Let’s start out with a regular verb: For an irregular example, let’s have a look at “ser”, which you’ve likely seen by now. This verb is a mess! Not only does it have non-standard endings, but it doesn’t even have a fixed verb stem; (that is, the beginning of the conjugation is different.) The next irregular example […]Read More ›
As mentioned, verbs are split into three groups: Group 1: verbs ending in -AR Group 2: verbs ending in -ER Group 3: verbs ending in -IR Now we’ll deal with the 3rd and final group: IR Verb Endings The -IR verb conjugations are very similar to the -ER verbs, except for one little difference… can […]Read More ›
Indefinite Articles – How to Say “a / an / some” 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. In English, we use “a”, “an”, and the plural form “some”.
In Portuguese, there are 4 indefinite articles: um, uma, uns, umas. Once again, it depends on the gender and plurality:
- Masculine, singular: um carro
- Feminine, singular: uma mesa
- Masculine, plural: uns carros
- Feminine, plural: umas mesas
When to use Indefinite Articles
We use artigos indefinidos when we want to talk about a subject or an object without specifying it.Read More ›
Collective numbers are the ones that even in their singular form indicate a group of beings or things:
Eles são um quarteto famoso
They are a famous quartet
They work as a noun and are variable in number:
A médica salvou várias dezenas de pessoas
The doctor saved several dozens of people
In this lesson, we’ll learn about fractional numerals. Fractional numerals (quantificadores fraccionários) define exact fractions, or parts, of a given thing. Let’s have a look at them.
|Quantificador fraccionário||Fractional numeral||Quantificador fraccionário||Fractional numeral|
|meio/metade||half||dezasseis avos||sixteenth (part)|
|terço||third||dezassete avos||seventeenth (part)|
|quarto||fourth||dezoito avos||eighteenth (part)|
|quinto||fifth||dezanove avos||nineteenth (part)|
|sexto||sixth||vinte avos/vigésimo||twentieth (part)|
|onze avos/undécimo||eleventh (part)||septuagésimo||seventieth (part)|
|doze avos/duodécimo||twelfth (part)||octogésimo||eightieth (part)|
|treze avos||thirteenth (part)||nonagésimo||ninetieth (part)|
|quatorze avos||fourteenth (part)||centésimo||hundredth (part)|
|quinze avos||fifteenth (part)||milésimo||thousandth (part)|
Fractionals, just like multipliers, are paired with the preposition “de” or its prepositional contraction.Read More ›
Multipliers define multiples of a given thing or person. Let’s have a look at a few.
Multipliers are always preceded by the definite article “o”, and they’re paired with the preposition “de” or its prepositional contractions.
Tenho agora o dobro da tua idade.
I am now twice your age.
Montemor tem agora o quádruplo dos habitantes.
Montemor now has four times as many inhabitants.
What do they do?
Cardinal numbers simply indicate the number of people, animals, or things.
Eu tenho três irmãos
I have three brothers
Ela tem dez pássaros
She has ten birds
Vocês compram vinte laranjas
You buy twenty oranges
They are invariable, except…Read More ›
In the next 3 units, we’ll learn about Portuguese números
numbers or numerais
Números are just one type of quantificadores
quantifiers, but they are so important that we thought they deserved their own unit. (All the other types of quantificadores will be explained in a later unit.) Números tell us the specific, numeric amount of a particular something.
In this lesson, we’ll learn about Portuguese existential quantifiers. Existential quantifiers (quantificadores existenciais) are quantifiers that apply to a certain group or certain quantity of elements (nouns), but don’t specify an exact quantity or amount.
Muito, Muita, Muitos, Muitas
Muito (masculine) and muita (feminine) are the singular form equivalents to the English “many”, “very”, “much” or “a lot”. Examples:
Tenho muito medo!
I’m very afraid!
Isto ainda é muita coisa para levar.
This is still a lot to carry.
In this lesson, we’ll learn about Portuguese universal quantifiers. Universal quantifiers (quantificadores universais) are quantifiers that apply to every element of a given group.
