Determiners – Definite and Indefinite Articles

Determiners – Definite and Indefinite Articles

In this lesson, we’ll explore Portuguese definite and indefinite articles. Articles (artigos) are small words that precede and define a noun. In Portuguese, articles always agree in gender and number with the noun they’re defining.

Definite Articles

Definite articles (artigos definidos) are determiners used to indicate that a thing or person is unique in some way, i.e., we’re referring to a specific and well-defined thing. Therefore, they always correspond to the English “the”. There are four definite articles: o for masculine, a for feminine, and their plural versions, os and as respectively.

O, Os

The article o is used for masculine things or persons in the singular, and os is used for masculine things or persons in the plural. Examples:
O casaco azul é novo. The blue jacket is new.
Os bosques de Sintra são fantásticos. The woods of Sintra are fantastic.

A, As

The article a is used for feminine things or persons in the singular, and as is used for feminine things or persons in the plural. Examples:
A casa da esquina é nova? Is the house one the corner new?
As garrafas ficam arrumadas ali. The bottles are stored over there.

Indefinite Articles

Indefinite articles (artigos indefinidos) are determiners used to indicate that the thing or person is not exactly one of a kid; that it to say, it is a thing from among many similar things. There are four indefinite articles as well: um for masculine, uma for feminine, and their plural versions, uns and umas respectively. Um and uma correspond to “a” in English, while uns and umas correspond to “some”.

Um, Uns

The article um is used for masculine things or persons in the singular, and uns is used for masculine things or persons in the plural. Examples:
Um chapéu voou para a mesa. A hat flew onto the table.
Uns doces iam bem a calhar agora. Some sweets wouldn’t go amiss right now.
Notice that, unlike all other plurals in this lesson, uns isn’t formed by simply adding an –s to an article in the singular. This is because Portuguese doesn’t admit an –ms ending for words.

Uma, Umas

The article uma is used for feminine things or persons in the singular, and umas is used for feminine things or persons in the plural. Examples:
Quanto custa uma bebida? How much for a drink?
Só precisamos de água e umas sementes. We only need water and some seeds.

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