Adverbs of Manner – Bem/Melhor, Mal/Pior, Através

Adverbs of manner (advérbios de modo), sometimes called adverbs of mode, tell us how an action happened or the way in which it was carried out. Easy, right?
Adverbs of manner can sometimes be mistaken for adjectives, but the trick to distinguishing an adverb of manner (or any adverb) is to remember that they are always invariable. In other respects, Portuguese adverbs of manner are used quite similarly to their English counterparts, so you’ll have little trouble learning them.
In this lesson we’ll start with some of the most frequent adverbs of manner in Portuguese, which are:


Bem is the equivalent to the English “well”. Example:
Muito bem, essa camisola está bem lavada. Well done, that jumper is well washed.


Melhor is the equivalent to “better” in English. Example:
Ela canta melhor agora do que há dois anos. She sings better now than she did two years ago.


Mal is the equivalent to “badly” in English. Example:
O teste correu-me mal. I did badly on the test.


Pior is the equivalent to “worse” in English. Example:
A chuva hoje está pior! The rain is worse today!


Através is the equivalent to “through” in English. Example:
Vi-a através da janela. I saw her through the window.


  • We wouldn’t normally say ‘I woke up badly’ just as we wouldn’t say ‘I went to bed badly’. A better example in English would be ‘She sings badly’ or ‘I slept badly’.

    • Thank you, Richard! That was a good point well made, so we decided to replace the example for a clearer, more straightforward one. I hope the new example will help you better!

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