Japanese 215 - Indicating proximity with こちら, そちら, あちら and どちら

You've already learned the word これ to refer to something close to the speaker, それ to refer to something close to the listener, and あれ to refer to something away from both the speaker and the listener.

In a formal setting, an alternative is to use こちら instead of これ, そちら instead of それ, and あちら instead of あれ.

However, when referring to things, it's more common to use これ, それ and あれ.

The other main difference is that you can use こちら, そちら and あちら to talk about people and directions, whereas これ, それ, and あれ cannot be used to refer to people or directions.

You can also use こちら, そちら and あちら instead of ここ, そこ and あそこ, and even instead of この, その and あの, if you place the particle after them.

And of course, to complete the set, there's どちら as well, meaning exactly what you'd expect.