Difference Between Aquí, Allí, Allá


Aquí means here. Allí means there (specific). Allá means over there (non-specific) or beyond. The difference between allí y allá is often insignificant to the point where both words can usually be used for the same things. For all effects and purposes, they’re not too different. Still, allí often refers to a specific location. Allá usually does not refer to a specific location. While this is the simplest possible explanation, we need to look at each word individually to really grasp the meaning and differences between them. Let’s start with aquí.

Aquí

Means here. Another word for it is acá. Let’s look at a few very simple sentences and their equivalent in Spanish:

  • John is here – John está aquí
  • The bedroom is here on the left – El dormitorio está aquí a la izquierda
  • Here are my keys – Aquí tienes mis llaves

Allí

Means there and indicates that something is “over there”, usually a specific location. When translating, it sometimes is more appropriate to use “over there” rather than just “there”. It’s a bit confusing for non-Spanish speakers, but just think of it as a “there” that, when translated to English, becomes “over there” but the meaning is still, fundamentally, “there”.

  • There is Mary, sitting on the sofa – Allí está Mary, sentada en el sofá

  • Over there we have our treasures – Allí tenemos nuestros tesoros

  • There’s freedom over there – Allí hay libertad

Allá

Means over there but can also mean there. Often points to a general area with no specific location. Interestingly, allá can also mean beyond. Take a good look because it’s not so simple for non-Spanish speakers:

  • Goes beyond limits – Va más allá de los límites

  • Over there is John – Allá está John

  • Don’t you understand that they need us over there? – ¿No entiende que nos necesitan allá?

It’s really not too easy to understand and you need to speak Spanish a lot to really grasp the difference between these words that feel so similar and indeed can be used in similar ways, but different sentences call for either aquí, allí or allá and it’s not always an easy, simple answer.