I recall being confused in Spanish class by the three-way system of aquí, ahí and allí. In theory, ahí is used when refering to something near the listener. In reality, ahí is frequently heard in several fixed expressions with specific communicative functions.

  • Por ahí va (la cosa). Yes, that’s the point I’m trying to make. Now you see what I’m getting at.
  • Por ahí. Somewhere (unspecified). ¿Y dónde andabas? Where have you been? Por ahí, por ahí. I’ve been out. It is common to say the expression twice, pronouncing ahí as a single syllable rather than as two.
  • Ahí está. Ahí está, te lo dije. You see? Just as I said.
  • Ahí va. It’s going okay. ¿Cómo va el trabajo? How’s work going? Pues ahí va.. So far, so good. Nothing to write home about.
  • Ahí voy, ahí voy. I’m on my way!
  • Ahí te espero. I’ll see you there.
  • Ahí nos vemos. See you later. This can be said even when there is no specific plan to see each other again. I’ve even heard this when the plan was to never see each other again.
  • Ahí te ves. Good-bye. The humorous version, si tienes tele, ahí te ves, plays on the fact that te ves is pronounced like TVs.
  • Ahí muere. Let’s drop it. That’s enough already. This nonsense stops here and now.
  • Ahí te va. Catch!
  • Ahí te voy. Scoot over. Move. Cómper. Estorbas.
  • De ahí. From/after the situation just mentioned. Me violaron y de ahí nació el niño. They raped me; that’s where the baby comes from. (movie dialogue) This can also be more literal: Voy a los tacos y de ahí a mi casa. I’m going to the taco place and then home.
  • Ahí vas. And then you do something you shouldn’t. Me dijo que no le iba a hablar y ahí va a hablarle. He said he wasn’t going to talk to here and then he did exactly that. Tú me habías prometido y ahí vas de chismosa. You went and did exactly what you said you wouldn’t.

Note that all of these expressions start with ahí or a preposition followed by ahí.