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Food Groups

February 27, 2019

Exploring food groups is a convenient way to help us learn European Portuguese food vocabulary in a more organized way.

Dairy Products

First let’s look at some laticínios dairy products

  • o leite milk
  • o iogurte yogurt
  • o queijo cheese
  • a manteiga butter
  • o gelado ice cream
  • a nata 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 magro Skimmed milk – Very low fat content
  • Leite meio-gordo Semi-skimmed milk – Medium fat content
  • Leite gordo Whole milk – High fat content

Talking About Food

February 23, 2019

Portugal is a country of food lovers, so we use a lot of different expressions to describe the food we eat and how we feel about eating it. The 2 ways to say “I’m hungry” in Portuguese are:

Estou com fome I’m hungry

Tenho fome I’m hungry

Hunger and Satisfaction

I’m Hungry!

For starters, instead of saying I am hungry, in Portugal we start thinking about food when we have hunger or when we are with hunger. In Portuguese, this translates to:

  • ter fome feeling hungry
  • or estar com fome being hungry

If you’re really feeling quite peckish, you can say:

  • Estou esfomeado I’m famished
  • or even Estou a morrer de fome I’m dying to eat

We take our hunger very seriously…

Tenho fome. O que há para comer? I’m hungry. What’s there to eat?

Vamos depressa, eu estou a morrer de fome! Let’s go quickly, I’m dying to eat!

I’m Full!

Once we’re full, we say:

  • Estou cheio I’m full
  • or the more elegant alternative Estou satisfeito I’m satisfied
  • or the rare Estou saciado I’m satiated

The Preposition “Com”

February 23, 2019

One very common Portuguese preposition is com with

Like all prepositions, it’s an invariable word placed before a noun (or pronoun) to indicate the noun’s relationship to other words.

When to Use “Com”

Just like the English use of “with”, the preposition com is used to…

  • Indicate people or things that are together:

Vamos viajar com os nossos amigos. We will travel with our friends.

A refeição vem com uma bebida. The meal comes with a drink.

  • Say what something has or includes:

É um quadro com flores. It’s a painting with flowers.

  • Say what someone or something uses to perform an action:

Desenho com este lápis. I draw with this pencil.

  • Describe an emotion or state:

O atleta competiu com confiança. The athlete competed with confidence.

Unique Uses of “Com”

Com is also used in some contexts that are quite different from English, particularly when talking about

Adverbs of Degree: A Little, A Lot, etc.

February 22, 2019

Advérbios de grau Adverbs of degree, also called advérbios de intensidade adverbs 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.

Word Order

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:

  • Nada Nothing, at all
  • Pouco Few, little
  • Bastante Enough, very
  • Muito Really, a lot
  • Demasiado Too much


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 (nãonada) is allowed in Portuguese, whereas in English we would use “notat all”.

Eu não corro nada. I don’t run at all.

Adverbs of Affirmation and Negation

February 21, 2019

Adverbs of afirmação affirmation and adverbs of negação negation 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:


Sim Yes literally just means yes. Things don’t get any simpler than this.


Sim, eu vou contigo. Yes, I’ll go with you.


Realmente Indeed is the equivalent of indeed in English.


Adverbs of Time: Almost, Always, etc.

February 21, 2019

Advérbios de tempo Adverbs 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:

  • Quase Almost, about to
  • Ainda Still, yet
  • Enfim Finally
  • Agora Now
  • Sempre Always


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 a to is used.

O João está quase a chegar. John is about to arrive.

Adverbs of Degree: More, Less, etc.

February 21, 2019

Let’s look at some more adverbs of degree, which you’ll remember are always invariable. We’ll see examples of each of the following adverbs:

  • Mais More
  • Menos Less
  • Tão So, so much
  • Tanto So much, too much
  • Quase Almost


Mais simply means more, or plus.

Queres mais pão? Would you like more bread?


On the flip side, menos is equivalent to the English less, or minus.

Adverbs of Time

February 20, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll look at more examples of advérbios de tempo adverbs of time

Remember: adverbs of time are always invariable, meaning they do not change form to match the gender or number of the word they reference.


cedo early

Tenho uma consulta de manhã cedo. I have an appointment early in the morning.

Chegaste muito cedo. You’re very early.


tarde late

Introduction to Portuguese Adverbs

February 19, 2019

To have more fun with Portuguese, it’s important to master advérbios adverbs. 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.

Modifying Verbs

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 bem well tells us more about the manner in which João carries out the action (singing).

Modifying Adjectives

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.

Aonde vs Onde

February 8, 2019


The adverb onde where indicates a location.


Onde fica a tua casa? Where is your house?

Onde ouviste isso? Where did you hear that?

Onde can be used to replace expressions such as:

  • em que in which, where
  • no qual in which, where
  • na qual in which, where

É a gaveta em que estão as chaves It’s the drawer where the keys are

Lisboa é uma cidade na qual as casas são caras Lisbon is a city where the houses are expensive


Aonde To where is a contraction between the adverb onde where and the preposition  a to. It’s most commonly used with

Simple and Compound Adjectives

February 4, 2019

Adjectives are words that describe or qualify nouns. They can be adjetivos simples simple adjectives if they’re just one word, or adjetivos compostos compound adjectives if formed by two or more elements, usually (but not always) connected by a hyphen (-).