Todo, Toda, Todos, Todas
Todo (masculine) and toda (feminine) are the singular form equivalents to “all”, “whole”, “every”, or “entire” in English. Examples:
Limpei este quarto todo.
I cleaned this entire room.
Passei a manhã toda a estudar.
I spent the whole morning studying.
Todos (masculine) and todas (feminine) are the plural forms of todo and toda, and maintain the same meaning.
In this lesson, we’ll take a look at the last subset of quantifiers: interrogative quantifiers. Interrogative quantifiers (quantificadores interrogativos) introduce questions about quantities. A question using an interrogative quantifier is invariably answered using another quantifier.
Quanto, Quanta, Quantos, Quantas
Remember these? Quanto (masculine) and quanta (feminine) are singular forms equivalents to “how much” in English. Examples:
Quanto gastaste ontem?
How much did you spend yesterday?
É precisa quanta lã para umas luvas?
How much wool is needed for a pair of gloves?
In this lesson, we’ll learn about relative quantifiers. Relative quantifiers (quantificadores relativos) don’t tell us an actual quantity, but instead tell us about a relative quantity in relation to an unspecified whole. Sounds complicated? Our examples will make everything clear.
Quanto, Quanta, Quantos, Quantas
Quanto (masculine) and quanta (feminine) are singular forms equivalents to “as much as” in English. Examples:
Ela aprendeu tanta matéria quanta havia no manual.
She learnt as much as there was to learn in the textbook.
Tenho tanto de comer quanto necessito.
I have as much to eat as I need.
Quantos and quantas are the plural forms of quanto and quanta, and they’re equivalent to “as many as” in English.
Vou deitar a mão a tantos bombons quantos conseguir!
I’ll have as many chocolates as I can get my hands on!
Levo tantas maçãs quantas tiveres.
I’ll take as many apples as you have.
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, and interrogative determiners. As you may recall, we learned about possessive determiners in a previous unit.
Before we delve into the different types of determiners, let’s quickly review how to differentiate between determiners and pronouns.
In this lesson, we’ll review a topic we’ve broached before, which is Portuguese demonstratives – este/ esse/ aquele/ esta/ essa/ aquela – as well as their plural forms. Demonstrative determiners (determinantes demonstrativos) indicate where something is in relation to to the speaker and listener in terms of place or time. In Portuguese, demonstrative determiners agree in gender and number with the noun they’re defining.
Este, Esta and Estes, Estas
Este (masculine) and esta (feminine) are the singular form equivalents to the English “this”. These determiners are used to refer to specific things or persons that are close to the speaker. Examples:
Este chocolate é demasiado doce!
This chocolate is too sweet!
Esta sanduíche é o meu almoço.
This sandwich is my lunch.
In this lesson we’ll learn about interrogative determiners. Interrogative determiners (determinantes interrogativos) are determiners we use to formulate direct or indirect questions or exclamations. There are only two of them, but they are very handy indeed!
Qual / QuaisRead More ›
In this lesson, we’ll have a look at indefinite determiners. Indefinite determiners (determinantes indefinidos) are words that express an undefined quality about the noun they’re referencing, similar to “other people” or “certain things” in English. In Portuguese, indefinite determiners always agree in gender and number with the noun.
Outro, Outra, Outros, Outras
Outro (masculine) and Outra (feminine) are the singular form equivalents to “other” or “another” in English. Examples:
Dá-me outro destes bolos, por favor.
Give me another one of these cakes, please.
Temos de pôr aqui outra mesa.
We need to place another table here.
Outros (masculine) and outras (feminine) are the plural forms of outro and outra.
In this lesson we’ll explore the last two clitic pronouns in Portuguese, nos and vos. Don’t forget that, for both nos and vos, no hyphens are required if they’re proclitics (placed before the verb), two hyphens are required if they’re mesoclitic (placed between two parts of verb), and one hyphen is required if they’re enclitics (placed after the verb).
Nos is equivalent to the English “us” or “to us”, as it is used for both direct and indirect objects. Examples:
O professor chamou-nos no final da aula.
