22.4. onde where

The interrogative adverb onde ask for the place where an object is located, para onde / aonde asks for the place an object mouves to and de onde / donde ask for the place an object comes from. All these interrogative adverbs can be used as well in a metaphorical sense: Where is the world heading?

(For those who speak Spanish: Donde is a trap. No, it doesn't mean where as in Spanish, because the Spanish dónde means simply where. The Portuguese donde means from where.)

onde where
Onde moras?
Where do you live?
Onde você está?
Where are you?
Onde você vai ficar?
Where will you stay?
Onde sua mãe trabalha?
Where does your mother works?
Onde iremos jantar esta noite?*
Where we will have dinner this evening?
Onde você colocou minha chave?
Where did you put my keys?

* Iremos doesn't describe a mouvement here and therefore the sentence doesn't describe a mouvement to a place. Iremos is here simply part of a verbal phrase and expresses future.

English doesn't distinguish between a statical position and a mouvement to a place: Where are you ? <=> Where do you go? In Portuguese a distinction is to be made.

aonde where
Aonde você vai?
Where do you go?
Não sabes aonde ir?
You don't know where to go?
Aonde devo ir para resolver esse problema?
Where I must go to resolve this problem?

There is a subtle difference between para onde and aonde. There is preference for para onde if the mouvement to a place is definitive, in other words if someone goes there to stay there for a long time.

para onde
Para onde ele se mudou?
Where did he move to?
Para onde vão as almas das pessoas depois que elas morrem?
Where do the souls of the men go after they had died?
Para onde vai a luz quando se apaga ?
Where does the light goes after we have switched it off?
Para onde vai Portugal?
Where is Portugal heading?

There is no difference between donde and de onde, although donde is considered a little bit colloquial. However there is a very big difference between the Spanish dónde and the Portuguese donde. The Spanish dónde means simply where and the Portuguese donde means from where.

de onde / donde woher
Donde vocês vieram?
Where do you come from?
De onde você vem?
Where do you come from?

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