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Quick answer
"Donde" is an adverb which is often translated as "where", and "en la que" is a phrase which is often translated as "in which". Learn more about the difference between "donde" and "en la que" below.
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
1. (indicating place)
a. where
Estoy en el restaurante donde comimos el otro día.I'm at the restaurant where we ate the other day.
b. wherever
Sal a donde quieras. A mí no me importa.Go wherever you want. I don't care.
A conjunction is a word that connects words, phrases, clauses, or sentences (e.g. The cat and the dog slept.).
2. (indicating place)
a. where
A él no le gusta jugar al béisbol donde no hay cancha.He doesn't like to play baseball where there is no field.
A preposition is a word that indicates the relationship between a noun and another word (e.g. He ran through the door.).
3. (indicating place)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
Se van a reunir todos los primos donde tu tía para cenar.All the cousins will gather at your aunt's for dinner.
¿Nos vemos donde el teatro del otro día?Shall we meet by the theater we went to the other day?
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en la que(
A phrase is a group of words commonly used together (e.g once upon a time).
1. (general)
a. in which (thing)
Fue una reunión en la que todo el mundo tuvo oportunidad de expresar su opinión.It was a meeting in which everyone had a chance to express their views.
b. on which (thing)
La llanura en la que descansa la ciudad está recorrida por dos ríos.Two rivers run through the plain on which the city stands.
c. in whom (person)
Elisa es una persona en la que confío plenamente.Elisa is a person in whom I fully trust.
d. where (place)
La pensión en la que estuvimos estaba muy limpia, y los dueños eran muy amables.The guesthouse where we stayed was very clean, and the owners were really nice.
e. when (time)
Estuve en Barcelona durante la semana en la que tuvo lugar la feria, y los hoteles estaban llenos.I was in Barcelona during the week when the fair took place, and the hotels were full.
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
La fiesta en la que estuvimos anoche fue muy animada.The party we went to last night was very lively.
Ya sabes la trampa en la que me vi metido por creerme lo que ella me dijo.You know the trap I found myself in just because I believed what she said.
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