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Quick answer
"Detrás de" is a preposition which is often translated as "behind", and "atrás de" is a phrase which is often translated as "behind the". Learn more about the difference between "detrás de" and "atrás de" below.
detrás de(
deh
-
trahs
 
deh
)
A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun and another word (e.g. He ran through the door.).
1. (general)
a. behind
Los motivos detrás de sus acciones son claros.The motives behind her actions are clear.
b. after
¿Quién es Celia? - Es la muchacha detrás de Felipe en la fila.Who is Celia? - She's the girl after Felipe in line.
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atrás de(
ah
-
trahs
 
deh
)
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
phrase
1. (general)
a. behind the
Atrás de la estantería hay una puerta secreta.Behind the bookcase there's a hidden door.
b. at the back of
Atrás de la casa hay un gran roble.At the back of the house there's a big oak tree.
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