Determiners vs. Pronouns

To master Portuguese, it is essential that we tackle determiners. As you may recall, we have already learned about a few types of determiners in previous units, such as articles, possessives, and demonstratives. So this will be a good opportunity to review, as well as to be introduced to some new types. In this unit, we will focus primarily on:

  • definite articles (such as o and a)
  • indefinite articles (such as um and uma)
  • demonstrative determiners (such as este and estes)
  • indefinite determiners (such as outro and certo)
  • interrogative determiners (such as que and qual)

Before we dive in, let’s quickly review how to differentiate between determiners and pronouns.

What’s the Difference?

Determinantes paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Determiners are words that are always placed before a substantivo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio noun that specify what that noun refers to, what it’s linked to, or certain other information about it. Pronomes paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Pronouns, on the other hand, are words that replace the noun altogether.
An example of each:
Este é o meu carro. Play normal audio This is my car.
E este é o meu! Play normal audio And this is mine!
In the first sentence, meu is placed before carro, linking both words together and describing how the car is connected to something or someone else. This makes it a determiner. In the second sentence, meu replaces the word carro completely. This makes it a pronoun.

Comments

  • Isn’t it really the direct object “O” that is replacing the noun “carro” in the sentence, “O dela também,” and “dela” is modifying the direct object “O”? Or is “O” acting as a definite article in that sentence?
    If the former, then technically isn’t “O” acting as a pronoun in that sentence?

    • Olá, Jay. Sorry for my delay. In the sentence “O dela também!”, “O” is just acting as a definite article. But there is indeed one mistake, which is considering “dela” a possessive pronoun (even though it has possessive value, so to speak). As a contraction of two words, “dela” can’t really be categorized like this. The true possessives are only “meu, teu, seu, nosso, vosso”, plus their feminine and plural forms. So, we’ll update that bit. Thanks for your comment 🙂

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