Is the following translation correct?

Era demasiado tarde.

What If I want to say the following in Spanish?

It was getting late.

Will the following translation hold?

Se hacía tarde.

2 Answers 2


-The first one is correct but I think "Ya era demasiado tarde" sounds better.

-The second one is fine but I would prefer "Se estaba haciendo tarde" o "Ya se estaba haciendo tarde".

  • Any particular significance of "ya" in this context?
    – TheLearner
    Jun 21, 2014 at 22:36
  • 1
    "Ya" means "already," emphasizing that the time in question had already passed. It seems to be more frequently used in Spanish than "already" is used in English. Jun 21, 2014 at 23:07
  • 1
    To me it sounds more natural without "ya"
    – Pere
    Jun 23, 2014 at 3:27
  • I agree on not using "ya" unless you want to express a stronger sense of urgency. Jun 26, 2014 at 5:20

Relevant to México:
If you are just being descriptive and wanna keep it brief and sort of mysterious, your translations are great.

If you want to keep it casual & make it feel more natural:

  1. Era muy tarde. (recently after the fact / narrating with a sense of affliction)
    Fue muy tarde. (long after the fact / narrating with a sense of emotional distance)
  2. Se estaba haciendo tarde. (acknowledging a progressive state)

If you want to express a stronger sense of irreversibility for the 1st one and a stronger sense of urgency for the 2nd one you can prefix the word "ya" and modify your verbs to be conjugated in present participle (gerundio) just as Jaime suggested:

  1. Ya era muy tarde. (recently after the fact)
    Ya fue muy tarde. (long after the fact, looking back)
  2. Ya se estaba haciendo tarde.

You can even pump it up changing "muy tarde"(too late) for "demasiado tarde"(way too late). "Demasiado" is superlative to "Muy".

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.