Simple Adjectives

O carro vermelho The red car
Um carro bonito A beautiful car

Compound Adjectives

Camisola rosa-choque Bright pink sweatshirt
Homem surdo-mudo Deaf-mute man

More compound adjectives:

Polite Expressions

January 31, 2019

Just like its people, the Portuguese language is very courteous. Below are just some of the many ways to express basic, everyday courtesy in Portuguese. These are probably the most important polite phrases that you should learn first, but there are also many others that will help get you started in simple conversations or greet people properly throughout the day.


In Portuguese, please can be por favor please or se faz favor please. 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.

Thank You

The Portuguese expression is:

Obrigado Thank you, Obliged male speaker

Obrigada Thank 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 obrigado Thank you very much

Because you are the one who feels obliged to return the favour, your thank you must

Forming Negative Phrases

January 31, 2019

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:

não no, not

nada nothing

ninguém nobody

nenhum nonemasculine

nenhuma nonefeminine


Não No, not

The simplest way to make a sentence negative in Portuguese is just to place the word não no, 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.

Double Negatives

nada nothingninguém nobody nenhum nonemasculinenenhuma nonefeminine

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.


Nada Nothing is the equivalent of  “nothing”. It is only used for things or abstract concepts, not for people. Examples:

The Conditional

January 28, 2019

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 condicional conditional (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:

Pronoun/Person Ending
Eu -ia
Tu -ias
Ele, ela, você -ia
Nós -íamos
Eles, elas, vocês -iam

And you’re in luck — there are only three irregular verbs in the conditional!:

dizer to say fazer to do trazer to bring

For these three verbs, before adding the endings above, you first need to replace

The Imperative

January 27, 2019

When someone yells Sai! Leave! or a doctor says Pare de fumar Stop smoking, there’s one thing they’re doing in common: using the imperativo imperative 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 imperativo imperative 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:

Plurals in Portuguese

October 27, 2018

A challenging part of learning Portuguese is realizing that many words need to be adjusted to agree with the gender and number of the people or objects we are talking about.

Let’s see a quick overview of which types of words change, and which ones stay the same to help us understand how to make words plural in Portuguese.

Invariable Words

The invariable classes of words (that don’t change to match gender and number) are:

  • advérbios adverbs  Adverbs generally modify verbs, adjectives or other adverbs, clarifying or intensifying their meaning.
  • preposições prepositions – Prepositions connect different words in a sentence.
  • conjunções conjunctions – Conjunctions connect different clauses of a sentence.
  • interjeições interjections – Interjections are filler words or words that express a strong, abrupt feeling

Variable Words

The variable classes of words (that do change to match gender and number) are:

Dining Out In Portugal

October 27, 2018

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 fora going out to eat

Breakfast & Coffee

There are cafés cafés, coffee shops and pastelarias bakeries, which are often part of the same establishment, for snacks and light meals. This is where you’ll go for um pequeno-almoço a breakfast or um lanche a snack

Perhaps you’ll ask for um café a coffee and the world-famous pastel de nata custard 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 bacalhau codfish 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 ovos eggs 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 café a coffee you will receive an espresso, unless you specify otherwise. Some of the other most common options are:

Essential Portuguese Conjunctions

October 27, 2018

There are 3 essential conjunctions that you’ll need to start connecting your thoughts and forming more complex sentences in Portuguese:

e and

mas but

ou or

These 3 are called conjunções coordenativas coordinating conjunctions, because they combine multiple independent phrases into one.

You’ll learn more on this topic later, but for now, we’ll focus on these 3 essentials.

1) “E” = “And”

The conjunction e and is an additive, or copulative, coordinating conjunction. It is used simply to add two ideas together.

A menina e o menino andam The girl and the boy walk

You could also say “A menina anda. O menino anda.”, but adding e helps the sentence flow better.

Just like in English, when combining more than two ideas together, or when listing items, it’s usually better to separate the words with commas and only

Good/Bad vs. Well/Badly

July 26, 2018

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:

bom good masc. sing. bons good masc. plur.

boa good fem. sing. boas good fem. plur.

mau bad masc. sing. maus bad masc. plur.

bad fem. sing. más bad 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.

bem well

mal badly, poorly

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).

Five Essential Adverbs of Place – Cá, Aqui, Aí, Ali, Lá

July 6, 2018

Portuguese has several advérbios de lugar adverbs of place to indicate the relative position of a person or object. Five of them are particularly useful to learn: aqui ali

In short, 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, heregeneral and aqui herespecific can be considered synonyms. They both indicate a position close to the speaker. While aqui is commonly used in both Portugal and Brazil, is, for the most part, specific to European Portuguese. Some people will use them interchangeably, but in theory, is less specific than aqui. Let’s see some examples:

Present Continuous in Portuguese

June 1, 2018

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

Regular -AR Verbs in the Simple Past

May 16, 2018

The English simple past tense (e.g. “I went”, “We ate”, “You finished”) corresponds to the Portuguese pretérito perfeito simple past.

As with the present tense, conjugating regular Portuguese verbs in this tense is easier once you learn the patterns for each verb group.

Examples of some regular verbs in the -AR group include falar to speak, gostar to like, and andar to walk.

Let’s see the conjugations for the latter: