47

ENGLISH

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.


ESPAÑOL - Diferencias entre "aquí" y "acá".

Me han enseñado que "aquí" y "acá" son completamente intercambiables.

Por mi observación personal, "acá" parece ser utilizado con más frecuencia que "aquí" en el contexto de "I live down this road". Ejemplo:

Vivo por acá.

Creo que he nunca he oído a nadie decir vivo por aquí, aunque pienso que tienen exactamente el mismo significado, ¿verdad?

Me pregunto si hay pautas para decidir cuándo se prefiere una sobre la otra.

  • 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
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    Here in Spain almost nobody will ever use "acá". – Daniel López Oct 4 '12 at 14:24
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    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
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    In Spain you do hear acá when aquí and acá are not intercheangeable. When they are intercheangeable, Spain uses aquí. – guifa Dec 2 '14 at 13:22

14 Answers 14

33

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.

  • 4
    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
  • It would be nice if this answer mentioned that these differences are sometimes overruled by regionalisms, as mentioned by other users. – Alan Evangelista May 16 at 21:12
  • I disagree with the examples that say that acá should not be used. It is correct to say Bajo la ley federal, el edificio debe permanecer acá also. I also disagree with the "less common". Less common where? The use of aquí and acá depends on the region. – DGaleano May 17 at 13:07
17

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.

  • 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
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    @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
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    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
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    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
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    And yet in Spain,you won't hear "pa(ra) aquí/allí" very much, but you will hear "pa(ra) acá/allá". You will rarely hear "más aquí/allí" but you will hear "más acá/allá". These are places where aquí and acá are not generally considered interchangeable, and in these cases, Spaniards have absolutely no problem naturally saying acá or allá – guifa Dec 2 '14 at 13:21
9

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 is not as 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 more in Spain.

  • Sorry to disagree regarding hispanoamerica. Perhaps in some regions that is true but where I live (Medellín, Colombia) most people use aquí and only a few use acá The rest of the answer is correct so you have my +1 – DGaleano May 17 at 13:04
5

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 common.

  • 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
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    "Acá" is not "slightly more used in Spain. "Acá" is simply NEVER used in Spain. – user1025 Oct 8 '12 at 11:21
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    yep acá in Spain is only used by resident latin americans – rupps Jun 27 '13 at 2:44
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    acá is absolutely used in Spain. In places where the two are interchangeable, Spaniards of course will use aquí, but where they are not (like ven para acá or ven pacá), Spaniards will use acá perfectly naturally. – guifa Dec 2 '14 at 13:11
3

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

3

Based on the RAE pages and my experience, acá and aquí are almost identical.

Except for their 'range': aquí has a shorter range than acá.

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    Wow... "shorter range of here"... – Flimzy Nov 15 '11 at 23:32
3

En Cuba aquí se usa mucho mas que acá (al menos en los pueblos y ciudades). Me atrevo a decir que el uso de acá se restringe a cuando aquí no es apropiado. Con esto afirmo además que no son iguales. Difícilmente diría "Muévete hacia aquí!" señalando 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 definición de la RAE 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, and so they're not quite identical. I would never say "Muévete hacia aquí!" pointing to a place close to me... instead I would say "hacia acá" (pa'cá...). Notice that the sense of direction is what definitely makes the difference in the definition of the RAE given by @pferor.

3

In Spanish there used to be a six-way proximal adverbial system:1

                Concrete  | Imprecise
______________________________________
Near speaker   |  aquí    |  acá
Near listener  |  ahí     |  allá
Far from both  |  allí    |  acullá

However as the language evolved, these distinctions became fuzzier and many came to become synonymous in most circumstances:

  • aquí = acá
  • allí = allá

And in many American dialects:

  • ahí = allí = allá

Which word is preferred for each meaning is often dialect/region dependent (e.g. the prevalence of acá in Argentina, and aquí in Spain).

However, note that there are some circumstances under which in Spain there is preference for the forms e.g. one often hears:

Para acá.
Para allá.

Más acá.
Más allá.

