Adentro or dentro? Abajo or debajo? Learn these tricky Spanish word pairs

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Learning the difference between two words that seem the same.

If you want to learn Spanish, you will soon encounter some words that are very similar to each other, but it’s important to know the difference. At Confidence Learning Services, we help people communicate clearly in Spanish, and we’ve noticed some problem words that pop up with many learners. Let’s take a look.

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Learn Spanish – Adentro vs Dentro

“Adentro” means “inside” and is typically used as an adverb relating to motion that is going towards the inside of something.

Iremos adentro en unos minutos.

Vete adentro, luego voy yo. 

“Dentro” can also mean “inside” or “within”, and is usually used to describe the location of something that is not related to movement.

El regalo está dentro de la caja. 

Lo encontré dentro de la cubeta.

El caucho de repuesto está dentro de la maletera de mi carro. 


Learn Spanish – Abajo vs Debajo

“Abajo” can indicate motion towards a lower position, but also a position that it is relatively lower to any other reference.

La canoa iba rio abajo empujada por la corriente. 

Echaron la casa abajo. 

Se tendió. boca abajo.

“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).

Encontraron sus regalos debajo del arbol de Navidad. 

Ese vecino vive debajo. 


Learn Spanish – Afuera vs Fuera

“Afuera” (again, our adverb beginning with “a-“) means “outside”, and refers primarily to motion going towards the exterior, although it can also mean “outside” in general.

Vamos afuera a tomar el aire. 

Hay mucha gente afuera.

“Fuera” also means “outside”, and although “afuera” and “fuera” can sometimes be used interchangeably, typically “fuera” refers to something not in motion.

Sal fuera un momento, por favor.

Has dejado la leche fuera de la nevera.

So, do you have any questions about Spanish vocabulary? Schedule your free Spanish consultation today, and get one-on-one time with a highly-qualified instructor, and ask any question you want! Contact us today at 1-865-226-9477.