What is the difference between lì and là or qui or qua?
If you have ever felt confused about whether to use lì or là or qui or qua when speaking in Italian, this post is for you.
Let’s get straight to the point…
Your question may be whether there is really any significant difference between lì and là or qui and qua? The answer is “yes and no.” The truth is that difference is so negligible that, as a non-native speaker, you shouldn’t give it too much thought.
However, if you’re interested in delving deeper, let go ahead and do it!
Lì and là?
Both lì and là mean there. They indicate something which is far from the person who is speaking. The only small difference is that “lì” is more accurate than “là“. In other words, là means there, just like lì does, but in a less accurate way.
Let’s look at some practical examples:
|Lì c’era una fontana una volta
|There was a fountain specifically there once
|Pointing to a specific location with emphasis
|Là non c’era niente 20 anni
|There was nothing 20 years ago somewhere there (not very specific)
|Referring to a general location without pinpointing details
Common Italian Expressions with “La”
mettilo là/lì – put it there
là dentro, là fuori, là sotto – in, out
là dentro, là fuori, là sopra – in, out, up
più in là – further on (space), later on (time)
essere di là – to be somewhere else
Qui and qua
Both qui and qua mean here (in this place) and follow the same rule that applies to lì and là.
Qui indicates something close to the person that is speaking and is more accurate and specific than qua.
Let’s have look at some examples:
|Qui si mangia bene
|One eats well here (referring to a smaller or specific place)
|Likely pointing to a specific location, like one’s home
|Qua si mangia bene
|One eats well here (referring to a wider or more general place)
|Likely referring to a broader location, like a city/country
Common Italian expressions with “qui” and “qua”
vieni qui/qua – come here
mettilo qui/qua – put it here
qua/qui dentro – in here
qua/qui sotto – under here