La noche se les hizo larga.

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by Ocotillo, Mar 30, 2018.

  1. Ocotillo Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA, English
    Hi Wordreference Spanish Community/Comunidad Española

    I saw this phrase in a book written in Spanish by a Spanish speaking author: La noche se les hizo larga. It is referring to a night spent in the forest by a group of people.
    I think it is correctly translated as "The night was long" but I don't know why. It seems like the verb is hacerse. In the Wordreference Spanish-English dictionary it gives "to get used to", "to move", "to pretend to be", as the meaning of hacerse. None of those make sense in this usage.
    My first guess was that the use of "hacerse" was one of becoming, (i.e. The night became long") but the more I thought about it the less likely it seemed to be correct. While I know hacerse can mean "become" that usage usually includes some effort on the part of the subject. In this case it doesn't seem like the subject of the sentence "the night" put any effort into becoming long. Nor does the group make the night long.
    Insight into this use of hacerse would be much appreciated!
  2. MiguelitOOO

    MiguelitOOO Senior Member

    Español - México
    To them, that night seemed to be so long
  3. claaariii

    claaariii Senior Member

    Córdoba, Argentina
    Spanish - Argentina, English - USA
    I don't know the actual explanation for this, but:

    La noche se les hizo larga.

    has a subtle difference from

    La noche era larga.

    Either way, the night is actually as long as it's going to be: nothing can change the length of it. In the first option, though, it's like if felt longer to the group....kind of like the difference between "the night was long" and "the night dragged on", for example.

    It's pretty common in Spanish.

    - ¿Cómo vas con la lectura?
    - Se me está haciendo eterna; no voy ni por la mitad.

    - ¿Ya terminaste el trabajo?
    - me está haciendo interminable; no veo la hora de entregarlo.

    Usually in these "never-ending" type of contexts, as far as I can think right now :)

    [Edit:] Or not...

    -¿Que tal las vacaciones?
    -¡Se me hicieron muy cortas! No puedo creer que mañana ya volvemos a casa.

    Kind of like "They were short" versus "They flew by".
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2018
  4. jilar

    jilar Senior Member

    Galicia, España
    Exacto, como anota Miguelito, ese "se les hizo" es una manera de explicar una sensación que ellos tuvieron.
    Sintieron que duraba mucho más de lo que realmente dura. O sea, perdieron la perspectiva del paso del tiempo. Una hora se les hizo eterna, por ejemplo.

    En cambio, la opción en inglés, the night was long, no aporta ese sentido. En este caso sería como decir en español La noche fue larga.
    Un hecho sin más, no una sensación de alguien.
  5. sinho4 Senior Member

    Galego - Spain
    Yes. It is used with nouns that imply a process of a certain duration, like holidays, homework or a night in the forest. The formula would be: (Algo) + se le hace + a (alguien) + (adjetivo)
    - Los deberes se me hicieron muy difíciles
    - La película se me hizo eterna

Share This Page