Learning Notes

Irregular Verbs -ER

July 9, 2019

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 […]

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Regular Verbs in the Present Tense: IR Verbs

June 3, 2019

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 […]

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Masculine vs. Feminine & Indefinite Articles + Plurals

May 8, 2019

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, umauns, umas. Once again, it depends on the gender and plurality:

  • Masculine, singular: um carro
    a car
  • Feminine, singular: 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.

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Numbers – Collective Numerals

May 8, 2019

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

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Numbers – Fractional Numerals

May 7, 2019

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 fraccionárioFractional numeralQuantificador fraccionárioFractional numeral
meio/metadehalfdezasseis avossixteenth (part)
terçothirddezassete avosseventeenth (part)
quartofourthdezoito avoseighteenth (part)
quintofifthdezanove avosnineteenth (part)
sextosixthvinte avos/vigésimotwentieth (part)
sétimoseventhtrigésimothirtieth (part)
oitavoeighthquadragésimofourtieth (part)
nononinthquinquagésimofiftieth (part)
décimotenthsexagésimosixtieth (part)
onze avos/undécimoeleventh (part)septuagésimoseventieth (part)
doze avos/duodécimotwelfth (part)octogésimoeightieth (part)
treze avosthirteenth (part)nonagésimoninetieth (part)
quatorze avosfourteenth (part)centésimohundredth (part)
quinze avosfifteenth (part)milésimothousandth (part)

Fractionals, just like multipliers, are paired with the preposition “de” or its prepositional contraction.

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Numbers – Multiplier Numerals

May 7, 2019

Multipliers define multiples of a given thing or person. Let’s have a look at a few.

Quantificador MultiplicativoMultiplier
duplo/dobrotwice/double/duplicate
triplo/tríplicethrice/triple/triplicate
quádruploquadruple
quíntuploquintuple
sêxtuplosextuple, hextuple
sétuploseptuple, heptuple

Multipliers are always preceded by the definite article “o”, and they’re paired with the preposition “de” or its prepositional contractions.
Examples:
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.

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Numbers – Ordinal Numerals

May 7, 2019

Ordinal numbers tell us the order people, animals, or things take in a specific series:
A mulher foi a primeira a chegar
The woman was the first to arrive.

They are variable in gender and number:
O homem foi o primeiro a chegar
The man was the first to arrive

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Numbers – Cardinal Numerals

May 7, 2019

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…

The majority of cardinal numbers are invariable, however, um
one
, dois
two
and the centenas
hundreds
, starting at 200, do depend on the gender of the noun.

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Numbers

May 3, 2019

In the next 3 units, we’ll learn about Portuguese números
numbers
or numerais
numerals
.
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.

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Quantifiers – Existential Quantifiers

May 2, 2019

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.

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Quantifiers – Universal Quantifiers

May 1, 2019

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.

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Quantifiers – Interrogative Quantifiers

April 23, 2019

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?

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Quantifiers – Relative Quantifiers

April 23, 2019

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.
Examples:
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.

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Determiners and Pronouns

April 22, 2019

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.

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Determiners – Demonstrative Determiners

April 20, 2019

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.

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Determiners – Interrogative Determiners

April 5, 2019

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!

Que

Que is equivalent to the English “what”. Example:
Que livro procuras?
What book are you looking for?

Qual / Quais

Qual is the singular form equivalent to “which” in English, for both masculine and feminine. Example:
Ela visitou qual museu?
Which museum did she visit?

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Determiners – Indefinite Determiners

April 5, 2019

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.

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Clitic Pronouns – Nos and Vos

March 30, 2019

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

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

Vos is equivalent to the English “you” or “to you”, and it is also valid for both direct and indirect objects. Examples:

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Clitic Pronouns – Reflexive Pronouns

March 30, 2019

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 […]

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Determiners – Definite and Indefinite Articles

March 29, 2019

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 […]

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Clitic Pronouns – Me, Te

March 29, 2019

In this lesson we’ll explore the first two clitic pronouns in Portuguese, me and te.

Me

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

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:

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Clitic Pronouns – Merging Pronouns

March 22, 2019

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.
Dei-lha.
I gave it to her.

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Clitic Pronouns – Third Person Singular and Plural

March 22, 2019

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).

O/A, Os/As

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.
Examples:
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.

Lo/La, Los/Las

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.
Examples:
Conhece-lo há muito tempo?
Have you known him for long?

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Clitic Pronouns – The Position of Clitics

March 21, 2019

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 pronounDirect object pronounIndirect object pronoun
Eu (Me)me
Tu (You)te
Ele/Você (You, male)o (lo, no)lhe
Ela/Você (You, female)a (la, na)
Nós (Us)nos
Vocês (You)vos
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.

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