I've been told by my language-learning software (SpanishPod101.com) that both "al fondo" and "atrás" mean "in the back". Is there a difference in meaning, or is one more common than the other in certain situations? For example, "Atrás están los zapatos" vs. "Los zapatos están al fondo"?

  • Yes, but context is what tells you which to use. Al fondo del armario, at the back of the closet. Los zapatos están atrás de las sandallas. The shoes are behind the sandals. These are just examples. Al fondo, no estoy de acuerdo contigo. I disagree with you on the substance of the matter.
    – Lambie
    Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


In a succession of elements,

  • 'Atrás' refers to an element that is not in the first position, with an indeterminate value from the second position to the last.

  • 'Al fondo' refers to an element that is in the last positions.

Another way to express it in Spanish slang would be: 'Al fondo' = 'Muy atrás'

  • 2
    Sorry. What do you mean by "al fondo" or "muy atrás" being "slang"?
    – Gustavson
    Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 13:14
  • So "atrás" would be equivalent to "further back" and "al fondo" would be like "all the way in the back"? Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 14:17
  • 1
    Exactly. In the case of the shoes, if you say they are "atrás", they are behind something else that is at the front, if you say they are "más atrás", you have to look further back, and if they are "en el fondo", they are all the way in the back, at the bottom.
    – Gustavson
    Commented Sep 30, 2022 at 18:44

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