lá, ali, aí – saying THERE in Portuguese

lá, ali, aí saying "there" in portuguese

I didn't learn how to use the 3 ways of saying there in Portuguese until I'd been in Brazil for several years. That changed suddenly when talking on the phone I said, Como vai lá? Silence followed. It was as if I had said, Como vai lá em Londres?.

Oh! Você quer dizer, Como vai aqui? Bem... Estou bem!

That was the eventual response. If you ask a Brazilian OVER THE TELEPHONE how it's going . It doesn't really compute. It's like you are asking them how it's going in some other place far, far away. The correct there to use is aí.

THERE in Portuguese : visualized

aí, ali, lá

aí: where the listener is.
ali: within eyesight
lá: out of sight

lá: out of sight

This is the one you already know. Use it to talk about there that is somewhere else - where neither you nor you audience is physically located.

Você mora lá na Califórnia? ➜ Do you live there in California?
Eu vou para lá visitar minha tia. ➜ I'm going there to visit my aunt.
É lá na outra rua. ➜ It's over there on the other street.

*You can use lá to express there for all situations by default. You_will be understood but, you're making it clear that you're just a beginner. When you start to use ali and especially , you're on your way to fluency in the language.

More great examples of how lá is really used in Portuguese.

The Course

Let us tell you a story.

It's free to start. No commitment. Cancel anytime. 🧑🏼‍🔬.

ali: within eyesight

Pointing out a restaurant on the other side of the street; that table against the wall; the Tesla X driving in the fast lane.

Vamos ali no outro lado da rua. ➜ Let's go there to the other side of the street.
Você está vendo elles ali, perto do hotel? ➜ Are you seeing them there, close to the hotel?

aí: where the listener is.

Of the 3 ways to say THERE in Portuguese, is the one that trips everyone up!

So for example, asking someone on the other end of the phoneline about there, use aí. Like this:

Como está aí? ➜ How is it there?

Or, they could be in the same room:

Você quer sentar na cadeira aí? ➜ Do you want to sit in the chair there?

They could even be right next to you:

O que você tem na sua mão aí? ➜ What have you got in your hand there?

Saying there in Portuguese

» From our online Portuguese course.