Exploring food groups is a convenient way to help us learn European Portuguese food vocabulary in a more organized way.
First let’s look at some laticíniosdairy products
o geladoice 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 3 main types:
Leite magroSkimmed milk – Very low fat content
Leite meio-gordoSemi-skimmed milk – Medium fat content
Advérbios de grauAdverbs of degree, also called advérbios de intensidadeadverbs of intensity, tell us about how intensely something occurs. For the most part, Portuguese adverbs of degree operate just like English adverbs in terms of their placement and usage.
Portuguese adverbs of degree are usually placed before the word they’re modifying if it’s an adjective or adverb, and immediately after the word they’re modifying if it’s a verb.
We’ll look at 5 of the most frequent adverbs of degree, which are ordered below from the lowest to the highest degree:
NadaNothing, at all
MuitoReally, a lot
Nada translates to nothing when it is the object of a sentence, as in O João não deu nada.John gave nothing.. But as an adverb of degree (when modifying verbs that don’t require an object), nada more closely corresponds to the phrase “at all”.
You will notice in the examples below that this double negative formulation (não…nada) is allowed in Portuguese, whereas in English we would use “not…at all”.
Adverbs of afirmaçãoaffirmation and adverbs of negaçãonegation are some of the most essential words in all of the Portuguese language (and, indeed, any language). They are always invariable, so there is no need to worry about different variations.
Adverbs of affirmation are, as the name implies, words which signify that a given statement is true, or “positive”. They include:
SimYes literally just means yes. Things don’t get any simpler than this.
Sim, eu vou contigo.Yes, I’ll go with you.
RealmenteIndeed is the equivalent of indeed in English.
Advérbios de tempoAdverbs of time can tell us when, how often, or for how long an action happens. As with most other adverbs, adverbs of time are always invariable.
In this lesson we’ll start with some of the most frequent adverbs of time in Portuguese, which are:
QuaseAlmost, about to
We dealt with quase in the previous lesson, as an adverb of degree, remember? Well, in the context of time, quase expresses the idea that something is about to happen or is almost starting/finishing, so the meaning is just slightly different. Notice how the preposition ato is used.
O João está quasea chegar.John is about to arrive.
To have more fun with Portuguese, it’s important to master advérbiosadverbs. But what are they? Simply put, adverbs are words which modify other words – verbs, adjectives, and sometimes even other adverbs. They add to the meaning or clarify the manner in which a word applies to the rest of the sentence.
When an adverb modifies a verb, it tells us how the action is being carried out.
O João canta bem.João sings well.
The adverb bemwell tells us more about the manner in which João carries out the action (singing).
When an adverb modifies an adjective, it tells us how, or to what degree, the adjective applies to its noun.
A Maria é extremamente talentosa.Maria is extremely talented.
Adjectives are words that describe or qualify nouns. They can be adjetivos simplessimple adjectives if they’re just one word, or adjetivos compostoscompound adjectives if formed by two or more elements, usually (but not always) connected by a hyphen (-).
O carro vermelhoThe red car Um carro bonitoA beautiful car
Camisola rosa-choqueBright pink sweatshirt Homem surdo-mudoDeaf-mute man
In Portuguese, please can be por favorplease or se faz favorplease. They’re both equally correct and used in the same situations. Example:
Poderia trazer-me água, por favor?Could you bring me some water, please?
Poderia trazer-me água, se faz favor?Could you bring me some water, please?
We Portuguese tend to shorten words whenever we can. So don’t be confused if instead of se faz favor you hear ´faz favor in fast, informal speech.
The Portuguese expression is:
ObrigadoThank you, Obliged male speaker
ObrigadaThank you, Obliged female speaker
It’s said to be a leftover from a polite expression that went more or less like, “I am obliged (obrigado) to return your favour”. In fact, the English expression “much obliged” has the exact same meaning and would also be an accurate translation of Muito obrigadoThank you very much
Because you are the one who feels obliged to return the favour, your thank you must
There are a few different ways to say no, to make a sentence negative, or to refer to a quantity that is zero. Here are some of the important words to know:
The simplest way to make a sentence negative in Portuguese is just to place the word nãono, not before the verb. This is the Portuguese equivalent of adding “no” or “not” to a sentence in English. Examples:
Esta mota é rápida.This motorbike is fast.
Esta mota não é rápida.This motorbike is not fast.
As you’ll see below, nada, ninguém, nenhum, and nenhuma are sometimes used with the word não to form a double negative, which is a perfectly acceptable construction in Portuguese. The negatives don’t cancel each other out, but instead reinforce each other. In English, we use the word “any” instead, so that “I do not want none” becomes “I do not want any“.
