Relative Quantifiers

April 23, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll learn about quantificadores relativos relative 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.


quanto as much as masc.

Tenho tanto de comer quanto necessito. I have as much to eat as I need.

quanta as 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.


quantos as 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!

quantas as many as fem.

Levo tantas maçãs quantas tiveres. I’ll take as many apples as you have.

Determiners vs. Pronouns

April 22, 2019

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.

Demonstrative Determiners

April 20, 2019

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.

Interrogative Determiners

April 5, 2019

In this lesson we’ll learn about determinantes interrogativos interrogative determiners

Interrogative determiners are words we use to formulate questions or exclamations. There are only two of them, but they are quite important!


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. The same form is used for both masculine and feminine nouns. For example:

Ela visitou qual museu? Which museum did she visit?

Indefinite Determiners

April 5, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll have a look at determinantes indefinidos indefinite 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 outro othermasc. and outra otherfem.

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 outros othermasc. and outras otherfem.

Clitic Pronouns: Nos & Vos

March 30, 2019

In this lesson we’ll explore the last two clitic pronouns in Portuguese, nos and vos.

A few quick reminders:

  • No hyphens are required if they’re proclitics (placed before the verb)
  • 2 hyphens are required if they’re mesoclitic (placed between two parts of verb)
  • 1 hyphen is required if they’re enclitics (placed after the verb).
  • With 1st person plural verbs that end in s, such as vamos, the s is dropped before adding the pronoun nos or vos
    • For example: vamos + nos = vamo-nos, as in Vamo-nos embora Let’s get out of here


Nos corresponds to us or to/for us, as it is used for both direct and indirect objects. Examples:

Reflexive Pronouns

March 30, 2019

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

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

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-se to dress oneself

Definite and Indefinite Articles

March 29, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll compare Portuguese definite articles and indefinite articles. Artigos Articles 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.

Definite Articles

Artigos definidos Definite 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.

O, Os

The article o the is used for masculine nouns in the singular, while os the is used for masculine nouns 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.

A few quick reminders:

  • No hyphens are required if they’re proclitics (placed before the verb)
  • 2 hyphens are required if they’re mesoclitic (placed between two parts of verb)
  • 1 hyphen is required if they’re enclitics (placed after the verb)


Me corresponds to me or to/for me in English, 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, on the other hand, is used in informal contexts and is equivalent to the English you or to/for you. It is also valid for both direct and indirect objects. Examples:

Merging Clitic Pronouns

March 22, 2019

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.

Dei-lha. I gave it to her.

Clitic Pronouns: 3rd Person

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. Let’s 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, it, or them as the direct object. We have the default forms: 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 or a (corresponding to him or her, respectively) in singular form and os or as (standing for them, masculine and feminine) in plural form.


Clitic Pronouns: Direct & Indirect Objects

March 22, 2019

Pronomes clíticos Clitic 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.

Direct Objects

A complemento direto direct object 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:

Introduction to Clitic Pronouns

March 21, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll have a look at all the pronomes clíticos clitic 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

Subject Pronoun Direct Object Pronoun Indirect Object Pronoun
Eu me
Tu te
Ele, Você (male) o (lo, no) lhe
Ela, Você (female) a (la, na)
Nós nos
Vocês vos
Eles os (los, nos) lhes
Elas 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.

There are three possible positions for clitics:

Comprido, Longo, and 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 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 longo long 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 when talking about sentences/texts: Eu escrevo textos longos I write long texts

Adverbs of Manner

March 11, 2019

Advérbios de modo Adverbs 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 well
  • melhor better
  • mal badly, poorly
  • pior worse
  • através through


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.

Degrees of Adjectives

March 8, 2019

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 […]

Simple Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases

March 8, 2019

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 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 examples of each type.

Bastante, Quase, and Realmente

March 4, 2019

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:

  • bastante enough, very, many
  • quase almost
  • realmente really

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:

Adverbs of Time: Já

March 1, 2019

One of the most common adverbs of time is already, now, which at its core means in this moment. Like all other adverbs of time, is always invariable.

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 as Already

Perhaps considered the primary use of , and the most straightforward one, is when it means already. Examples:

Adverbs of Place: Here and There

March 1, 2019

Here and There

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
  • There – Close to the listener:
  • There/Over there – Far from both the speaker and listener: , ali, or acolá

Let’s take a look at each group in more detail.

Aqui & Cá

Aqui Hereexact and heregeneral 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.

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

Adverbs of Place: Above and Below

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 Above is the equivalent of above, and as such it is rather straightforward.

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 Below 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.

Adverbs of Place: In, Out, etc.

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 Inside

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

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


Fora Outside

Adverbs of Place: Near, Far, etc.

March 1, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll be looking at advérbios de lugar adverbs 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:


Onde Where

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

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


Longe Far

A Portuguese Kitchen

February 28, 2019

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 […]