Adverbs of Time – The Adverb “Já”

One of the most common adverbs of time is , which at its core means “in this moment”. Like all other adverbs of time, is always invariable. This is an adverb used very frequently in a lot of different situations. You’ll notice that the meaning can change quite a bit depending on the context, so try to focus more on the general influence it has on a phrase, rather than memorizing an exact translation. Let’s have a look at some of the various uses of :

Já as Already

Perhaps the main use of , and the most straightforward one, is when it is equivalent to the English “already”.
Ufa, estou cansado. Phew, I’m already tired.
comeste? Have you already eaten?
estamos na estação. We’re at the station already.

Já as Now

can also be used as “now”, especially when used with que, in which case it means “now that”.
que a chuva parou, podemos ir passear. Now that it's stopped raining, we can go for a walk.

Já as Right Away

is also commonly used to express something you’re just about to do in a few seconds, the equivalent to “right away”, “in a moment”, or “momentarily”.
Volto . I’ll be right back.
Vou tratar disso I’ll take care of that in a moment.

Já as Once

A bit counter intuitively, can also be used to refer to the past, similar to the English word “once”. In some cases, this use of in Portuguese is represented by the verb tense in English.
Londres foi uma pequena cidade. London was once a small town.
Já fui ao Brasil. I’ve been to Brazil.

Já, já!

The double repetition of já, já  is used when you want to stress how quickly something is about to happen. It can be understood as “in a jiffy”.
Voltamos já, já! We’ll be back in a jiffy!

Já não!

Já não is more or less akin to “not anymore”, “no more”, “no longer” in English, depending on the context.
Desculpe, mas hoje já não temos pão.I’m sorry, but we have no more bread today.
Já não oferecemos esse serviço. We no longer offer that service.

Já chega!

One last iteration of “já” is Já chega!, which simply means “enough” or “that’s enough!”
Isso é demasiada comida! Já chega! That’s too much food! That’s enough!


  • Hi Rui & Joel,
    This sentence, Desculpe, mas hoje já não temos pão, reminds me how much I would love to see any tips you can give with regard to both sentence structure, word order and the choice/options of adverbs vs adjective. E.g. in English we say “we have no more bread today” but in Portuguese it’s “today, no longer we have bread.” Are there principles that apply (fairly) consistently? I did a search on your site but couldn’t find a Learning Note about this. Thanks! Eliott

    • Hi, Eliott. I’m very sorry, seems that your comment was lost in the swirl, but it’s never too late 🙂 Consistency and Portuguese grammar seem to be in two polar opposites, sometimes, but I think it should be possible to give some pointers regarding the topics you mentioned, so thank you for your suggestion. Maybe we can cover it in an upcoming Learning Note or even discuss it all together in the forum!

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