Let’s go over each word to better understand how to use these negatives forms in context.
NadaNothing is the equivalent of “nothing”. It is only used for things or abstract concepts, not for people. Examples:
If you had to say which mood is used in the bolded part of this sentence, what would be your guess?
Well, you may have guessed just from reading the title that this is an example of the conditional mood, used to talk about hypothetical situations that are conditional or dependent on something else. In European Portuguese, it’s called condicionalconditional (or futuro do pretérito in Brazil) and it’s a single-tense mood.
Forming Conditional Conjugations
The conditional is a very easy mood to conjugate. All you need to do is take the infinitive form of a verb and add the following endings:
Ele, ela, você
Eles, elas, vocês
And you’re in luck — there are only three irregular verbs in the conditional!:
dizerto sayfazerto dotrazerto bring
For these three verbs, before adding the endings above, you first need to replace
When someone yells Sai!Leave! or a doctor says Pare de fumarStop smoking, there’s one thing they’re doing in common: using the imperativoimperative mood!
There are 2 types of imperatives, the affirmative and the negative, shown below respectively. In these examples, the speaker is talking to multiple people, i.e. using the vocês form.
Parem de fazer barulho.Stop making noise.
Não parem de correr.Don’t stop running.
Regular Verbs in the Imperative
The imperativoimperative can be thought of as the verb conjugation used for giving commands or telling someone to do something (or not to do something). These “commands” could take the form of orders, advice, requests, or pleas. Since the speaker is always talking directly to another person (or group of people), the imperative is only used with the following forms:
Whether you’re just visiting or planning to live in Portugal, learning some food vocabulary is going to be pretty important! 😆 As part of our Cooking and Eating unit, this guide should give you a good introduction to dining out in Portugal, or, in other words: comer foragoing out to eat
Breakfast & Coffee
There are caféscafés, coffee shops and pastelariasbakeries, which are often part of the same establishment, for snacks and light meals. This is where you’ll go for um pequeno-almoçoa breakfast or um lanchea snack
Perhaps you’ll ask for um caféa coffee and the world-famous pastel de natacustard tart. A pastel is usually a small tart or cake, which can be sweet, like the pastel de nata, or savoury, like the pastel de bacalhaucodfish cake. You’ll find a wide variety of delicious options to order at the pastelaria.
Unfortunately for those who like protein-rich breakfasts, it’s less common to find ovoseggs on the traditional Portuguese breakfast menu, though they do appear in a number of dishes served later in the day.
There are many different typical coffee beverages in Portugal. If you just order um caféa coffee you will receive an espresso, unless you specify otherwise. Some of the other most common options are:
What’s the difference between mau and mal? What about bom and bem? These pairs of words are very similar in meaning, but they’re not interchangeable. It comes down to understanding the difference between adjectives and adverbs and how they are used in Portuguese.
Good and bad are adjectives, which modify nouns (people / places / things). In Portuguese, adjectives must agree with the noun in gender and number:
bomgood masc. sing.bonsgood masc. plur.
boagood fem. sing.boasgood fem. plur.
maubad masc. sing.mausbad masc. plur.
mábad fem. sing.másbad fem. plur.
Well and badly are adverbs, which modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Adverbs are invariable, so the same words are used regardless of the gender and number of the noun.
Which One Do I Use?
Bom / Boa vs. Bem
Let’s look at these examples to illustrate the difference between bom/boa (adjectives) and bem (adverb).
Portuguese has several advérbios de lugaradverbs of place to indicate the relative position of a person or object. Five of them are particularly useful to learn: cáaquiaíalilá
In short, cá and aqui both mean here. Aí, lá, and ali mean there. Below we’ll explore the finer differences between each of these words.
Using Cá vs. Aqui
For the most part, cáheregeneral and aquiherespecific can be considered synonyms. They both indicate a position close to the speaker. While aqui is commonly used in both Portugal and Brazil, cá is, for the most part, specific to European Portuguese. Some people will use them interchangeably, but in theory, cá is less specific than aqui. Let’s see some examples:
When we talk about actions that are happening right at the time of speaking, we use the present continuous. Let’s start by taking a look at how this works in English.
Present continuous in the first person:
I am + verb ending in -ing
Example: I am driving
“I am” comes from the verb “to be” and is followed by the gerund form of the main verb (ending with -ing).
The Brazilian form is actually the most similar to English, so hopefully you’ll forgive us for mentioning it first! (We know you’re trying to focus on European and not Brazilian Portuguese, but it can be helpful and interesting to explore these differences sometimes. Plus, this gives you an easy way to spot if