In this lesson, we’ll learn about Portuguese existential quantifiers. Existential quantifiers (quantificadores existenciais) are quantifiers that apply to a certain group or certain quantity of elements (nouns), but don’t specify an exact quantity or amount.
Muito, Muita, Muitos, Muitas
Muito (masculine) and muita (feminine) are the singular form equivalents to the English “many”, “very”, “much” or “a lot”. Examples:
Tenho muito medo!I’m very afraid!
Isto ainda é muita coisa para levar.This is still a lot to carry.
In this lesson, we’ll take a look at the last subset of quantifiers: interrogative quantifiers. Interrogative quantifiers (quantificadores interrogativos) introduce questions about quantities. A question using an interrogative quantifier is invariably answered using another quantifier.
Quanto, Quanta, Quantos, Quantas
Remember these? Quanto (masculine) and quanta (feminine) are singular forms equivalents to “how much” in English. Examples:
Quanto gastaste ontem?How much did you spend yesterday?
É precisa quanta lã para umas luvas?How much wool is needed for a pair of gloves?
In this lesson, we’ll learn about relative quantifiers. Relative quantifiers (quantificadores relativos) don’t tell us an actual quantity, but instead tell us about a relative quantity in relation to an unspecified whole. Sounds complicated? Our examples will make everything clear.
Quanto, Quanta, Quantos, Quantas
Quanto (masculine) and quanta (feminine) are singular forms equivalents to “as much as” in English. Examples:
Ela aprendeu tanta matéria quanta havia no manual.She learnt as much as there was to learn in the textbook.
Tenho tanto de comer quanto necessito.I have as much to eat as I need.
Quantos and quantas are the plural forms of quanto and quanta, and they’re equivalent to “as many as” in English.
Vou deitar a mão a tantos bombons quantos conseguir!I’ll have as many chocolates as I can get my hands on!
Levo tantas maçãs quantas tiveres.I’ll take as many apples as you have.
To master Portuguese, it is essential that we tackle determiners. In this unit, we will be looking at a few types of determiners: definite and indefinite articles, demonstrative determiners, indefinite determiners, and interrogative determiners. As you may recall, we learned about possessive determiners in a previous unit.
Before we delve into the different types of determiners, let’s quickly review how to differentiate between determiners and pronouns.
In this lesson, we’ll review a topic we’ve broached before, which is Portuguese demonstratives – este/ esse/ aquele/ esta/ essa/ aquela – as well as their plural forms. Demonstrative determiners (determinantes demonstrativos) indicate where something is in relation to to the speaker and listener in terms of place or time. In Portuguese, demonstrative determiners agree in gender and number with the noun they’re defining.
Este, Esta and Estes, Estas
Este (masculine) and esta (feminine) are the singular form equivalents to the English “this”. These determiners are used to refer to specific things or persons that are close to the speaker. Examples:
Este chocolate é demasiado doce!This chocolate is too sweet!
Esta sanduíche é o meu almoço.This sandwich is my lunch.
In this lesson we’ll learn about interrogative determiners. Interrogative determiners (determinantes interrogativos) are determiners we use to formulate direct or indirect questions or exclamations. There are only two of them, but they are very handy indeed!
Que is equivalent to the English “what”. Example:
Que livro procuras?What book are you looking for?
Qual / Quais
Qual is the singular form equivalent to “which” in English, for both masculine and feminine. Example:
Ela visitou qual museu?Which museum did she visit?
In this lesson, we’ll have a look at indefinite determiners. Indefinite determiners (determinantes indefinidos) are words that express an undefined quality about the noun they’re referencing, similar to “other people” or “certain things” in English. In Portuguese, indefinite determiners always agree in gender and number with the noun.
Outro, Outra, Outros, Outras
Outro (masculine) and Outra (feminine) are the singular form equivalents to “other” or “another” in English. Examples:
Dá-me outro destes bolos, por favor.Give me another one of these cakes, please.
Temos de pôr aqui outra mesa.We need to place another table here.
Outros (masculine) and outras (feminine) are the plural forms of outro and outra.
In this lesson we’ll explore the last two clitic pronouns in Portuguese, nos and vos. Don’t forget that, for both nos and vos, no hyphens are required if they’re proclitics (placed before the verb), two hyphens are required if they’re mesoclitic (placed between two parts of verb), and one hyphen is required if they’re enclitics (placed after the verb).
