Portuguese conjunctions

Introduction to Portuguese Conjunctions

Conjunções paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio are words that connect other words, phrases, or sentence clauses to each other. Unlike adjectives, Portuguese conjunctions do not change form according to a subject’s gender or quantity. They always stay the same (i.e. they are invariable).

Simple Conjunctions vs. Conjunction Phrases

Depending on how many words it contains, a conjunction may be:

  • Simple if it consists of only one word. For example:

O homem e a mulher estão felizes paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The man and the woman are happy
Come mais, se quiseres paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Eat more, if you want

  • Conjunction phrases if it is made up of multiple words. These sentences are sometimes more challenging to construct since they often require the use of the “conjuntivo” verb mood in the second part of the sentence. For example:
Ele fala como se nada tivesse acontecido. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio He talks as if nothing had happened

Coordinating vs. Subordinating Portuguese Conjunctions

This unit will focus on conjunções coordenativas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio coordinating conjunctions, and then we’ll explore subordinating conjunctions in the next unit. Let’s see a quick comparison of the two types.

Subordinating Conjunctions

  • Connects a dependent clause to an independent one (making one subordinate and dependent on the other).
  • Notice in this example that the conjunction porque tells you that the second clause is the reason for the first clause:
    Não espero por ela porque ela demora muito tempo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I don't wait for her because she takes a lot of time
  • Subordinating conjunctions can be divided into the following main categories:
    • Temporal – Related to time
    • Causal – Related to reason or cause
    • Final – Related to purpose

Coordinating Conjunctions

  • Used to link clauses (parts of the sentence) that have equal importance
  • Both parts of the sentence could be separated without changing the meaning.
  • Examples:

Eu vou ao cinema e ela vai ao teatro paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I go to the cinema and she goes to the theatre.
O limão é azedo, mas eu gosto paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The lemon is sour, but I like it

Let’s Give it a Try!

We’ll show you a brief overview of each type as you work through this unit. Luckily, you’re not starting from scratch! You’re already off to a good start if you remember learning about these 3 essential Portuguese conjunctions from a previous lesson:
e paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio and
mas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio but
ou paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio or
Now, we’ll add to that list by exploring other words that help you connect your thoughts in more complex ways.

Comments

  • I love the units, and find the topics are really helpful. This unit information, I found a bit difficult, it might be easier to understand if the words in the sentences were already familiar, such as those covered in the previous units. I would have found this more helpful also, if the information was still in the present tense at this stage.
    Thank you for a great website

    • Thank you for your feedback, Laura 🙂 Good points regarding the familiarity of words and the tenses used. Unfortunately, regarding the latter, it’s not always possible to use simpler tenses or sentence structures. In this case, for example, certain conjuctions force sentences in a certain direction or are most often used in a certain way. We also try to strike a balance between keeping things familiar and offering enough novelty to continue pushing everyone forward. We’ll try to be aware of whether or not that balance is being kept!

  • I like the way you’ve done it. Not only does it make sense, but I think it helps to gradually introduce different verb types before we learn them “properly” — so that they’re not quite so scary when we get to that bit! 🙂

    Thank you for this amazing site, not sure how I’d ever learn European Portuguese without it.

  • “I don’t wait for her” is the independent clause and “she’s always late” is the dependent clause?

  • This whole series on conjunctions is really helpful with good guidance. Mas eu vou usar “mas” quando posivel……!!!!! Estou ociaso.

  • i want to learn Portuguese language and i don’t know anything apart from Portuguese alphabetsso please suggest me how to star learn Portuguese language…

  • Hi! I am happy with the course but I think it will be better if the grammar explanations were in Portuguese as well.
    English is not my first language and even if I am able to understand everything, I am learning the English grammar names not the Portuguese ones.
    For example, now i know how to say in English Coordinating Conjunctions and the types but in Portuguese….No idea?
    In my opinion everything should be first just in Portuguese , and after that in English.
    Please note that is just my opinion and I try to make it constructive.
    Thank you
    Ruth

    • Hi Ruth, thanks so much for the feedback! I completely understand. We decided to go with English explanations because there seems to be less content on grammar in English (since you can get Portuguese descriptions from a Portuguese grammar book) and for some beginners it is helpful to understand the concepts in English. I know it’s not ideal when your native language is not English though, so I’m sorry to make it harder on you in that respect.

      If it helps, I just wanted to let you know that the Portuguese names for the types of conjunctions are included in the individual articles when you click on the link for each type. We just didn’t include all the translations in this introductory note to keep it less visually confusing.

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