com/english-spanish/…). Hence supposing there can be some reason. – mon May 31 '15 at 23:11
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hasta

  1. prep. Indica el término de tiempo, lugar, acciones, cantidades, etc.: hasta hoy no sabía nada; ven hasta aquí; puedes gastar hasta 5.000 ptas.

The preposition "hasta" marks an end point. In this case, when used with "dentro de..." you are establishing a time end point. "Hasta dentro de..." literally translates for "until specific time".

In fact, your example 2 is correct with a minor fix:

  1. Hay trenes hasta dentro de dos horas (There are trains for the next two hours / until two hours from now)

The expression "hasta dentro" is used as a way to specify the time left until an event occurs. For instance:

Hasta dentro de dos horas (Until two hours from now): This expression is used as "Until we see each other again" with a specific time instead: "Until we see each other in two hours".´

So, in order to answer your question, the expression "hasta dentro..." doesn't imply a negative expression or question. You can use it whenever you want to establish a specific time for an event to occur, wheter in a positive or negative way.

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  • Thanks for the explanation. Make sense. So "Hay trenes hasta dentro de dos horas" implies that there can be an expected event such as "no more train after that" at the specific point in time (in 2 hours). If the speaker does not mean such an event being expected, they probably will not use 'hasta' with 'dentro de'. – mon Jun 5 '15 at 7:18
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You don't really need to make a negative sentence. "Vamos a tener que esperar hasta dentro de dos horas" (we'll have to wait for two hours) is a valid sentence, for example.

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Answer:

The sentences (1) and (2) have different meanings.

It is not mandatory the use of negative with "hasta dentro", however, you should use it in sentence (1), if you want to mean that.

I will explain you the difference between both sentences:

  1. No hay tren hasta dentro de dos horas. (There is no train for two hours)

Explanation: In the following 2 hours, there will not be any train. (After that, there will be some trains)

  1. Hay trenes hasta dentro de dos horas siguientes. (There are trains for the next two hours)

This is not particularly correct. I would say better: "Hay trenes hasta dentro de dos horas."

Explanation: There will be trains for the next two hours. (After that, there will not be any train)


Another example:

  • Mis amigos no vuelven hasta dentro de una semana.
  • Mis amigos vuelven hasta dentro de una semana.

This is the same case, in the first sentence we are saying that the friends will be back in a week time. Nevertheless, in the second sentence, we are saying that my friends will be back in a week, as latest.


Conclusion:

You do not need to use the negative with "hasta dentro" as if it was a structure to be memorized. However, depending on the meaning you want to give to the sentence you should use it or not.

We have seen that negative must be used when the event will happen right after the period of time stated in the sentence. Not using the negative, only indicates that the limit time is the stated in the sentence and that the event may happen before.

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