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Quantifiers – Existential Quantifiers

May 2, 2019

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.

Quantifiers – Universal Quantifiers

May 1, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll learn about Portuguese universal quantifiers. Universal quantifiers (quantificadores universais) are quantifiers that apply to every element of a given group.

Todo, Toda, Todos, Todas

Todo (masculine) and toda (feminine) are the singular form equivalents to “all”, “whole”, “every”, or “entire” in English.  Examples:

Limpei este quarto todo. I cleaned this entire room.

Passei a manhã toda a estudar. I spent the whole morning studying.

Todos (masculine) and todas (feminine) are the plural forms of todo and toda, and maintain the same meaning.

Quantifiers – Interrogative Quantifiers

April 23, 2019

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?

Quantifiers – Relative Quantifiers

April 23, 2019

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.

Examples:

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.

Determiners and Pronouns

April 22, 2019

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.

Determiners – Demonstrative Determiners

April 20, 2019

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.

Determiners – Interrogative Determiners

April 5, 2019

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

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?

Determiners – Indefinite Determiners

April 5, 2019

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.

Clitic Pronouns – Nos and Vos

March 30, 2019

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

Nos is equivalent to the English “us” or “to us”, as it is used for both direct and indirect objects. Examples:

Clitic Pronouns – Reflexive Pronouns

March 30, 2019

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.

Subject pronoun Reflexive pronouns
Eu me
Tu te
Ele / Ela / Você se
Nós nos
Eles / Elas / Vocês se

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).

Determiners – Definite and Indefinite Articles

March 29, 2019

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

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.

O, Os

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:

Clitic Pronouns – Me, Te

March 29, 2019

In this lesson we’ll explore the first two clitic pronouns in Portuguese, me and te.

Me

Me is equivalent to the English “me” or “to me”, as it is used for both direct and indirect objects. Examples:

Ela chamou-me ao gabinete. She called me to the office.

Não me parece boa, esta maçã. This apple doesn’t look good to me.

Te

Te, on the other hand, is equivalent to the English “you” or “to you”, and it is also valid for both direct and indirect objects. Examples:

Clitic Pronouns – Merging Pronouns

March 22, 2019

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.

Dei-lha. I gave it to her.

Clitic Pronouns – Third Person Singular and Plural

March 22, 2019

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).

O/A, Os/As

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.

Examples:

Clitic Pronouns – Direct & Indirect Objects

March 22, 2019

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 direct and indirect objects.

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.

Direct Objects

A direct object (complemento direto) answers the questions “what?” or “whom?”, and therefore shows a direct connection with the main verb, complementing it.

Let’s look at a few examples:

Clitic Pronouns – The Position of Clitics

March 21, 2019

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.

Subject pronoun Direct object pronoun Indirect object pronoun
Eu (Me) me
Tu (You) te
Ele/Você (You, male) o (lo, no) lhe
Ela/Você (You, female) a (la, na)
Nós (Us) nos
Vocês (You) vos
Eles (They) os (los, nos) lhes
Elas (They) 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:

Comprido, Longo & Curto

March 12, 2019

When it comes to qualifying something according to length, you might come across these three adjectives:
longo, comprido e curto long, 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.

Longo

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-prazo I don’t make long-term plans
Foi uma longa reuniãoIt was a lengthy meeting
A distância é longa até Madrid It’s a long distance to Madrid

An exception would be, for example, when talking about sentences/texts: Eu escrevo textos longos I write long texts

Adverbs of Manner – Bem/Melhor, Mal/Pior, Através

March 11, 2019

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

Bem is the equivalent to the English “well”. Example:

Muito bem, essa camisola está bem lavada. Well done, that jumper is well washed.

Degrees of Adjectives

March 8, 2019

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 normal positive degree; the grau comparativo comparative degree; and the grau superlativo superlative 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.

Examples:

A Joana é mais feliz que o Pedro. Joana is happier than Pedro.

Simple Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases

March 8, 2019

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 & Realmente

March 4, 2019

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.

Examples:

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:

Adverbs of Time – The Adverb “Já”

March 1, 2019

One of the most common adverbs of time is , which at its core means “in this moment”. Like all other adverbs of time, 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 as Already

Perhaps the main use of , and the most straightforward one, is when it is equivalent to the English “already”.

Examples:

Adverbs of Place – Aqui/Cá, Aí/Lá, Ali/Acolá

March 1, 2019

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 (), 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 andare 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”.

Examples:

Fico aqui à tua espera. I’ll be waiting for you here.

Ele deixou aqui o chapéu. He left his hat here.

, meanwhile, conveys a more general location, rather than a single, precise spot. It is similar to saying, “over here”.

Adverbs of Place – Debaixo, Acima, Abaixo

March 1, 2019

No one’s above a little studying! In this lesson, we’ll be looking at some more adverbs of place. Remember: Unlike other adverbs, adverbs of place only modify verbs.

Acima

Acima is the equivalent of “above”, and as such it is rather straightforward.

Examples:

Ninguém está acima da lei. No one is above the law.

Veja a ilustração no exemplo acima. Look at the illustration in the example above.

Abaixo

Abaixo means “below” (the opposite of acima). Abaixo describes a thing or person that is in an inferior position in relation to another thing or person.

Examples: