Demonstrative Determiners

In this lesson, we’ll review a topic we’ve covered before, which is Portuguese demonstratives – este, esta, esse, essa, aquele, and aquela – as well as their plural forms. In Portuguese, demonstrative determiners indicate where something is in relation to to the speaker and listener in terms of place or time, and must agree in gender and number with the noun they define.

Este(s) & Esta(s)

Este (masculine) and esta (feminine) are the singular form equivalents of “this” in English. 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.
Estes (masculine) and estas (feminine) are the plural forms of este and esta, and correspond to “these” in English. Examples:
Estes sapatos vão bem com o teu fato. These shoes go well with your suit.
Estas caixas vão para o armazém. These boxes go to the warehouse.

Esse(s) & Essa(s)

Esse (masculine) and essa (feminine) are the singular form equivalents to “that” in English. These determiners are used to refer to specific things or persons that are slightly distant from the speaker, or close to the listener. Examples:
Esse computador não funciona. That computer doesn’t work.
Essa senhora é a tua bisavó. That lady is your great-grandmother.
Esses (masculine) and essas (feminine) are the plural forms of esse and essa. They indicate the same implied distance and correspond to “those” in English. Examples:
Esses lápis são para meter na mochila. Be sure to put those pencils in the backpackBE - rucksack.
Essas canetas são azuis? Are those pens blue?

Aquele(s) & Aquela(s)

Aquele (masculine) and aquela (feminine) are also singular form equivalents to “that” in English, but with a difference. These determiners are used to refer to specific things or persons that are far from both the speaker and the listener. Examples:
Aquele gorro é teu? Is that cap yours?
Aquela é a chave do sótão. That is the key to the attic.
Aqueles (masculine) and aquelas (feminine) are the plural forms of aquele and aquela. They indicate the same implied distance and correspond to “those” in English.
Aqueles rapazes estão vestidos de azul. Those boys are dressed in blue.
Aquelas janelas estão tão sujas! Those windows are so dirty!

Comments:

  • Where does isso(s)/isto(s) fit in? I’m sure the explanation is featured here, somewhere. I’ll keep searching… 🙂

  • Esses lápis são para meter na mochila. Your translation was. Be sure to pack those pencils.
    I was wondering na mochila was, backpack was missing for your translation, I know a small point, but it was a bit confusing to me

  • Thank you , the above have always baffled me, now clearer and of to remember! If I need to refer back to this lesson, where do look in the menu? Obrigado Alan.

    • Hi Alan! So glad this was helpful for you! There are 2 ways you can refer back to this:

      – Click the “Bookmark” button at the top of the page next to the title. That will add this Learning Note to your bookmarks, which appear on your welcome/bem-vindo page (under the Account tab in the menu). On the bem-vindo page you just scroll down and click on “Bookmarks” to see anything you’ve bookmarked from each part of the site.

      – Or you could go to the full list of Learning Notes (under the Learn tab in the menu) and search “demonstrative determiners” in the search box.

  • Just one little error: when tipping on the tartaruga within the exercise of demonstrative determiners at “este chocolate é demasiado doce” you will hear te,te,te,te,te,…..

  • I still think that this programme is excellent. Only one issue – why not real English and not American slang – mochila is rucksack and not backpack!

    • Thanks for the feedback! So glad you’re getting a lot out of the program. 🙂

      We use “rucksack” in the U.S., too, but the meaning is a little different here. We typically use it to refer to a larger, more rugged backpack, like the kind used by the military or sometimes (ironically!) the kind you use to go “backpacking”. We typically use “backpack” or “book bag” to refer to the kind you would take to school (i.e. what you would be using for pencils, in this case).

      We have a lot of users in both the US and the UK, so I understand the frustration with the vocabulary differences, as it’s never possible to strike the perfect balance. We do make an effort to include alternatives when possible, but I’m sure there are many we’ve missed. I’ll update this learning note to show both options.

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