5 Vote

If I want to say ‘Under the table’ is it ‘Abajo de la mesa’ or ‘Debajo de la mesa’ ?

  • Posted Sep 4, 2009
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5 Vote

"Abajo", formed with the directional preposition "a", can indicate motion towards a lower position, but also a position that it is relatively lower to any other reference.

"Debajo", formed with de- plus bajo, indicates a position that it is immediately below another. In most cases, it is followed by "de" to indicate below which thing or person we are referring to (eg. debajo de la mesa).

For example, "Están abajo" means "They are down there", but "Están debajo", we are saying that "They are below (something)", where this "something" can be implicitly stated. With "debajo", they are RIGHT below some given reference point, such as a floor.

"Vamos abajo" means "We're going down" (we don't know how deep), but "Vamos debajo" would make you wonder: "Under... what?" (debajo de... ¿qué?)

  • So.... is this somewhat like the "ir" vs. "irse" difference? "Abajo" generally does not need a "destination" while "debajo" does? - Nick-Cortina Sep 4, 2009 flag
  • I think it is just a coincidence, but the idea is similar. "Debajo" requires a reference point below which something is placed, whereas "abajo" can be anywhere lower than your reference point. - lazarus1907 Sep 4, 2009 flag
  • great answer:) - 00b055e0 May 29, 2014 flag
1 Vote

Hi MIke, good question, as I just found this I was not aware of:

abajo de. 1. loc. prepos. desus. Debajo de, al pie de. En muchos lugares de América, u. c. coloq.

Which means this is everyday use in American countries, however in Spain it would be considerred incorrect. Abajo is an adverb of place.

Debajo de is a preposition, so in your sentence this is the one to use.

0 Vote

I looked these two up, and debajo looked to be the better of the two.

0 Vote

Is it below the table or beneath (underneath) the table? Which would you pick?

debajo de=underneath

[abajo=under as in below (lower than) abajo=downstairs (lower than where I am now)]

In some contexts they are interchangeable.

  • 3 out of 3 said the same thing. That's rare for this site. - 0074b507 Sep 4, 2009 flag
0 Vote

Well, quen, not so surprising, after all 2 out of three are Spanish.

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