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Expressing Quantities – Muito, Pouco, Algum

May 1, 2018

The following three simple words are used to express quantities in Portuguese:

muito many, much, a lot

pouco few, a little

algum some, a few

When describing items you can count (which usually end in “-s” in English as well as Portuguese), muito, pouco and algum all change according to gender and quantity:

Eu tenho muitos amigos. I have many friends.

Poucas pessoas sabem o segredo. Few people know the secret.

Eles compraram algumas prendas. They bought some gifts.

With uncountable nouns (such as virtues, qualities, or time, which usually don’t end is “-s” in either language), muito, pouco and algum stay in their singular form, while maintaining gender agreement:

Regular Verbs in the Present Tense: ER Verbs

May 1, 2018

As mentioned, verbs are split into three groups:

  • Group 1: verbs ending in -AR
  • Group 2: verbs ending in -ER
  • Group 3: verbs ending in -IR

Now we’ll deal with the 2nd group:

ER Verb Endings

Below are some examples of regular -ER verbs. Have a look at the endings (-o, -es, -e, -emos, -em) that are added after each verbs’ stem (beb-, vend– and viv-, respectively).

Regular Verbs in the Present Tense: AR Verbs

May 1, 2018

In Portuguese, verbs are split into three groups:

  • Group 1: verbs ending in -AR
  • Group 2: verbs ending in -ER
  • Group 3: verbs ending in -IR

In this article, we’ll cover the first group.

Common verbs ending in -AR include falar to speak, pensar to think and amar to love.

When the conjugation is regular, the endings of conjugated -AR verbs follow the same pattern. Below, we’ll use falar to speak in the present tense as an example:


to speak


Falar – Indicativo – Presente

Eu falo com ela todos os dias.
I speak with her everyday.

  • eu falo
  • I speak
  • tu falas
  • you speak
  • ele / ela fala
  • he / she speaks
  • você fala
  • you formal speak
  • nós falamos
  • we speak
  • eles / elas falam
  • they feminine

” class=”glossaryLink”>fem. speak

  • vocês falam
  • you Once you memorize the endings for one regular -AR verb (-o, -as, -a, -amos, -am), you can follow the pattern to conjugate all the others… (unless they’re irregular 🙈).

  • First Look at Portuguese Adjectives

    May 1, 2018

    Adjetivos Adjectives are words that describe a noun, assigning it a quality, state, appearance, etc.

    These are the words that let us distinguish between um bom carro a good car and uma carrinha avariada a broken van

    Dele(s) and Dela(s) vs. Seu(s) and Sua(s)

    March 30, 2018

    How do we decide when to use dele, dela, deles, delas  vs. seu, sua, seus, suas?

    dele, dela, deles, delas

    • Dele His – When the subject is ele (him).
    • Dela Her – When the subject is ela (her).
    • Deles Their – When the subject is eles (them, a group with at least one male).
    • Delas Their – When the subject is elas (them, an all-female group).

    seu, sua, seus, suas

    These are also used for the same 3rd person subjects, but the specific form used must match the object/noun being

    Third-Person Possessive Using the Preposition “De”

    March 30, 2018

    We’ve seen that in Portuguese, the possessive pronouns/determiners for the third person are the following:

    SubjectPossessive Pronoun/DeterminerEnglish Equivalent
    Ele, ElaSeu, Sua, Seus, SuasHis, Her/Hers, Your/Yours (formal)
    Eles, ElasSeu, Sua, Seus, SuasTheir, Theirs

    As you can see, the third person singular – você, ele and ela – and the third person plural – eles and elas – share the same exact pronouns. Since the pronoun agrees with both the person and the gender of the noun that is being possessed, knowing precisely who we’re talking about is a bit of a mess. Let’s see some examples:

    Introduction to Possessives

    March 30, 2018

    In this unit, we’re going to learn about possessive pronouns and possessive determiners, which both serve the function of expressing possession or ownership of something.

    In English, we use my, your, his, her, their, and our as possessive determiners and mine, yours, his, hers, theirs, and ours as possessive pronouns.

