ONDE and AONDE – What’s the difference?

A lot of people confuse onde and aonde – including Brazilians!

In this post you’ll learn the exact difference between them so that you will always know when to use onde and aonde.

If you’ve been studying Portuguese for a while you should know that onde means where:

Onde você mora?

Where do you live?

O escritório onde eu trabalho é muito pequeno.

The office where I work is very small.

Aonde  should be used when movement to a place is involved, therefore it’s often used with verbs that denote movement, such as ir (to go), chegar (to arrive), levar (to take something somewhere – also see post Verbs TRAZER and LEVAR).

The a before aonde is a preposition that means to,as we’ve seen in another post: Portuguese Prepositions with Verbs of Movement  

Aonde você foi ontem?

Where did you go yesterday?

Aonde você quer chegar com tanta pressa?

Lit.: Where do you want to get to in such a hurry?

In colloquial conversation it’s relatively common for Brazilians to use onde and aonde interchangeably – however, it’s often frowned upon. I personally think you shouldn’t use them interchangeably – it’s really not that difficult to know when to use one or the other, so I would recommend that you do try and use them correctly.

However, it’s not the end of the world you mix them up, it’s not something that will have a major impact on you being understood.

So, here’s a test for you. Complete with either onde or aonde

How many did you get right? Let me know in the comments! Boa sorte!

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