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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:

O professor chamou-nos no final da aula. The professor called us at the end of class.

Não nos parece justa esta decisão. This decision doesn’t seem fair to us.

Bear in mind that the clitic Nos is also used for third person plural, when the preceding verb form ends in a nasal sound – am/em/êm/ão.

Vos

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

Clitic Pronouns – Reflexive Pronouns

March 30, 2019

Reflexive pronouns (pronomes reflexos) are a specific group of object pronouns used when the action of a verb is applied to the subject of the sentence. In other words, we use them with verbs whose action is something one does to oneself. In English, this would be words like myself, yourself, himself, etc. For example, in the sentence “She convinced herself”, she is both the subject and the object, so we use herself as the reflexive pronoun. The following table contains all of the reflexive pronouns in Portuguese.

Subject pronounReflexive pronouns
Eume
Tute
Ele / Ela / Vocêse
Nósnos
Eles / Elas / Vocêsse

All reflexive pronouns are enclitics – they immediately follow the verb, using a hyphen. Notice that you do not see vos in this chart. Unlike the clitics me, te, or nos, which can function as both reflexive pronouns and as direct/indirect object pronouns, vos is used only as a direct/indirect object pronoun. For reflexive pronouns, it is replaced by -se.

Let’s have a look at each one individually, using one of the most simple 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 contract these two pronouns by adding the third person direct pronouns to 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 this sentence, neither the direct object (uma prenda) nor the indirect object (à Joana) have been replaced by a clitic.

Dei-lhe uma prenda. I gave her a gift.

In this sentence, the indirect object (à 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 – The Position of Clitics

March 21, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll have a look at all the clitic (object) pronouns in Portuguese*. Clitic pronouns are basically mini-words that go along with a verb to show to whom or to what the action refers. They take the place of the direct object and indirect object pronouns.

Subject pronounDirect object pronounIndirect 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.

But before we can study them, we must learn about where they can be placed regarding 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 reunião It 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 futebol I 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:

Adverbs of Place – Dentro, Fora, Atrás, Defronte, Adiante

March 1, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll be looking at some more adverbs of place. Remember: Unlike other adverbs, adverbs of place only modify verbs.

Dentro

Dentro is the equivalent to the English “in” or “inside”.

Examples:

Dentro da caixa está um presente. Inside the box, there’s a present.

Ela está dentro da sala. She’s in the room.

Fora

Fora is the equivalent to “outside” in English.

Examples:

Adverbs of Place – Onde, Longe, Perto, Adiante, Antes, Depois

March 1, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll be looking at adverbs of place (advérbios de lugar). These adverbs tell us where something happens, or where something is, so they’re pretty essential for building up your Portuguese sentences. Most Portuguese adverbs of place are quite straightforward for English speakers.

Placing Adverbs of Place

Portuguese adverbs of place are quite versatile: they can be placed before or after the verb they’re modifying. Unlike other adverbs, adverbs of place don’t modify adjectives or other adverbs; they only modify verbs. Sounds simple, right? Let’s see a few of them in action:

Onde

Onde is the equivalent to the English “where”.

Examples:

Onde está a minha camisola? Where’s my jumper?

Está onde a deixaste. It’s where you left it.

Longe

Longe is the equivalent to “far” in English.

Storage, Tools And Cooking

February 28, 2019

Food Storage

There are many different places and containers you can use to store or preserve food. 

  • Food that can be stored at room temperature can be placed in the despensa pantry, in the armário de cozinha kitchen cabinet, or right on the bancada counter or mesa table. Fruit, in particular, can be put in a fruteira fruit holder, which might be a bowl, basket, or a whole multi-tiered stand.

  • Food that needs to be preserved at lower temperatures could be placed in the frigorífico fridge, others in the congelador freezer. Some people might have a arca frigorífica freezer cabinet, which is a bigger freezer, separate from the fridge.

Cooking Tools and Appliances

To prepare food on the kitchen counter or table, we often use a tábua de cortar cutting board.

Food Vocabulary – Main Food Groups

February 27, 2019

Food groups are convenient to help us learn food-related vocabulary in a more organized way.

Dairy Products – Laticínios

Portuguese TermEnglish Translation
o leite (pl. leites)milk
o iogurte (pl. iogurtes)yogurt
o queijo (pl. queijos)cheese
a manteiga (pl. manteigas)butter
o gelado (pl. gelados)ice cream
a nata (pl. natas)cream

Leite, iogurte and queijo are a part of many Portuguese people’s breakfasts and snacks. Queijo, in particular, is very important and there are several tasty varieties. As for leite, there are at least three types:

  • Leite magro Skimmed milk – Very low-fat content

  • Leite meio-gordo Semi-skimmed milk – Medium fat content

  • Leite gordo Whole milk – High-fat content