In this lesson, we’ll learn about quantificadores relativosrelative quantifiers. Relative quantifiers don’t specify an exact quantity, but instead tell us about how a quantity compares in relation to an unspecified whole. Sound complicated? The examples below will make everything more clear.
Quanto, Quanta, Quantos, Quantas
Quanto and quanta are the singular form equivalents to “as much as” in English.
quantoas much as masc.
Tenho tanto de comer quanto necessito.I have as much to eat as I need.
quantaas much as fem.
Ela aprendeu tanta matéria quanta havia no manual.She learned as much as there was to learn in the textbook.
Quantos and quantas are the plural forms of quanto and quanta, and they’re equivalent to “as many as” in English.
quantosas many as masc.
Vou deitar a mão a tantos bombons quantos conseguir!I’ll have as many chocolates as I can get my hands on!
quantasas many as fem.
Levo tantas maçãs quantas tiveres.I’ll take as many apples as you have.
To master Portuguese, it is essential that we tackle determiners. As you may recall, we have already learned about a few types of determiners in previous units, such as articles, possessives, and demonstratives. So this will be a good opportunity to review, as well as to be introduced to some new types. In this unit, we will focus primarily on:
definite articles (such as o and a)
indefinite articles (such as um and uma)
demonstrative determiners (such as este and estes)
indefinite determiners (such as outro and certo)
interrogative determiners (such as que and qual)
Before we dive in, let’s quickly review how to differentiate between determiners and pronouns.
In this lesson, we’ll review a topic we’ve covered before, which is Portuguese demonstratives – este, esta, esse, essa, aquele, and aquela – as well as their plural forms. In Portuguese, demonstrative determiners indicate where something is in relation to to the speaker and listener in terms of place or time, and must agree in gender and number with the noun they define.
Este(s) & Esta(s)
Este(masculine) and esta (feminine) are the singular form equivalents of “this” in English. 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 have a look at determinantes indefinidosindefinite determiners
Indefinite determiners are words that express an undefined quality about the noun they’re referencing, similar to “other people”, “another beer”, or “certain things” in English. In Portuguese, indefinite determiners always agree in gender and number with the noun.
Other & Another
The singular forms of “other” or “another” are outroothermasc. and outraotherfem.
Dá-me outro destes bolos, por favor.Give me another one of these cakes, please.
Temos de pôr aqui outra mesa.We have to place another table here.
The plural forms are outrosothermasc. and outrasotherfem.
When the direct object or indirect object represents the same person or thing as the subject of the verb, it’s expressed by a 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. For example, 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 technically belonging to 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, for now we’re going to disregard si and consigo, which are stressed pronouns, and talk about those in another unit.
Reflexive Pronouns in Portuguese
Ele / Ela / Você
Eles / Elas / Vocês
When it comes to placing these pronouns 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-seto dress oneself
In this lesson, we’ll compare Portuguese definite articles and indefinite articles. ArtigosArticles are small words that precede and define a noun. In Portuguese, articles take on different forms to agree in gender and number with the noun they define. In English, we just have the definite article the and the indefinite articles a, an, and some.
Artigos definidosDefinite articles are determiners used to indicate that we are referring to a specific, well-defined thing or person. There are four types, which all correspond to “the” in English. We use o and os for masculine nouns, plus a and as for feminine nouns.
The article othe is used for masculine nouns in the singular, while osthe is used for masculine nouns in the plural. Examples:
In Portuguese, when we use a verb that asks for both a direct and indirect object (and the objects are known, 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.
Now, we’ve replaced the indirect object (a Joana) with the clitic –lhe, while the direct object remains in place.
Pronomes clíticosClitic pronouns are one of the trickiest subjects 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 more about the difference between direct and indirect objects.
The objects of a sentence can be represented in various ways, the most common being nouns and pronouns. Some verbs don’t need objects for the sentence to make sense, while others demand them. These are called transitive verbs.
