I believe that idiomatic meanings would be (using "I" as the pronoun and a year as the period of time):
"I have been doing that for a year"
"It has been a year since I was doing (or did) that" or "I did that a year ago"
Use whatever verb is appropriate to the activity
Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Forum. Perhaps this explanation will help you:
There are expressions with "hacer" + "a period of time" + either present tense, imperfect tense or the preterit."
1. The construction "hace + an expression of time + que + the present tense" is used to express an action or event that began in the past and continues into the present. In questions, "How long?" is translated by "¿Cuánto tiempo hace que...? + the present tense."
Hace un año que vivo aquí. = I have been living here for a year. (literally "It makes a year that I am living here.)
Hace una hora que esperamos. = We have been waiting for an hour. (literally "It makes an hour that we are waiting.)
¿Cuánto tiempo hace que Ud. trabaja? = How long have you been working? (literally "How much time does it make that you are working?)
NOTE: The present tense + "desde hace + an expression of time" is also used to express a past action or event that continues into the present. In such expressions, the question "How long?" is translated by "¿Desde cuándo...? + the present tense."
Vivo aquí desde hace un año. = I have been living here for a year. (literally I am living here since it makes a year.)
¿Desde cuándo trabaja Ud.? = How long have you been working? (literally "Since when are you working?")
2. In the construction "hacía + an expression of time + que + the imperfect tense," is used to describe an action or event that began in the past and continued in the past. (then it ended) In questions, "How long?" is translated by "¿Cuánto tiempo hace que ...? + the imperfect tense."
Hacía un mes que viajaban. = They had been traveling for a month. (literally It made a month that they were traveling.)
¿Cuánto tiempo hacía que dormían.? = How long had they been sleeping? (literally "How much time did it make that they were sleeping?")
NOTE: The imperfect tense + desde hacía + an expression of time is also used to describe an action or event that began in the past and continued in the past. In such expressions, the questiion "How long?" is translated by "¿Desde cuándo.....? + the imperfect tense."
Viajaban desde hacía un mes. = They had been traveling for a month. (literally "They were traveling since it made a month.")
¿Desde cuándo dormían? = How long had they been sleeping? (literally "Since when were they sleeping?")
3. "hace + time expression + que + preterit" = ago
Hace una semana que vino a verme. = He came to see me a week ago.
NOTE: Without "que," the expression is reversed:
Vino a verme hace una semana. = He came to see me a week ago.
Now there is EVERYTHING about the expressions of "hacer + time" for in the future. Only concentrate now on what you are learning and keep the rest for later!
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