Very often my students ask me what’s the difference in Italian between two words that most of the times are actually synonyms.
Sometimes there really is a difference of nuance, so it can be a stylistic choice given by the context or emphasis the speaker wants.
So what is actually the difference between Qua and Qui, Là and Lì?
Qua / Qui = here
Là / Lì = there
The two can be interchangable and Italians do tend to use them interchangably, but if we are to be very precise, both qui and lì are more specific and emphatic, so that…
Vieni qui = come here (right now, or I really need you to come here)
Vieni qua = come here (normal, mild request)
Vai subito lì = you go there now
Vai là = just… go there
Let’s sum it up:
Qua / Là = undefined places, close (qua) to me, or far from me (là)
Qui / Lì = defined places, close (qui) to me, or far from me (lì)
How do you use these adverbs? Interchangably or not? Let me know your thoughts in the comments 🙂