Hola! I am a little confused on when to use adonde vs. when to use donde, especially in questions. For example: - ¿Where are you going? - ¿Where is the man? and if anyone can think of any other useful examples, they would be much appreciated!

  • Posted Jun 21, 2011
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  • thank you so much, everyone! - tford14 Jun 29, 2011

4 Answers



My understanding is that donde means "where", but adonde means "to where". Use adonde when "to where" or "where to" would make sense in English.

Where is the cat? -- ¿Donde está el gato?

Where are you going? -- ¿Adonde vas? (because "To where" would make sense)

  • ¿Dónde esta...? ¿ Adónde vas? - 0074b507 Jun 21, 2011


Your two examples are perfect. "A" indicates direction. It also means "to."

To where are you going? ¿Adónde vas?

Where is the man? ¿Dónde está el hombre?

If there is no indication of direction to something/somewhere, than use "donde."

  • Jun 21, 2011
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For adonde I think it is conventional that adonde indicates movement and donde indicates location without intended movement, as in it is already there, it isn't going anywhere at the moment. However for other words with a behind the word it is often the case that the rules for it either don't exist, as in they are interchangeable, or the rules are regional, as in they are used differently in, say for example, Panama than Spain.

Here is a response I've given to another thread about a different type of "a" versus no "a" thread.

According to this thread.

The a added to words like this seem to be most often used to indicate movement.

If you were going outside, you would use afuera. If you were going inside, you would use adentro.

If you are inside you would use dentro. If you are outside you would use fuera.

However it seems to be used differently in Latin America vs. Spain.

According to our moderator Heidita afuera is rarely used in Spain.

Se viene a usar igual cuando es adverbio, en España no se usa apenas afuera, con el sentido de fuera.

Básicamente no veo la diferencia. Mira las definiciones el la RAE.

Tu frase: ...que trabajar fuera del hogar (en España sería más usual, quizás también sea regional en España, no estoy segura)

However, it should be noted. In general the a a the beginning of words such as "adentro, afuera, adonde" indicate movement.

As our valued member Lazuras1907 has said before, in this case in reference to another member named james:

Keep in mind that these are used differently in Latin America and Spain. In Spain, the tendency is to use afuera with motion verbs, the same way that adonde is used, and to use fuera with state verbs. Estoy fuera (I'm outside), voy afuera (I'm going outside). But in Latin America, afuera is used for both.

I would use afuera in your context, but let's wait and see what others say.

Es lo que dice James: antaño, muchos adverbios tenían una versión con una a- inicial para indicar movimiento, mientras que la versión sin la a- se usaba para situaciones estáticas. En España se usan más o menos aún así, aunque no todo el mundo sigue esta regla, y muchos usan las versiones sin a- también con verbos de movimiento, y viceversa, aunque esto último es más frecuente en América (p. ej., usar 'fuera' en ambos casos). En cualquier caso, las versiones con a- están sujetas a ciertas restricciones, como por ejemplo en la formación de ciertas locuciones, como "afuera de aquí" o "adelante de ti", que resultan inaceptables para la mayoría de los hablantes, y no se recomiendan en el lenguaje esmerado.

  • Jun 21, 2011
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They are very similar, and in most cases you can use both.

¿Dónde estás?

¿Adónde estás?

That said, I prefer "adónde" whith verbs like ir, which imply a certain movement, or translation.

¿Adónde me llevan?

¿Adónde fuiste el fin de semana?

And I prefer "donde" with verbs like estar, which do not imply movement:

¿Dónde vives?

¿Dónde queda el aeropuerto?

¿Dónde venden cerveza?

  • Jun 21, 2011
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