The professor called us at the end of class.
Não nos parece justa esta decisão.
This decision doesn’t seem fair to us.
Bear in mind that the clitic Nos is also used for third person plural, when the preceding verb form ends in a nasal sound – am/em/êm/ão.
Vos is equivalent to the English “you” or “to you”, and it is also valid for both direct and indirect objects. Examples:Read More ›
Reflexive pronouns (pronomes reflexos) are a specific group of object pronouns used when the action of a verb is applied to the subject of the sentence. In other words, we use them with verbs whose action is something one does to oneself. In English, this would be words like myself, yourself, himself, etc. For example, in the […]Read More ›
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 we are referring to a specific, well-defined thing […]Read More ›
In this lesson we’ll explore the first two clitic pronouns in Portuguese, me and te.
Me is equivalent to the English “me” or “to me”, as it is used for both direct and indirect objects. Examples:
Ela chamou-me ao gabinete.
She called me to the office.
Não me parece boa, esta maçã.
This apple doesn’t look good to me.
Te, on the other hand, is equivalent to the English “you” or “to you”, and it is also valid for both direct and indirect objects. Examples:Read More ›
In Portuguese, when we use a verb that asks for both a direct and indirect object (and they’re pointed out specifically — i.e. we’re aware of what/who they are), we can contract these two pronouns by adding the third person direct pronouns to the indirect object pronoun. Sounds complicated, we know. Let’s see a practical example:
Dei uma prenda à Joana.
I gave Joana a gift.
In this sentence, neither the direct object (uma prenda) nor the indirect object (à Joana) have been replaced by a clitic.
Dei-lhe uma prenda.
I gave her a gift.
In this sentence, the indirect object (à Joana) has been replaced by the clitic –lhe, while the direct object remains in place.
I gave it to her.
In this lesson we’ll explore 3rd-person clitic pronouns. Both the singular and plural forms work in the exact same way. We’ll look at the direct pronouns first, followed by the indirect pronouns.
3rd Person Direct Object Clitic Pronouns
The following clitic pronouns stand in for him, her, them, or it as the direct object. We have the default form (o/a/os/as), plus two variants: lo/la/los/las (used after a consonant) and no/na/nos/nas (used after a nasal sound).
Third person direct pronouns are replaced by o/a (standing for “him” and “her”, respectively) in singular form and os/as (“them” masculine and feminine) in plural form.
Ela detestava-o profundamente.
She hated him deeply.
Ele amava-a do fundo do coração.
He loved her from the bottom of his heart.
Adoro-as, mas só se estiverem maduras.
I love them, but only when they’re ripe.
If the last sound before the clitic is a consonant, that consonant is dropped and an L is placed at the beginning of the clitic. In all the examples below, the preceding verb would have ended with an s (conheces, amavas, afinavas), so the s will be dropped and the l will be added onto the default clitic form.
Conhece-lo há muito tempo?
Have you known him for long?
In this lesson, we’ll have a look at all the clitic (object) pronouns in Portuguese*. Clitic pronouns are sort of like mini-words that go along with a verb to show to whom or to what the action refers.
|Subject pronoun||Direct object pronoun||Indirect object pronoun|
|Ele/Você (You, male)||o (lo, no)||lhe|
|Ela/Você (You, female)||a (la, na)|
|Eles (They)||os (los, nos)||lhes|
|Elas (They)||as (las, nas)|
*Not including reflexive pronouns, which we’ll deal with separately later on.
But before we can study them, we must learn about where they can be placed regarding the verb.
There are three possible positions for clitic pronouns:
- Before the verb – Proclitic
- In the middle of the verb – Mesoclitic
- After the verb – Enclitic
For each example that we’ll use, we will also show you the version of the sentence without the clitic. This is only so that you can better understand the logic and origin, but remember that you should not use that second construction, or you will sound like Tarzan! For example, while in English it’s correct to say something like “If they give the books to me“, the Portuguese equivalent using “a mim” will not sound right.Read More ›