Take the 2-minute tour ×
Spanish Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for students, teachers, and linguists wanting to discuss the finer points of the Spanish language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've been taught that aquí and acá are completely interchangable.

From personal observation, acá seems to be used more often than aquí in the context of "I live down this road." Example:

Vivo por acá.

I don't think I've ever heard a person say vivo por aquí, even though I think they have the exact same meaning, right?

I'm wondering if there are any guidelines for when one is preferred over the other.

share|improve this question
1  
I think originally they were different cases. One means "here" and the other meant "to here". I'm not sure to what degree this is still the case. –  hippietrail Nov 15 '11 at 23:28
1  
3  
Here in Spain almost nobody will ever use "acá". –  Daniel López Oct 4 '12 at 14:24
2  
Agreed with Daniel. The best guideline: check the regional preferences. In Spain, "acá" is not used, and no one says "vivo por acá". As a curiosity and as I posted in an answer check Google and you'll see "vivo por aquí" is much more frequent. –  user1025 Oct 4 '12 at 16:06

9 Answers 9

up vote 19 down vote accepted

In situations where aquí and acá are both acceptable, aquí would connote more precision. It's worth considering all four words together:

  • Aquí: here
  • Acá: over here
  • Allí: there
  • Allá: over there

In cases where the location is very specific, you must use aquí (or allí):

Bajo la ley federal, el edificio debe permanecer aquí. (not acá)
Bajo la ley federal, el edificio debe permanecer allí. (not allá)
"Está, como he dicho, aquí en el margen escrito" (not acá)

Acá is better when referring to a general area, for movement, and in combinations such as "por acá" (around here), "más acá" (closer to here). Allá follows the same patterns, and can also connote a farther distance than allí.

Acá tenemos otra forma de jugar. (aquí less common)
Ven acá. (aquí less common)
Por acá viven muchos estudiantes, pero los maestros viven por allá.
"Acá es al revés, que quien canta una vez llora toda la vida."

EDIT: I don't have much experience with "ahí" and "acullá", but this page explains them.

share|improve this answer
    
completely agree on this one +1 –  isJustMe Nov 16 '11 at 5:38
1  
This seems like a very complete answer, however it doesn't mention one deictic at all: Ahí. How does it fit into the picture? –  hippietrail Nov 16 '11 at 12:03

Independently of different meanings in the past, both have come to be interchangeable, it's most a matter of regionalisms.

In Argentina you almost always hear acá instead of aquí, except sometimes in formal speech.
The same happens with allá which is almost always preferred over allí.

share|improve this answer

En Cuba aquí se usa mucho mas que acá (al menos en pueblos y ciudades). Me atrevo a decir que el uso de acá se restringe a cuando aquí no es apropiado. Con esto afirmo ademas que no son iguales. Dificilmente diria "Muévete hacia aquí! senalando a un lugar cerca de mí... diría "hacia acá" (pa´cá...). Noten que el sentido de direccion es lo que definitivamente las diferencia en la definicion de la REA que da @pferor

In Cuba aquí is used much more than acá (at least in towns and cities). I dare say that using acá is restricted to when aquí is not appropriate. This further stated that they are not equal. Hardly would say "Muévete hacia aquí! Pointing to a place close to me ... I would say "hacia acá" (pa´cá...). Notice that the sense of direction is what definitely make the difference in the definition of the REA given by @pferor

(Por favor corrijan mi ortografía !) (Como rayos abro admiración e interrogación?)

share|improve this answer

This is just a matter of regionalisms or variations of Spanish.

In the case of Spain "acá" is very rarely used (I can only think of the (somehow rural/regional) expression "ven p'acá" = "ven aquí"). If you use "acá" in Spain people will of course understand you but immediately identify you with South America.

"Vivo por aquí" is exactly the way we say "I live around here" in Spain. Not only is it perfectly valid and is heard everyday in Spain, it is also much more frequent in Google:

"Vivo por aquí": 1.640.000 results. "Vivo por acá": 327.000 results.

share|improve this answer
    
I'm downvoting this by now because it doesn't reply exactly the question. It's good information as a side note, but not a real and useful answer. –  JoulSauron Oct 4 '12 at 15:25
3  
@JoulSaron. The question was "I'm wondering if there are any guidelines for when one is preferred over the other." The guideline is clear: "Aquí is used in Spain, acá in South America". In fact, ALL OTHERS answered exactly the same thing I did. I think your vote is deliberate and unfair. –  user1025 Oct 4 '12 at 15:32
    
I'm sorry you don't agree with my vote, but I think the accepted answer it's much more accurate than yours as it seems to be some slight differences in Latinamerica that Spaniads might not see. No te lo tomes como algo personal ;) –  JoulSauron Oct 4 '12 at 15:39
1  
My point, as a native speaker and having visited and lived in lots of Spanish regions, is that he information that "aquí" is "more frequent" in Spain than "acá" is FALSE. "Acá" is ABSOLUTELY NEVER used in Spain. And I posted the Google facts to show that "vivo por acá" is not more frequent either, which was THE SPECIFIC QUESTION. What is exactly wrong or false with that answer to be worth a vote down? I want facts, not opinions. –  user1025 Oct 4 '12 at 15:51
2  
The question was asked in general ("I was taught...") and it's tagged as "regional-references". Furthermore, the guy said "I don't think I've ever heard a person say vivo por aquí" and I showed him that this is what nearly 50 million people say and it is even more frequent in Google. A very useful information, I'd say. Okay, you voted down my answer, be happy and enjoy it, but please stop trying to find absurd justifications. The harder you try, the more you discredit yourself. Thanks ;) –  user1025 Oct 5 '12 at 9:36

I have learned that acá and aqui mean the same thing "Here" but acá is more informal. And ahí and allí mean the same thing "There" but ahí is more informal.

share|improve this answer

From the RAE:

acá.

(Del lat. eccum hac, he aquí).

  1. adv. l. En este lugar o cerca de él, a este lugar o cerca de él. No es tan explícito como aquí, por eso admite ciertos grados de comparación. Tan acá. Más acá. Muy acá.

and:

aquí.

(Del lat. eccum hic).

  1. adv. l. En este lugar.

So, they are the same, but acá are not so explicit as aquí, and therefore admits comparison. As you can see, each has a different Latin root.

Although nowadays, in a casual environment they are interchangeable. The main difference is acá is used more in Latin America (some countries) and aquí in Spain.

share|improve this answer

They are mostly interchangeable. In Argentina 'acá' is a little more common-colloquial, but both are used. I believe that in Spain 'aquí' is slightly more used.

share|improve this answer
1  
I am not sure if I ever heard "acá" in Spain while living there. For me, this word has a strong Latin-American flavour. –  rems Nov 18 '11 at 20:47
1  
"Acá" is not "slightly more used in Spain. "Acá" is simply NEVER used in Spain. –  user1025 Oct 8 '12 at 11:21
1  
yep acá in Spain is only used by resident latin americans –  rupps Jun 27 '13 at 2:44

Based on the RAE page and my experience.

Acá and Aquí is almost the same.

Except for:

  • Acá and aquí range, aquí has a shorter range than acá.
share|improve this answer
1  
Wow... "shorter range of here"... –  Flimzy Nov 15 '11 at 23:32

They are interchangeable. Usage of one or the other is cultural/geographic.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.