Mañana – Tomorrow vs Morning in Spanish

In Spanish, ‘tomorrow’ and ‘morning’ can be translated as mañana’. However, depending on the context, this word will have different meanings and will follow different rules. As a result, many Spanish learners ask themselves how they can tell the difference between ‘tomorrow’ and ‘morning’ in Spanish. 

When talking about ‘morning’, mañana is a noun that refers to a part of the day. ‘Mañana’ as a synonym of ‘tomorrow’ is an adverb of time and expresses that an action is going to take place the day after today. 

Although in Spanish we use one word for both ‘morning’ and ‘tomorrow’, depending on the situation, ‘mañana’ will follow different rules. Therefore, in the following sections, we’ll explain the rules as well as the different contexts to use it in. By the end of it, you will be able to use ‘mañana’ correctly. 

What’s the difference between tomorrow and morning in Spanish?

Depending on the situation, ‘mañana’ can be translated as ‘morning’ or ‘tomorrow’. Since it has two meanings, ‘mañana’ follows different phrase structures. When meaning morning, mañana is a feminine noun that refers to a part of the day. As a noun, it has a plural form and it can be preceded by articles, demonstrative adjectives and prepositions. 

Todas las mañanas Gustavo hace ejercicio
Every morning, Gustavo exercise

‘Mañana’ as a synonym of tomorrow is an adverb. In other words, it expresses when an action is going to take place in the future. As an adverb, ‘mañana’ is usually placed after a verb and it doesn’t have a plural form. ‘Mañana’ can also work with some prepositions to set a date in the future. 

Nos vemos mañana
See you tomorrow

La tarea es para mañana
The homework is for tomorrow

Now, let’s see some phrase and sentence structures as well as the contexts where you can apply this word in Spanish. 

When to use ‘Mañana’ as ‘Morning’

As a synonym of ‘morning’, mañana is used in Spanish to refer to a part of the day. Therefore, this word is really useful when talking about daily activities. In this context, ‘mañana’ is a noun and it can have a plural form. 

[Article / Demonstrative adjective] + mañana

Aquella mañana hacía mucho frío
That morning was very cold

¿Quieres estudiar mañana por la mañana?
Do you want to study tomorrow morning?

Esta mañana me desperté con dolor de cabeza
This morning I woke up with a headache

Claudia desayuna a las siete de la mañana
Claudia has breakfast at seven in the morning  

¿Estudias español en las mañanas o en las tardes?
Do you study Spanish in the mornings or in the afternoons? 

Take Note: As a noun, ‘mañana’ can be placed at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of a sentence. Therefore, it’s difficult to have a phrase structure for this word. However, notice that it’s always preceded by an article or a demonstrative adjective

This is a list of some of the most common words and terms that can precede ‘mañana’:

Take Note: The expression ‘de la mañana’ allows you to tell the time or hour when an activity is going to take place. 

[Conjugated verb] +[hour] + de la mañana

Practico yoga a las seis de la mañana
I practice yoga at six in the morning

Nuestro club de conversación comienza a las diez de la mañana
Our conversation club starts at ten in the morning

When to Use Mañana as ‘Tomorrow’?

When used as a synonym of ‘tomorrow’, ‘mañana’ is an adverb of time and expresses when an action or event is going to happen. Unlike the noun, ‘mañana’ as an adverb doesn’t have a plural form. This is the phrase structure that we use in this situation:

[Verb conjugated] + mañana

¿Qué vas a hacer mañana?
What are you going to do tomorrow?

Mi vuelo a Guatemala sale mañana
My flight to Guatemala leaves tomorrow

Anne y Dylan tienen un examen mañana en la mañana
Anne and Dylan have a test tomorrow morning

Although the previous phrase structure is very common, in Spanish ‘mañana’ can also be used at the beginning of the sentence:

Mañana + [verb conjugated] 

Mañana tengo cosas que hacer
I have things to do tomorrow

¡Mañana es navidad!
Tomorrow is Christmas!

Take Note: When working as an adverb, ‘mañana’ is not preceded by an article or a demonstrative adjective. 

‘Mañana’ as an adverb of time can work with the following prepositions. Notice that using these words can slightly affect the intention of your sentence:

  • Para – Expressing a deadline:

La tarea es para mañana
The homework is for tomorrow

¿Crees que puedas terminar este proyecto para mañana en la mañana?
Do you think you can finish this project by tomorrow morning? 

  • Hasta –  Indicating a limit on time:

Tenemos hasta mañana para pagar el boleto
We have until tomorrow to pay the ticket

Laura no puede venir hasta mañana porque tiene mucho trabajo
Laura can’t come until tomorrow because she has a lot of work

Take Note: ‘Hasta mañana’ can also be used as a single expression that means ‘see you tomorrow’.

Un mejor mañana

‘Mañana’ as a synonym of ‘tomorrow’ can also be used in very formal speeches to talk figuratively about the future. In this case, ‘mañana’ becomes a noun and it can be translated as ‘tomorrow’ or ‘future’.

El ayer es historia, el mañana es un misterio… Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery…

¿Qué le deparará el mañana? What will tomorrow bring for him?

Wrapping Up

In this article, we learned that even though ‘mañana’ means ‘morning’ and ‘tomorrow’ this Spanish word follows different rules in each of these contexts. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Mañana as ‘morning’:

  • It’s a noun and feminine. 
  • Has a plural form. 
  • Refers to a part of the day (morning, evening, afternoon, night). 
  • It’s preceded by words such as ‘la’, ‘las’, ‘todas’, ‘cada’, ‘una’, ‘esta’, etc. 
  • It can be used to talk about daily activities. 

Mañana as ‘tomorrow’:

  • It’s an adverb of time. 
  • Doesn’t have a plural form. 
  • Expresses when an action is going to take place in the future. 
  • It works with verbs. 
  • In formal context, it can be used to talk figuratively about the future. 
  • It works with prepositions such as ‘para’ and ‘hasta’. 

Daniela Sanchez

¡Hola! Soy Daniela Sanchez, I've been studying Spanish professionally as well as teaching it in Mexico and online for over 10 years. I’ve taught Spanish to a wide array of foreigners from many backgrounds. Over the years, I've made it my mission to work hard on refining many challenging to understand grammar topics to make my students' learning experiences easier, faster and more enjoyable. Read More About Me

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