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 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. It is one of the most frequently used adverbs, and possibly one of the most confusing for non-native speakers! The meaning of já in Portuguese 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:
Portuguese has several advérbios de lugaradverbs of place to indicate the relative position of a person or object. Five of these adverbs are particularly useful to learn: cáaquiaíaliláacolá. In short, cá and aqui both mean here. Aí, lá,ali, and acolá mean there. Below we’ll explore the finer differences between each of these words.
Here and There
In Portuguese, here and there are 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 vs. Cá
AquiHereexact and cáheregeneral are used when talking about things 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. While they’re both equivalent to the English word here, there is a subtle difference in the intended meanings of each word. Take these sentences, for example:
A minha família está cá.My family is here. – When you use cá to talk about people, you might simply be saying that your family is in the same country or town as you are (e.g. cá em Portugalhere in Portugal)
A minha família está aqui.My family is here. – In contrast, if you use aqui, it can imply that your family is much closer to you — in the same room or building, or even right next to you (e.g. aqui ao meu ladohere by my side)
Let’s explore a few more examples with each word individually:
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 […]
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 Portuguese 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 be more precise and descriptive in your Portuguese conversations, it’s important to master Portuguese 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 (-).
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:
Let’s learn how to say goodbye in Portuguese! There are many options, depending on who you are talking to, the time of day, or how long it will be until you see them again. Take a look at the infographic below for a quick guide:
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 in Portuguese 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 in Portuguese
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: