Lì or là? Qui or qua? Is there any difference between them?

 
If you have even felt confused whether using or là and qui or qua, when speaking in Italian, this post is for you!
 
Let’s get straight to the point…
 
is there really any difference between and là or qui and qua? The answer is, yes and no.
 
When during my Italian online lessons, the students ask me if there is any difference between the two of them, I answer yes, there is a difference, but is a small one.
 
Lì / Là
 
First and foremost, both and means there and are indicating something that is far from the person that is speaking.

However, whereas  indicates something that is far from the person who is speaking and more approximate,   indicates something that is far from the individual who is speaking BUT with less approximation.  In short,   is more accurate than là.

In addition to this,  lì and là often appear in spoken Italian together with the pronoun quello meaning ‘that one over there’.

  • Chi è quello là ? – Who is that one there?

popular expressions with LÀ and LÌ

  • 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 / Qua

Both qui and qua means here (in this place), and follow the same rule that applies for lì and là.

Qui indicates something close to the person that is speaking and is more accurate than qua.

For instance, if I say:

Qui si mangia bene, I am probably referring to my place, my house (thus a smaller or more specific place)
Qua si mangia bene , I am probably referring to my city or country (thus a wider or more general place)

Qui and qua often appears in spoken Italian with the pronoun questo.

  • Chi è questa qua ? – Who is this one?

Popular 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)

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