For instance, here refers to something that is near by, whereas there and refers to something that has some distance to it. Is there a word that describes this in grammar? Another example could be this and that: this implies closeness, and that implies distance.

A non-English example could be how - in Spanish - aquí / acá refer to something close (they are approximate to here in English) and allí / ahí / allá refer to something far off (approximate to there). Spanish also has este and ese, which translate literally to this and that.

  • Are you requesting a word that describes how close to grammatically correct a sentence is? Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 19:57

2 Answers 2


These are deixis categories.

Here and there are examples the deixis category of place.

This and that fall into the deixis category of discourse.

  • 1
    Yes. And this and that exhibit, respectively, proximal and distal deixis. Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 22:58
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    – rajah9
    Commented Apr 2, 2015 at 17:45

A clarification on the Spanish example (note, I am not at all fluent in Spanish):

  • aquí means here
  • allí means there (nearby but not quite "here")
  • allá means way over there (farther than nearby)

I can recall my Spanish teacher speaking and gesticulating:

¡aquí!  *points to the table he's standing by*,
¡allí!    *points at the middle of the classroom*,
¡allá!   *waves at the back of the room*

In English, we do not have a common word to refer to "way over there." We just have "there," which means "farther away than here."

See @rajah9's answer for the grammar portion of this question.

  • Please use comments or chat to provide clarifications, and only use the Your Answer box to answer the original question.
    – choster
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 22:12
  • @choster, it started that way, but it was too long. My original skimming of the question was that it was asking about the difference between allí and allá and if English has a similar pair of terms. That question better fits the single-word-requests tag. I answered that question even though the question is actually asking for a grammatical construct.
    – Adam Katz
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 23:12

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