Many times I am asked during my Italian online lessons if there is any difference between the two of them, well there is, even though is a small one.
Both là and lì means there and are indicating something that is far from the person that is speaking.
However, while là indicates something that is far from the person who is speaking and more approximate, lì indicates something that is far from the individual who is speaking BUT with less approximation, in short, lì is more accurate than là.
Also, 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 LA’ and LI’
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: futher on (space), later on (time)
essere di là (to be somewhere else)
Qui and Qua both 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.
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)
da quando in qua? (since when)