Aquí, Acá, Ahí, Allí and Allá

This post explains the different words for here and there in Spanish.

These are as follows:

  • Aquí, Acá for ‘here’
  • Ahí, Allí and Allá for ‘there’

In this post I also explain the Spanish word ‘hay‘. This word is sometimes misunderstood by foreigners.

The words aquí and acá

To begin with, let’s talk about the Spanish words for ‘here’.

The words aquí and acá both translate as ‘here’. There are some important differences between them.

In theory aquí is precise. It means ‘here’ (i.e the exact location where you are) whereas acá is less precise. It means ‘around here’. In reality however:

  • The word aquí tends to be used a lot more in European Spanish than acá
  • In South American Spanish acá tends to be used a lot more, especially with movement (e.g. Come here!)

The reality is the usage does vary.

To summarise:

  • If you use the word aquí for ‘here’ for European Spanish, you will be fine.
  • When you are using south American Spanish however use acá.

The words ahí, allí and allá

Now let’s talk about the Spanish words for ‘there’.

The words ahí, allí and allá all translate as ‘there’ in Spanish. There are some key differences between them.

In theory the words can be summarised as:

  • ahí = There (= close by)
  • allí = There (= further away)
  • allá = There (= even further away) = Usually out of sight

What this means essentially is:

  • If something is within easy reach you should ahí
  • If something is further away, but still within close proximity you should use allí
  • If something is much further away you should use ‘allá

In reality the actual usage does vary. The distances are also somewhat subjective. For example, one person may perceive something is further away than someone else.

The word ‘hay’

There is also the word hay in Spanish. This word sometimes causes confusion to foreigners.

The word Hay always means ‘There is’/’There are’, for example:

  • Hay un museo en Madrid. = There is a museum in Madrid.
  • Hay dos museos en Madrid. = There are two museums in Madrid.

As a question ¿Hay….? means ‘Is there?’ or ‘Are there….?’, for example:

  • ¿Hay un museo en Madrid? = Is there a museum in Madrid?
  • ¿Hay dos museos en Madrid? = Are there two museums in Madrid?

When asking a question the main thing is changing your tone to make it sound like a question.

To summarise:

  • Hay means ‘There is’ or ‘There are’
  • ¿Hay? means ‘Is there?’ or ‘Are there?’
Final comments

I hope that the above post has helped you to understand better the different words for here and there in Spanish. Do note that there is some variation in usage. This is the case, especially when comparing the usage in Spain to that of latin America.

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Further Information/Further Help

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