But it is much rarer to hear:

Para aquí.
Para allí.

Más aquí.

And may even be considered ungrammatical to say:

*Más ahí.
*Más allí.


Notes:

  1. Note the parallel between this and the adjectival system:

                     Concrete  | Imprecise  
     ______________________________________  
     Near speaker   |  este    |  aqueste  
     Near listener  |  ese     |  aquese  
     Far from both  |        aquel  
    
  2. Acullá has fallen out of use almost completely, only retaining a poetic/literary sense and as part of some set phrases.

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    Too many answers mention that in hispanoamerica it is more common acá and some Argentinians had confirmed it but in my region (Medellín, Colombia) we mostly use aquí just like other answers and comments have said it is used in Spain. – DGaleano May 17 at 13:19
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    I've been trying to find some reference as to which regions use more one or the other but have not found any so far. It would be nice to add it here since this is the best answer. – DGaleano May 17 at 13:29
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    @DGaleano looking at Google trends, it seems Argentina is the only country which overall prefers acá to aquí. Within other Latin American countries it is split regionally which is preferred, with aquí being a bit more popular overall (roughly 60:40). In Spain it is overwhelmingly aquí in all regions. – ukemi May 17 at 13:46
  • Great find!!! That many people saying that in southamerica we all used acá made me think I was crazy but the truth seams to be that Argentinians use it but the rest of hispanoamerica does not. – DGaleano May 17 at 13:52
1

Independent of different meanings in the past, both have come to be interchangeable, it's mostly 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.

0

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.

0

In the North of Mexico we always say "aquí" even when we say "ven aqui" and we also use "allá" instead of "allí" but in the south of Mexico and most of south America "acá" is used. What is correct depends on where you are. By the way I'm in Monterrey very close to the US.

-1

I use them both interchangeably. The only difference in my opinion is that "aqui" is more formal than "acá". You don't usually write "acá" in letters or documents. "Acá" is more colloquial, in the spoken language (although I wouldn't say it's slang, maybe a regionalism). As said before, in Spain they don't use "acá", which in America is widely used.

  • 2
    Welcome @Delonix R. to the SE. Please read the help and the rules of this forum. Notice that this question was fully answered including references more than 5 years ago. In the help you will find that you must answer only if you have information or references not included in other answers, otherwise repeating what has already been said does not add any value and you could get negative votes. Hope to see you around. – DGaleano Mar 23 '16 at 15:27
  • Fair enough, DGaleano! – Delonix R. Mar 23 '16 at 17:42
-2

The 2 are NOT interchangeable.

Acá is used for near situations that use verbs of motion Example: Juan, ven acá (Juan, come here).

Aquí is used for other near situations. Example: Puedes registrarte aquí (You can sign up here).

For describing "less near" things, use allí. Example: El hombre allí no habla ingles (The guy over there doesn't speak English).

For describing things much farther, use allá. Example: Yo vivo aquí en los Estados Unidos, pero mi hermana vive allá en Costa Rica (I live here in the states, but my sister lives over in Costa Rica).

  • This does not explain the difference between "aquí" and "acá". – Flimzy Dec 4 '14 at 3:20
-2

You only need to know: aquí, ahí, allí.

"...They are aquí, roughly the equivalent of "here"; ahí, roughly the equivalent of "there" when speaking of an object or action that is close to the person being spoken to; and allí, roughly the equivalent of "there" or "over there" when speaking of an object that is distant from both the speaker and the person being spoken to. Note also that ahí is sometimes used to refer to something emotionally close rather than simply physically close to the listener, so allí can suggest emotional as well as physical distance...."

"...Regional variations: In some parts of Latin America, you may hear acá, allá and acullá used instead of (or in addition to) aquí, allí and ahí. You may also find some subtle variations in how these terms are used in different regions...."

For simplicity's sake, I would have no problems only using aquí & allí. Every Spanish speaker in the world would know what I'm talking about.

http://spanish.about.com/od/adverbs/a/here_there.htm

protected by Rodrigo Mar 23 '16 at 16:00

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