Difference between allí, ahí, and allá.
What is the difference between allí, ahí, and allá? I know that they are all some variation of there or over there, but could someone please explain them and/or use them in a sentence? Thanks. :)
It seems to me that to complete the landscape, we have to include "aquí"
So, the matter would be...
Aquí ... "In situ"or very close to the person that is talking.
Ahí .... Close or around the person that is talking.
Allí .... More o less far from the person. Can be visible or not. Can be a reference point to meet with someone. "Nos vemos allí" if both know where is "allí" of course.
Allá. .... The same than allí, but more indefinite. It's used to accompany some significative nouns... "Allá en América" ... "Allá en el Cielo" and so on...
I agree. I would say:
- Aquí - It is a specific point, close enough to touch the object if you are talking about one. "Where is my shoe? - Aquí (specifically)"
- Acá - It could be as close as "Aquí" but a more general area, not just one specific point. "Which way? - Por acá (bigger area, but just around you)"
This differences are not rules, they are both used sometimes for the same situations, but it is good to know they are not absolutely the same.
That's how I've always used them and have heard them used. It definitely depends on the type of Spanish though.
Without get into complicate spatial metaphysics :)... Remember you that the proximity in these cases is RELATIVE... I explain myself.
If you and your wife are at home, and your wife ask you for the keys. You answer her... "Están aquí" aquí is the living room, by example.
If your wife is in the office and call you by the phone an she makes the same question, you answer her the same but "aquí" now, is home.
If you are in Mars or Jupiter and you ask me where I am, I will respond "aquí, en la Tierra". .. Here, on the Earth.
So, proximity's affair is relative. As far as I know aquí and acá are equivalents...
As you know I'm from Spain. So, I'm trying to represent our point of view as Spanish. Here we never say "acá". I'm not an expert in Spanish variants.
it's used even on Spanish TV, if I am not mistaken Josep Pedrerol (Catalan Spanish) from 'El Chringuito de Jugones' uses it quite a lot
*Ahí means that is close to the person , and equals 'in that place' but a more general place example : "ahí en mi habitación".
*Allí is like ahí also means 'in that place' but a more precise place example :"Allí en esa parte del muro".
*Allá means a farther place,denotes that is far, also means that place. example : No vayas allá, porque hay un perro bravo.
PS: There is no problem in confuse "allí" and "ahí" but yes in "allá"
I can give you a trick to differentiate them, at least as we use them in Colombia
- Ahí - It is close to the person saying it but (if it is an object) not close enough to pick it up.
- Allí - It is not as close as "Ahí" but you may be able to see it, sometimes if you can point at it (for example a building or some place) you say "Allí"
- Allá - This one could be at almost any distance, you could even use it for example to talk about other country, "Allá en Guatemala (Here we go Luis!! hehe)".
As you can see it all comes to the distance of the objects, places, people, anything you are talking about. In English, you use "There" (for a one-word translation) for all of them. We also use them sometimes in a sarcastic way, for example using "Allí"(close), to talk about something really far away, for example "Allí en la luna (on the moon)". But something like this is not necessary at this point.
Bonus tip: There is a common expression which is "Por ahí" that we use to talk about something being in any place near but you don't know exactly where. "Where are the car's keys, - I don't know, por ahí (somewhere)."
So ahí and allá more general/ambiguous while allí is direct. And the difference between ahí and allá is the distance (ahí: near and allá: far). Is that correct?
Many thanks, Eey91. These three words have confused me for a long time - I had assumed they were regionalisms. Delighted to be corrected!
You're welcome. Sometimes it is really interesting to answer this kind of questions if it is your first language because, for example, I had never thought about this, but after organizing my ideas I can see that they are indeed different. You can always learn right?