Masculine vs. Feminine & Indefinite Articles + Plurals

Masculine vs. Feminine & Indefinite Articles + Plurals

Indefinite Articles – How to Say “a / an” In Portuguese

We just learned how to say “the car”, but what if you want to talk about “a car,” in general? This is called an indefinite article (artigo indefinido), because we’re talking about an undefined car, rather than a specific instance of a car.
Just like “the“, there are also 4 ways to say “a“. Once again, it depends on the gender and plurality:

  • Masculine, single: um carro a car
  • Feminine, single: uma mesa a table
  • Masculine, plural: uns carros some cars
  • Feminine, plural: umas mesas some tables

When to use Indefinite Articles

We use artigos indefinidos when we want to talk about a subject or an object without specifying it.
Here’s one more example:
O João tem uns livros muito interessantes. John has some pretty interesting books.
There’s also other specific cases in which you’d use them, such as:

  • When you want to attribute to a single subject the representation of the whole species

O Border Collie é um cão que é extremamente inteligente. The Border Collie is a dog that is extremely intelligent.

  • When you want to indicate numeric proximity

Lisboa fica a uns 300km do Porto. Lisboa is about 300km away from Porto.

  • When talking about an artist’s work

Gostava de ter um Picasso em minha casa. I'd like to have a Picasso at my place.

“A” Tricky Trap (for English Speakers)

For English speakers, it will be tricky to get used to the fact that “a mesa”, does not mean “a table”, but “the table.”

More Examples:

a casa the house
uma casa a house
um livro a book
uns livros some books
 
 

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