Nos is equivalent to the English “us” or “to us”, as it is used for both direct and indirect objects. Examples:
When the complemento direto or indireto (direct or indirect object) represents the same person or thing as the subject of the verb, it’s expressed by a pronome reflexivo (reflexive pronoun). In other words, we use reflexive pronouns when the action is something one does to oneself. In English, this would be words like myself, yourself, himself, ourselves, themselves, etc. In the sentence “She convinced herself”, she is both the subject and the object, so we use herself as the reflexive pronoun.
We’re including reflexive pronouns in this unit because, despite being in a different category, they share most of the same pronouns. The only difference is in the 3rd person, both singular and plural, which uses se, si, and consigo.
Since we’re learning about clitic pronouns, which are unstressed pronouns, we’re going to disregard si and consigo, which are stressed pronouns, and talk about them in another unit.
Ele / Ela / Você
Eles / Elas / Vocês
When it comes to placing them within a sentence, you can follow the same rules as the rest of the clitics.
Let’s have a look at each pronoun individually, using one of the simplest Portuguese reflexive verbs, vestir (to dress).
In this lesson, we’ll explore Portuguese definite and indefinite articles. Articles (artigos) are small words that precede and define a noun. In Portuguese, articles always agree in gender and number with the noun they’re defining.
Definite articles (artigos definidos) are determiners used to indicate that we are referring to a specific, well-defined thing or person. Therefore, they always correspond to the English “the”. There are four definite articles: o for masculine, a for feminine, and their plural versions, os and as respectively.
The article o is used for masculine things or persons in the singular, and os is used for masculine things or persons in the plural. Examples:
In Portuguese, when we use a verb that asks for both a direct and indirect object (and they’re pointed out specifically — i.e. we’re aware of what/who they are), we can create a contraction by combining the third person direct object pronoun with the indirect object pronoun. Sounds complicated, we know. Let’s see a practical example:
Dei uma prenda à Joana.I gave Joana a gift.
In the sentence above, neither the direct object (uma prenda) nor the indirect object (a Joana) have been replaced by a clitic.
Dei-lhe uma prenda.I gave her a gift.
In this sentence, the indirect object (a Joana) has been replaced by the clitic –lhe, while the direct object remains in place.
In this lesson we’ll explore 3rd-person clitic pronouns. Both the singular and plural forms work in the exact same way. We’ll look at the direct pronouns first, followed by the indirect pronouns.
3rd Person Direct Object Clitic Pronouns
The following clitic pronouns stand in for him, her, them, or it as the direct object. We have the default form (o/a/os/as), plus two variants: lo/la/los/las (used after a consonant) and no/na/nos/nas (used after a nasal sound).
Third person direct pronouns are replaced by o/a (standing for “him” and “her”, respectively) in singular form and os/as (“them” masculine and feminine) in plural form.
Clitic pronouns (pronomes clíticos) are one of the trickiest things to learn and master in Portuguese. But don’t despair — we’re here to help! Throughout these lessons you’ll learn how to use clitic pronouns correctly, but first you should understand what objects (complementos) are and the difference between directand indirectobjects.
Some verbs don’t need objects for the sentence to make sense, while others demand them. These are called transitive verbs. For example, in English, the sentence “She wants” sounds incomplete. What does she want? “She wants that car” is a complete sentence, with “that car” being a direct object (more on this below). The objects of a sentence can be represented in various ways, the most common being nouns and pronouns.
A direct object (complemento direto) answers the questions “what?” or “whom?”, and therefore shows a direct connection with the main verb, complementing it.
In this lesson, we’ll have a look at all the pronomes clíticos (clitic pronouns) in Portuguese*. Clitic pronouns are basically unstressed morphemes (or mini-words) that go along with a verb to show to whom or to what the action refers. They take the place of the people or objects represented by the direct and indirect objects.
Direct object pronoun
Indirect object pronoun
Ele/Você (You, male)
o (lo, no)
Ela/Você (You, female)
a (la, na)
os (los, nos)
as (las, nas)
*Not including reflexive pronouns, which we’ll deal with separately later on.
We can see in the table that the pronouns o, a, os and as are never used in place of indirect objects. The opposite goes for lhe/lhes, as these are never used to represent a direct object. Me, te, nos, and vos can be used for both.
Before we study these further, we must learn about where they can be placed in relation to the verb.
There are three possible positions for clitic pronouns:
When it comes to qualifying something according to length, you might come across these three adjectives: longo, comprido e curtolong, long and short
You can see that longo and comprido both mean long, but they tend to be used in different contexts. Let’s take a better look at each of the three adjectives below.
