Determiners and Pronouns

Determiners and Pronouns

To master Portuguese, it is essential that we tackle determiners. In this unit, we will be looking at a few types of determiners: definite and indefinite articles, demonstrative determiners, indefinite determiners, interrogative determiners, and possessive determiners.
Before we delve into the different types of determiners, it is important to learn how to differentiate between determiners and pronouns, which can sometimes seem tricky – but really isn’t, as we’ve shown before! In order to do this, we must first look at what a determiner is and does, and what a pronoun is and does. We’ve had a look at pronouns in previous units, so consider this a short refresher course.
Determiners (determinantes) are words that are always placed in front of a noun (substantivo) that specify what that noun refers to, or what it’s linked with in a sentence. Pronouns (pronomes), on the other hand, are words that replace other words altogether. Examples:
O meu carro é muito rápido! My car is very fast!
O dela também! So is hers!
In the first sentence, “meu” is placed before “carro”, linking both words together and describing how the car is connected to something or someone else. This makes it a determiner. In the second sentence, “dela” replaces the word “carro” completely. This makes it a pronoun.
And always remember our handy rule of thumb: if you think it’s a determiner and it comes before a noun, it’s a determiner. If you think it’s a determiner but there’s no noun, it’s a pronoun. Simple!

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