O Verbo “Ser” – To Be

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):

ser
to be (permanent condition)

Indicativo

Ser – Indicativo – Presente

Tu és uma boa pessoa.
You’re a good person.

  • eu sou
  • I am
  • tu és
  • you are
  • ele / ela é
  • he / she is
  • você é
  • you formal are
  • nós somos
  • we are
  • eles / elas são
  • they masc. / they fem. are
  • vocês são
  • you pl. are

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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.

Comments:

    • It’s on its way soon, at the top of our list! Sorry for omitting this minor feature – we wanted to get that new design out ASAP once the bare minimum was ready to go 😉

  • A section for generic sentences, i.e. I would (to order) with link of the verbs to their correct area…

    • Our Learning Studio does include exercises where you need to order words to form correct sentences and also match English sentences with their translations, among others 🙂

    • On its way, hopefully in the next couple days! On the surface it seems pretty dorky to not just have it there yet, but there’s some additional complexity in getting it wrapped up. With several different variables like different activity types (Lessons / Shorties / Learning Notes), and scenarios in which users are able to jump around across different Units at the same time, there’s a bit more technical complexity that we’ve had to work around. But our programmer ninja Alex is at the finish line… Thanks for your patience, our members are the best! 🙂

  • Continue button is ab fab!
    Por favor: why is it “eu sou escritor” and not “Eu sou o escritor”,
    and “tu és professor” and not “tu és o professor”?

    • Thanks, Anton! We don’t add the definite article, because then we’d be saying “I am the writer” and “You are the professor”. This doesn’t fit when you’re simply stating your profession 🙂

  • Joseph,

    Perhaps Anton meant to say “ eu sou um escritor”, “ I am a writer” ?

    That indefinite article is not needed?

    Thanks for your help.

    • Hi there. Actually, the indefinite article can be omitted in that type of sentence. You will constantly see and hear it both ways (present or absent) 🙂

    • The pronoun is still taught, but generally considered archaic. It’s only occasionally seen or heard, especially in certain northern regions of the country. The conjugation with vós in the simple present is vós sois.

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