Ser to be is one of the most fundamental and important Portuguese verbs. It also happens to be an irregular verb, which helps explain why the conjugations below look quite different from the verb’s infinitive form. For now, we’ll focus on ser in the present tense (presente do indicativo):
As you can see, verb conjugations in Portuguese change depending on whom is being referred to. Don’t worry – most verbs are easier to conjugate than this one. For now, just do your best to commit these conjugations to memory, since they will be popping up a lot throughout the Learning Studio… as well as your own conversations in Portuguese!
Uses of the Verb: Ser
As you can see in the present tense examples below, ser can be used to…
- Introduce yourself or someone else: Eu sou o João. Ela é a Ana. I am João. She is Ana.
- Describe someone or something: Nós somos mulheres. Eles são homens. We are women. They are men.
- Indicate an occupation or profession: Eu sou escritor. Tu és professor. I am a writer. You are a teacher.
- Express time: É meio-dia e hoje é domingo. It is midday and today is Sunday.
…as well as many other uses, which we’ll explore in future lessons.
Tip: Portuguese doesn’t use neutral pronouns, like it in English. In cases where you would expect it to be used, there is often no pronoun at all. You can see this in the last of the above examples. Ele or ela is also sometimes used to refer to inanimate objects, depending on whether they are masculine or feminine nouns.