Lì and là? Qui and qua? The Difference.

What is the difference between lì and là or qui or qua?

If you have ever felt confused about whether to use 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 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 and  mean there. They indicate something which is far from the person who is speaking. The only small difference is that “” is more accurate than ““. In other words, means there, just like does, but in a less accurate way.

Let’s look at some practical examples:

ItalianEnglishContext/Explanation
c’era una fontana una voltaThere was a fountain specifically there oncePointing to a specific location with emphasis
non c’era niente 20 anniThere 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:

ItalianEnglishContext/Explanation
Qui si mangia beneOne eats well here (referring to a smaller or specific place)Likely pointing to a specific location, like one’s home
Qua si mangia beneOne 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

About the Author

Serena Capilli

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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Ciao, I'm Serena!

I’m the creative force behind both this blog and my collection of short stories in simple Italian for language learners, available on Amazon.

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