For example, take the English phrase “She wants”. That sounds incomplete, right? In English, want is a transitive verb, so you need more information. What does she want? “She wants that car.” Now it’s a complete sentence, with “that car” as the direct object.
A complemento diretodirect object 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 clíticosclitic pronouns in Portuguese (not including reflexive pronouns, which we’ll deal with separately later on).
Clitic pronouns are basically unstressed morphemes (sort of like 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.
Chart of Clitic Pronouns
Direct Object Pronoun
Indirect Object Pronoun
Ele, Você (male)
o (lo, no)
Ela, Você (female)
a (la, na)
os (los, nos)
as (las, nas)
We can see in the table that the pronouns o, a, os and as are only used in place of direct objects. The opposite goes for lhe/lhes, as these are only used to represent an indirect object. Me, te, nos, and vos can be used for both.
Position of Clitic Pronouns
Before we study these further, we should learn about where these pronouns can be placed in relation to the verb.
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 longoand comprido both mean long, but they tend to be used in different contexts. Let’s take a closer 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 longolong 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 when talking about sentences/texts: Eu escrevo textos longosI write long texts
Advérbios de modoAdverbs of manner, 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 one thing that distinguishing an adverb of manner (or any adverb) is 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 of well in English. Example:
A lareira funciona bem?Does the fireplace work well?
Muito bem, essa camisola está bem lavada.Well done, that jumper is well-washed.
In Portuguese, adjectives change form depending on the gender and number of the noun. Similarly to English, they can also be expressed in different : Positive Degree This is the basic form of each adjective. We use it to qualify a noun without making any comparisons. Comparative Degree You use the comparative degree to… you […]
So far, you’ve learned what prepositions are and you’ve been introduced to quite a few of them.
Similar to English, there are dozens of prepositions in Portuguese grammar. There are simple prepositions (single words, some of which form contractions with pronouns and articles) and there are prepositional phrases. For example:
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 examples of each type.
In this learning note, we’ll explore 3 tricky Portuguese words that can take on very different meanings depending on their placement in a sentence or the type of word they modify:
bastanteenough, very, many
We’ve mentioned 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, in other contexts, 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!
As an adverb, 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 as three other parts of speech:
One of the most common adverbs of time is jáalready, now, which at its core means in this moment. Like all other adverbs of time, já is always invariable.
Já is one of the most frequently used adverbs, and possibly one of the most confusing for non-native speakers! The meaning varies quite a bit depending on the context. Because of this, you should try to focus more on the general influence the word has on a phrase, rather than thinking of an exact translation. Let’s have a look at some of the different uses of já:
Já as Already
Perhaps considered the primary use of já, and the most straightforward one, is when it means already. Examples:
If you thought that we’d left out the most essential 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, it gets a bit more complicated because different words are used to make a distinction between how close things are in relation to the speaker and listener:
Here – Close to the speaker: aqui or cá
There – Close to the listener: aí
There/Over there – Far from both the speaker and listener: lá, ali, or acolá
Let’s take a look at each group in more detail.
Aqui & Cá
AquiHereexact and cáheregeneral are used when talking about things close to the speaker. While they’re both equivalent to the English word here, there is a subtle difference between them.
Aqui designates the exact spot where the speaker is, regardless of the listener’s location, so you could think of it as “in this place” or “right here”.
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”.
In this lesson, we’ll be looking at advérbios de lugaradverbs of place. These adverbs tell us where something happens or where something is, so they’re pretty essential for building up your Portuguese sentences.
Placing Adverbs of Place
Portuguese adverbs of place are quite versatile as 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:
Enjoying food is an important part of the culture of Portugal. Whether you’re buying groceries, ordering at a restaurant, or just talking about food, you’ll need to be comfortable with the basics of Portuguese cooking vocabulary. To start, let’s focus on some of the things you might find in a Portuguese kitchen. Food Storage There […]