Afuera vs Fuera: Spanish Adverbs of Position
The afuera vs fuera question in Spanish is a slightly tricky one. You may use either word to indicate that someone is going outside (or abroad).
Fortunately, the grammatical rules are pretty clear cut when it comes to using afuera vs fuera!
Keep reading to learn all about how to use afuera vs fuera, as well as other similar adverbs of position and direction. You’ll also discover how to use afuera and fuera as commands—and fuera as a subjunctive verb conjugation for ir (“to go”) and ser (“to be”).
Vení, vamos afuera.
Come, let’s go outside.
Spanish Adverbs of Position and Direction
Other Spanish adverbs similar to afuera vs fuera exist. This post explains how to choose between these Spanish adverbs.
In – adentro vs dentro
Out – afuera vs fuera
Forward – adelante vs delante
Back – atrás vs detrás
Above – arriba vs encima
Below – abajo vs debajo
Rather than directly translating these Spanish adverbs, aim to learn when to use them based on the situation and context.
With regard to afuera vs fuera, a common misconception is that fuera means “out” and afuera means “outside.” However, the example sentences below both agree with and reverse this pattern.
Hay un pájaro carpintero fuera de mi ventana.
There is a woodpecker outside my window.
No está Gloria en casa. Ella está fuera.
Gloria is not home. She is out.
Hoy hay mucha gente afuera.
There are lots of people out today.
I’m going outside.
El perro y el gato están afuera.
The cat and the dog are outside.
Adverbs of Position in Relation to Another Object
To say that one object is above another (or below, in front of, behind, etc.) you use the adverb without an –a- at the beginning.
In other words, we require fuera, dentro, delante, detrás, encima, and debajo in this context.
Remember that the preposition de and the item to which you are comparing comes after the adverb.
Hay un gatito dentro de esta caja.
There is a kitten inside of this box.
Tu bicicleta está delante del mío.
Your bike is in front of mine.
Voy a poner este libro encima del otro.
I’m going to put this book on top of the other one.
El agua no está clara, no puedes ver lo que hay debajo (del agua).
The water’s not clear, you can’t see what’s underneath.
Adverbs of Direction with Movement
In most of these situations, you’ll want to use the adverbs starting with a—afuera, adentro, delante, atrás, arriba, and abajo.
Imagine the adverb afuera as the contraction of a + fuera when you combine with verbs of movement such as ir and volver.
Voy + a + fuera = Voy afuera
Vuelvo adentro porque hace demasiado frío.
I’m going back inside because it’s too cold.
Sé que es mucho trabajo, pero tenemos que seguir adelante.
I know it’s a lot of work but we need to keep moving forward.
Si tienes miedo a las alturas, ¡no mires abajo!
If you are afraid of heights, don’t look down!
Adverbs of Orientation
Here, instead of saying that one object is above or below another, we simply want to refer to “something below” or “something above” without directly referring to another object.
With adverbs of orientation, de generally goes before the adverb.
¿Escuchaste un ruido de abajo?
Did you hear a noise from below?
Esta casualidad es una señal de arriba.
This coincidence is a sign from above.
La verdadera felicidad viene de adentro.
True happiness comes from within.
Ellos viven en las afueras de Guadalajara.
They live on the outskirts of Guadalajara.
Afuera vs Fuera to Indicate a Condition
To indicate that someone or something is outside or to refer to the outside world, you use fuera in both Spain and Latin America. However, it is also common to use afuera in Latin American Spanish.
¡Qué lindo que está afuera! El clima está divino.
How nice it is outside! The weather is divine.
Me gusta vivir afuera de la ciudad.
I like living outside the city.
Su caso está fuera de jurisdicción federal.
His case is out of federal jurisdiction.
Durante la cuarentena, no se puede ir afuera de la casa.
During the quarantine, you can’t go outside (out of the house).
Afuera vs Fuera as Commands
Both afuera and fuera serve as interjections. They are generally reserved for asking someone to leave a place.
¡Suficiente, fuera de mi casa!
Enough, out of my house!
Idiomatic Expressions with Fuera
Several idiomatic expressions in Spanish use the word fuera.
Esa mujer vive fuera de la realidad.
That woman lives outside of reality.
La ropa de Juan Carlos está fuera de moda.
Juan Carlos’ clothes are out of fashion.
No hay nada fuera de lo normal aquí.
There isn’t anything out of the ordinary here.
Ricardo nos está visitando de fuera. Es de Cuba.
Ricardo is visiting us from abroad. He is from Cuba.
A los de fuera les sorprende.
People who aren’t from here find it strange.
Keep in Mind: Fuera is a Verb Form
You may see the word fuera as a verb and that’s because it’s the imperfect subjunctive form of ser and ir in the first and third person. While it looks identical, it has no relation to the adverb fuera.
Si yo fuera él, aceptaría el trabajo. (Ser)
If I were him, I would take the job.
Si yo fuera con ella, nos divertiremos. (Ir)
If I went with her, we would have fun.
Si Antonio fuera español, hablaría el castellano. (Ser)
If Antonio was Spanish, he would speak Castilian.
Si Antonio fuera a España, visitaría Barcelona primero. (Ir)
If Antonio went to Spain, he would visit Barcelona first.
Practice Speaking Spanish!
Excellent work! You’ve learned about afuera vs fuera and identified when to use these and other Spanish adverbs of position.
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