Difference Between Donde and Adonde

Main Difference – Donde vs. Adonde

Donde and adonde are two words that are used in the Spanish language to indicate the concept of where. These two forms are often very confusing and many Spanish learners as well native speakers do not always clearly distinguish the difference between donde and adonde.  The main difference between donde and adonde is that donde can be translated into English as where while adonde can be translated as to where or where to. Consequently, donde refers to a location whereas adonde refers to a direction.

What Does Donde Mean

Donde functions as a relative pronoun that follows a noun or a preposition. It is equivalent to where in the English language. In some cases, donde can be also translated as which or in which. It is important to note that donde is always used to refer to a location. When compared to adonde, donde indicates the location of a stationary object as it does not indicate any movement. Therefore, it can be seen with verbs that do not imply any movement. For example,

Es la casa donde nació mi padre.

(It’s the house where my father was born.)

Las escrituras son el espejo donde vemos el alma.

(The scriptures are the mirror in which we see the soul.)

In both these examples, donde is used to indicate a location and does not indicate any movement.

Dónde can be defined as the interrogative form of donde. Dónde can be used in questions, indirect questions and exclamations.

¿De dónde eres tú? 

(Where are you from?)

¿dónde estuviste anoche? 

(Where were you last night?)

Difference Between Donde and Adonde

¿adónde va? – Where is he going?

What Does Adonde Mean

Adonde is a variant of donde. Adonde can be loosely translated into English as to where or where to. Adonde indicates a movement. It is typically followed by a location or a verb that indicate motion. For example, consider the phrase,

el lugar adonde se dirigían – the place they were going to or the place to which they were heading

Here, adonde is followed by the verb dirigir which indicates a movement.

Adónde is the interrogative form of adonde. It is used to form questions.

¿adónde vamos?

(where are we going?)

Main Difference - Donde vs Adonde

¿Dónde está ella? – Where is she?

Difference Between Donde and Adonde

English Equivalent

Donde can be translated as where

Adonde can be translated as to where

Grammatical Function

Donde functions as a relative pronoun.

Adonde functions as a relative adverb.

Reference

Donde refers to a location

Adonde refers to the direction.

Followed by

Donde is generally followed by a noun or a preposition.

Adonde is generally followed by a location and a verb of motion.

Interrogation

Dónde is the interrogative form of donde.

Adónde is the interrogative form of adonde.

Interrogative meaning 

Dónde is generally used to ask where someone or something is

Adónde is generally used to ask where someone is going.Difference Between Donde and Adonde - infographic

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