Spanish Grammar

Demonstratives in Spanish and Adverbs of Place

Demonstratives in Spanish are words that express the distance between the speaker and another element of the sentence. These terms are very important for elementary level Spanish students. This is due to the need to describe the reality that surrounds the speaker.

Next, we will explain how to express distance with the demonstratives in Spanish.

Demonstratives in Spanish: Adjectives

We must remember that an adjective is a word that accompanies and complements a noun and agrees with it in gender and number: esta casa, esos coches, aquellas amigas, este niño.

The demonstrative adjectives in Spanish are:

  • Este, esta, estos, estas (this, these): they express a distance close to the speaker.

—¡Mira! Estas botas son las mejores para hacer senderismo.

  • Ese, esa, esos, esas (that, those): the noun is not within reach of the speaker or it is closer to the listener.

—Por favor, pásame ese plato de ensalada.

  • Aquel, aquella, aquellos, aquellas (that/those): the distance is far for both the speaker and the listener.

—La estación de autobuses está al final de aquella calle.

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Demonstrative Pronouns in Spanish

Demonstratives in Spanish are not only adjectives. We can also use them as pronouns. This type of words replace a noun, so they work independently in a sentence. Spanish demonstrative pronouns share the same form as demonstrative adjectives.

—¿Qué coche te gusta más, este o ese?

—Ninguno. Prefiero aquel.

However, we can find one more form, which is neither masculine nor feminine, but neutral: esto, eso, aquello . They are one of the few remnants of the neuter gender of Latin that we have in our language.

Neuter forms can be used in the following way:

  • The speaker does not know the gender of the noun he or she is referring to:

—¿Qué es esto que tengo en el brazo?

—No te preocupes, solo es una araña.

  • It refers to a noun clause or verbal form, rather than a noun:

—Debes hacer más clases de conversación para mejorar.

—Sí, eso es lo que voy a hacer.

This is not the first time we have talked about distance and localization in Spanish. In the free grammar resources section on Spanishviaskype.com, we had already explained how to express location with the verbs estar and hay.

Adverbs of Place in Spanish

In addition to demonstratives in Spanish, we have at our disposal other types of words that also express distance. However, instead of complementing a noun or replacing it, they complement the action of the verb; these are the adverbs of place. As with demonstratives, adverbs of place indicate three types of distance:

  • Aquí, acá (here): they express a distance close to the speaker.

Aquí tengo las llaves de casa. Tómalas y abre la puerta.

  • Ahí (there): the distance is far for both the speaker and the listener.

—Pero, ¿no ves el móvil? Está ahí, a tu lado.

  • Allí, allá (there): the distance is far for both the speaker and the listener.

—¿Canarias? Allí siempre hace buen tiempo.

The adverbs acá and allá have a more dialectal use (more used in Hispanic America). Besides, aquí and allí are more precise, since they indicate an exact place:

—La moneda está aquí, en mi mano.

Sin embargo, acá y allá pueden señalar un lugar más amplio o indeterminado:

However, acá and allá can indicate a broader or indeterminate place:

—Yo tenía una moneda acá, en mi habitación. ¿Dónde estará?

Desde aquí (from here), from Spain, we hope that allí donde nos leas (there, wherever you read us), you will find this article on demonstratives in Spanish useful. But, if you want to improve your level or learn more about these differences, the best thing to do is to reserve a class at Spanishviaskype.com: ahí está la clave (there the key is).

Infographic about demonstratives and adverbs of place in Spanish