Due to the similarity to the English word long, you might be tempted to always use this one, so you have to be careful. We mainly use longo when qualifying distances or periods of time.
Não faço planos a longo-prazoI don’t make long-term plans Foi uma longa reuniãoIt was a lengthy meeting A distância é longa até MadridIt’s a long distance to Madrid
An exception would be, for example, when talking about sentences/texts: Eu escrevo textos longosI write long texts
Adverbs of manner (advérbios de modo), sometimes called adverbs of mode, tell us how an action happened or the way in which it was carried out. Easy, right?
Adverbs of manner can sometimes be mistaken for adjectives, but the trick to distinguishing an adverb of manner (or any adverb) is to remember that they are always invariable. In other respects, Portuguese adverbs of manner are used quite similarly to their English counterparts, so you’ll have little trouble learning them.
In this lesson we’ll start with some of the most frequent adverbs of manner in Portuguese, which are:
Bem is the equivalent to the English “well”. Example:
Muito bem, essa camisola está bem lavada.Well done, that jumper is well washed.
In Portuguese, adjectives can change depending on the gender and number and, similarly to English, they also have different graus (degrees). They are: the grau normalpositive degree; the grau comparativocomparative degree; and the grau superlativosuperlative degree.
Grau Normal – Positive Degree
This is the basic form of each adjective. We use it to qualify a noun without making any abstract or concrete comparisons.
A Joana é uma rapariga feliz.Joana is a happy girl.
O teste foi fácil.The test was easy.
Grau Comparativo – Comparative Degree
You use the comparativo when you want to compare attributes between two beings/objects or different attributes of the same being/object.
A Joana é mais feliz que o Pedro.Joana is happier than Pedro.
You’ve learned what prepositions are, and you’ve been introduced to quite a few of them in the first two Prepositions units.
Similar to English, there are dozens of prepositions in Portuguese grammar. There are simple prepositions (preposições simples) – some of which can be combined with pronouns and articles – and prepositional phrases (locuções prepositivas), which are a bit different from their English counterpart.
Simple preposition (“de”): Eu gosto de jogar futebolI like to play soccer
Prepositional phrase (“perto de”): Eu jogo futebol perto de minha casa.I play soccer near my house.
Let’s look at some of the most common of each type.
Bastante, quase, and realmente: 3 tricky Portuguese words that can mean very different things depending on their placement in a sentence or the type of word they are modifying. We’ve talked about some of these words before, but let’s take a closer look to get more comfortable with their different uses.
The Many Lives of Bastante – Adverb, Adjective, Pronoun, Noun?
Bastante as an Adverb
In the beginning of this unit, we saw how bastante works as an adverb of degree, and how it can mean both “sufficient” or, sometimes, “very”. Bastante modifies the verb of the sentence, and it is always invariable.
Elas comem bastante.They eat sufficiently.
Isso é bastante interessante!That’s very interesting!
Bastante is used to express the degree (“a lot”) to which the action (“to eat”) is carried out. But you can also come across bastante in three other ways:
One of the most common adverbs of time is já, which at its core means “in this moment”. Like all other adverbs of time, já is always invariable. This is an adverb used very frequently in a lot of different situations. You’ll notice that the meaning can change quite a bit depending on the context, so try to focus more on the general influence it has on a phrase, rather than memorizing an exact translation. Let’s have a look at some of the various uses of já:
Já as Already
Perhaps the main use of já, and the most straightforward one, is when it is equivalent to the English “already”.
If you thought that we’d left out the most basic adverbs of place, worry not! After all, we wouldn’t get very far without the Portuguese equivalents to “here”, “there”, and “over there”. In Portuguese, there’s a three-way distinction between things or persons close to the speaker (aqui, cá), things or persons close to the listener (aí), and things or persons far from both (lá, ali, acolá) – but the way to express these distances is not always straightforward. Let’s have a look at how these adverbs work:
Aqui & Cá
Aqui and cá are used when talking about things close to the speaker. While they’re both equivalent to the English “here”, there is a subtle difference between them.
Aqui designates the exact spot where the speaker is, regardless of the listener’s location, and so it means, “in this place”.
Fico aqui à tua espera.I’ll be waiting for you here.
Ele deixou aqui o chapéu.He left his hat here.
Cá, meanwhile, conveys a more general location, rather than a single, precise spot. It is similar to saying, “over here”.