Relationships of Time

Let’s explore some examples of the most common words used to talk about the order and relationships among different events in time. It’s important to be able to talk about now, later, earlier, before, and after in Portuguese.

Current Time

AgoraNow is the term we use to refer to the present.
O filme vai começar agora.The movie will start now.
Agora está muito frio.Now it's very cold.

Past and Future

We use antesbefore to refer to the past and depoisafter to refer to the future.Vou sair antes das 10h.I will leave before 10am.
A loja está fechada depois das 21h.The store is closed after 9pm.
Antes and depois are particularly useful when we’re trying to order several events by time.
Escovo os dentes depois de jantar e antes de ir dormir.I brush my teeth after having dinner and before going to sleep.
We can also use mais cedoearlier and mais tardelater , literally translating to “more early” and “more late”.
Amanhã eu venho mais cedoTomorrow I will come earlier
Nós vamos encontrar-nos mais tardeWe're going to meet later

Next or Last

To talk about something that just passed, we use passadopast, last , as in na semana passadalast week . (Notice how the ending changes to match the female gender of a semana.)
To talk about something coming up, we use próximonext , as in na próxima semananext week .
You may also remember this word from the phrase Até à próxima!Until next time!, See you next time!

A While Ago or In A While

Let’s discuss some important phrasing to talk about past and future time, i.e. things that happened a certain amount of time ago, or that will happen in a certain amount of time.

We’ll cover this in more detail later in the current unit, but you can use , from the verb haver, to talk about something happening a certain amount of time ago or the period of time for which something has been happening. means there is / there exists, so you are talking about the time that exists between now and the past event.

Daqui a

You can use daqui a, which literally translates to “from now to”, to talk about something happening in a certain amount of time. In other words, it’s telling you the amount of time that will pass from now until that future event.

  • O autocarro vai chegar daqui a doze minutosThe bus is going to arrive in twelve minutes
  • A data limite de entrega é daqui a uma semanaThe deadline for submission is one week from today
  • O vencedor vai ser anunciado daqui a poucoThe winner will be announced in a moment – i.e. in a small amount of time


  • Porque não ” O autocarro vai chegar em doze minutos” em vez de ” daqui a doze minutos “? Eles são os mesmos ou há uma diferença?

  • na próxima semana vs. na semana passada.

    This might be a dumb question, but not sure if there’s a significance…Why do you use próxima before semana, but passada is used after semana?

    Does the order matter?

    Obrigada!! 🙂

    • With adjectives, there’s usually plenty of flexibility regarding word order, but we often have preferred patterns. That’s the case here, especially with “próxima”. “Na semana próxima” sounds really strange; we always say “Na próxima semana”. On the other hand, “Na semana passada” is the usual order, but “Na passada semana” would be acceptable too.

  • Couple of things:-

    there are no icons to click on to bring up vocalisation of Estou em Portugal ha mais de cinco anos

    I thought o prazo = deadline but here its data limite; is that more common or are they interchangeable?

    Brenda LeS

    • Obrigado, Brenda. Some phrases may appear without audio on some Learning Notes, but they’re on the list to be recorded 🙂 Also, yes, “o prazo” and “a data limite” are interchangeable. Both are very common.

  • Olá equipa de practice portuguese
    I stumbled upon the translation:
    “Estou em Portugal há mais de 5 anos” which I understand as : I am still living in Portugal, but your translation: “I’ve been in Portugal for more than 5 years ” seems to me, as I don´t live in Portugal anymore.
    Did I missunderstand something?
    Thanks for your help and your very good job you are doing every day and in every lesson!

    • Thanks Andrea! Glad you’re enjoying the lessons! 🙂 Yes the implication when you say Estou em Portugal há mais de… / I’ve been in Portugal for more than… is that you are still in Portugal. You’ve been there for 5 years so far and you continue to be there.

      If it was “I’ve been to Portugal (in the past)” or “I was in Portugal for…” or “I had been in Portugal for…” or “I have not been in Portugal for…”, that would imply you’re no longer there. But if it’s “I’ve been…for…” that implies an action/state that is still ongoing.

      A more literal translation of the Portuguese phrase is something like “I am in Portugal there is more than 5 years”, but it’s used in the same way that “I’ve been…for…” is used in English. I hope that helps! Let me know if I can clarify further.

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