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I was writing today and while editing I stumbled with this problem. Both words can be used but then again I didn't know the difference between them.

When should I use one over the other and viceversa?

Thanks!

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2 Answers 2

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These sentences come to mind:

El carro esta enfrente de ti.

El carro esta frente a ti.

As you can see both means the same thing but they use different preposition.

RAE:

enfrente.

(De en- y frente).

  1. adv. l. A la parte opuesta, en punto que mira a otro, o que está delante de otro.

  2. adv. m. En contra, en pugna.

frente: en ~.

  1. loc. adv. enfrente.
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enfrente (RAE definition, WordReference definition) is an adverb of location typically meaning "opposite" or "front."

frente (RAE definition, WordReference definition) can be a feminine noun referring to the forehead, a masculine noun referring to a "front" (in many different senses), or an adverb that is synonymous with enfrente.

enfrente de and frente a generally mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably.

The problem for language learners arises in the various ways both words (and others, like delante) can be used to express the English concept of "front". In his book Breaking Out of Beginner's Spanish, Joseph J. Keenan writes:

Al frente de is usually the expression for the English "in front of." It means "at (in) the front part of (something)." In the earlier example, a fountain that is al frente de la casa is on the property at the front of the house. Next come a host of prepositional expressions that, in many circumstances, mean "in front of" but generally only in the sense of "facing." Enfrente de is one of those expressions, and it is better regarded as a trickster (see Chapter 3). Think of it as a synonym for "facing" or "across the way." A fountain that is enfrente de la casa is likely to be across the street from the house. Frente a means much the same and should be viewed as just as unreliable as enfrente de in most cases. Sometimes the act of "facing" is implicit. Lo tienes frente a los ojos = "You have it in front of your eyes"--that is, "staring you in the face." De frente a, finally, states very clearly that something is "face to face," literally "with its front facing (something)." Estoy parada de frente al sol = "I'm standing facing the sun."

Perhaps the safest word of all for "in front of" is delante, usually followed by de. Generally, whenever you can use "ahead" or "ahead of," you should probably be using delante or delante de. but it also covers a wide range of "in front of" situations. The fountain can be delante de la casa, for instance. Bob se sienta delante de mí en la clase = "Bob sits ahead of me in class."

He goes on to describe how adelante generally translates "up front" and el frente usually translates "the front" or "the front part" of something.

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