Un trocito de Real Spanish: ¿«Fuera» o «afuera»? ¿«Dentro» o «adentro»?

Do you know when to say «fuera» or «afuera»? Unfortunately, even some native speakers choose the wrong form from time to time. In this video, Virginia helps you to decide which to use. 

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Are you unsure about when to use «fuera» or «afuera»? I’m not surprised, even native speakers don’t agree about when we use these adverbs of space.

Normally with verbs of movement (towards the exterior/outside) both forms can be used, especially in Spain. For example, we can say, «Si tienes calor, sal fuera/afuera».

With verbs that describe state or situation, such as «estar», or with the meaning “outside, in the exterior”, «fuera» is usually used in Spain. However, in Latin America «afuera» is more commonly used.

Estamos fuera, en el jardín. (España)

Estamos afuera, en el jardín.  (Latinoamérica)

Los niños juegan fuera, en la calle. (España)

Los niños juegan afuera, en la calle. (Latinoamérica)


It’s the same with the adverbs «dentro» and «adentro». With verbs of movement «adentro» is used, with the meaning of  “towards the interior/inside”, although when it’s used with a preposition it’s preferable to use «dentro».  Look at these two examples:

El camarero nos llevó adentro del restaurante.

Caminamos hacia dentro de la cueva.


In Latin America «adentro» is usually used, even with prepositions, but is avoided in formal or educated speech. For example, «El hombre puso la maleta adentro del armario». (colloquial)

With verbs that describe state or situation it’s more common to use «dentro» with the meaning of “inside; the interior part”, especially in Spain. For example, «Estamos dentro, en la casa». However, in Latin America it’s also common to use «adentro» with the same meaning:  Estamos adentro, en la casa.

But when it’s followed by the preposition «de», it’s always better to use «dentro»: «El abrigo está dentro del armario».

By the way, have you heard the expression «de puertas afuera»? For example, «Se comporta muy bien de puertas afuera», which means “he/she behaves well in public” but maybe not «de puertas adentro», which means “in private, at home”

That’s all for today, but did you know you can get a transcription, in English or Spanish, in our blog? Click below to get it. There are also some links if you want more examples of the use of «fuera» or «afuera» and «dentro» or «adentro».

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