How to Use 'Dentro' and 'Fuera'

'Adentro' and 'Afuera' Common in Latin America

view from window
¿Qué ves fuera de la ventana? (What are you seeing outside the window?). Photo by Juantiagues; licensed via Creative Commons.

Dentro and fuera are common adverbs of place usually meaning "inside" and "outside," respectively. Their use can differ significantly from their English counterparts.

As is the case with many adverbs, dentro and fuera can be used directly to modify the meanings of verbs:

  • Nieva fuera, y yo tengo que salir. It's snowing outside, and I have to leave.
  • Si no tienes ningún tipo de lesión nuestra recomendación es siempre correr fuera. If you don't have any type of injury, our recommendation is to always run outside.
  • Prefiero quedarme dentro. I prefer to stay inside.
  • Los billetes de bus se compran dentro en los mostradores de cada compañía. The bus tickets are sold indoors at the counters of each company.

Far more common, though, are the phrases "dentro de" and "fuera de," which function as prepositions:

  • El gato está más seguro dentro de la casa, pero disfruta mirando al exterior. The cat is safer inside the house, but he enjoys looking outside.
  • ¿Qué ves fuera de la ventana de tu cuarto? What are you seeing outside the window of your room?
  • Dentro del barco hay un servicio médico por cualquier emergencia. On the boat there is a medical service for any emergency.
  • Gracias a Sara por el hermoso mural que pintó dentro de mi oficina. Thanks to Sara for the beautiful mural she painted in my office.
  • Sin causa aparente, comencé a flotar fuera de mi cuerpo físico. For no apparent reason, I began to float outside my physical body.
  • Google inició un proyecto piloto que permitirá al público ver dentro de las tiendas y negocios que aparezcan en sus mapas online. Google launched a pilot project that will allow the public to look inside the stores and businesses that appear on its online maps.

Dentro and fuera can also follow some prepositions:

  • Estos videos muestran las casas de millonarios por dentro. These videos show the inside of millionaires' houses.
  • Este teléfono es elegante por fuera, duro por dentro. This phone is elegant on the outside, durable on the inside.
  • Pablo lo observó desde dentro de la cabina de vuelo. Pablo observed it from inside the cockpit.
  • Todas las estrellas de fuera del plano galáctico parecen ser muy antiguas. All the stars outside the galactic plane appear to be very ancient.

Dentro and fuera are frequently used figuratively:

  • El gol fue anulado a Pedro por fuera de juego. Pedro's goal was ruled invalid after the game.
  • Es un lugar muy dentro de mi alma. It's a place deep within my soul.
  • Un abuelo es viejo por afuera y joven por dentro. A grandfather is old on the outside and young on the inside.

In most of Latin America, the variations adentro and afuera are common, especially in colloquial usage, and are sometimes preferred.

  • Mi perro duerme afuera en una casita. My dog sleeps outside in a doghouse.
  • Vivimos y trabajamos adentro. We live and work indoors.
  • El joven ingles de 29 años desde hace algunos días vive afuera de una tienda de Apple en Londres. The 29-year-old Englishman has been living for days outside an Apple store in London.
  • Enamórate por lo de adentro, no por lo de afuera. Love yourself for what's on the inside, not what's on the outside.


Sources: Sample sentences are adopted from a variety of online sources, most of them written by native speakers. Among those used in this lesson were: El Tiempo de la Marmota, Michelin, mx.Yahoo.com, es.Yahoo.com, Muy Interesante, Gatos.about.com, Nueva Mente, El Club de las Embarazadas, NASA.gov, YouTube, MiPuebloGH, Tecnología21, Casas de Famosos, Xataka, Noticias de la Ciencia y Tecnología, Taringa.net.

Format
mla apa chicago
Your Citation
Erichsen, Gerald. "How to Use 'Dentro' and 'Fuera'." ThoughtCo, Mar. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/how-to-use-dentro-and-fuera-3079131. Erichsen, Gerald. (2017, March 2). How to Use 'Dentro' and 'Fuera'. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-use-dentro-and-fuera-3079131 Erichsen, Gerald. "How to Use 'Dentro' and 'Fuera'." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-use-dentro-and-fuera-3079131 (accessed January 17, 2018).