    Possessive determiners precede the noun they are modifying. They tells you to whom a specific item belongs. For example, in the sentence “It is my cat”, you can tell that the word “my” is a determiner because it needs to be followed by a noun (“cat”). “It is my” would not be a complete sentence.

    Possessive pronouns replace the noun they are modifying. They convey ownership without telling what exactly is being owned. For example, in the sentence “It is mine”, you can tell that the word “mine” is a possessive pronoun because it can stand on its own in place of a noun.

    Possessives in Portuguese

    In Portuguese, both pronouns and determiners make use of the same words – meu, teu, seu, nosso, vosso – as well as their feminine and plural forms. As you will see below, this means that there are multiple possible translations of a single English word. For both possessive determiners and possessive pronouns, you start by choosing the form that goes with the person possessing something, and then modify that word to match the gender and number of the noun being possessed.

    Possessive Pronouns/Determiners – Meu, Teu, Nosso, Vosso

    March 10, 2018

    Let’s take a closer look at this first group of possessive pronouns and determiners: meu, teu, nosso and vosso, plus their feminine and plural forms.

    SubjectPossessive Pronoun/DeterminerEnglish Equivalent
    EuMeu, Minha, Meus, MinhasMy, Mine
    TuTeu, Tua, Teus, TuasYour, Yours


    NósNosso, Nossa, Nossos, NossasOur, Ours
    Vós, VocêsVosso, Vossa, Vossos, VossasYour, Yours


    Gender and Number Agreement

    The table above may look overwhelming because the pronoun/determiner has to agree in gender and number with the noun it refers to, (just like how we use other adjectives).

    For example, if we’re talking about single objects, such as um jornal a newspaper (masc. noun) or uma revista magazine (fem. noun), we’d have:

    Ser vs. Estar – Two Ways of Being

    March 10, 2018

    At this point, you’re probably starting to get familiar with the verbs ser to be permanent state and estar to be temporary state. And yet, sometimes, they are still easy to mix up! Worry not: in this unit you’ll learn more about how to use one versus the other.

    A Basic Distinction: Ser vs Estar

    • Ser is used to describe permanent states or conditions. It refers to an immutable or long-lasting attribute of the person or object we’re describing. Here’s the verb conjugated in the present tense (presente do indicativo):

    Common Household Items

    August 14, 2017

    The average home is full of all kinds of objects, pieces of furniture, and appliances. In this unit, we’ll explore the most common objects you’ll find in each room of your house.

    The Living Room – Sala de Estar

    This is the room where you’ll likely spend lots of time relaxing with your family and friends. You may invite them to sit on the sofá sofa and enjoy a nice conversation, or perhaps share a meal at the mesa de jantar dining table.

    You might watch the televisão television, or perhaps grab a book from the estante bookcase to do some reading.

    Ele senta-se no sofá da sala (de estar) a ler um romance. He sits on the living room sofa reading a novel.

    Note that it’s common to omit “de estar” after “sala” since it’s usually implied.

    The Kitchen – A Cozinha

    While preparing your meal, you’ll grab some food from o frigorífico the refrigerator to cook on o fogão the stove or in o micro-ondas the microwave.

    In the kitchen you might also find

    Types of Houses and Rooms

    July 11, 2017

    Either you decided to comprar to buy or arrendar to rent property a place in Portugal, here are some of the main types of housing you probably had to choose from:

    Types of Housing

    • um quarto A single room – A private bedroom for yourself in a house shared with other people.
    • um apartamento a flat, apartment – A complete, unshared home, but in um prédio a building shared with others.
      • You can further distinguish between um estúdio a studio apartment which has fewer divisions, or perhaps an apartment with two floors, which, just like in English, is called um duplex a duplex.
    • uma vivenda A detached house – A house that is not connected to any other others, which might even contain um quintal a garden.
    • casas geminadas semi-detached houses – Somewhere in between a detached house and an apartment, which share a single common wall to form a two-unit building.
    • uma quinta farm – A larger property in which the residential function of the building is combined with agricultural work.

    Aquele casal comprou um apartamento no sétimo andar. That couple bought an apartment on the seventh floor.

    A minha família tem uma quinta no campo. My family has a farm on the countryside.

    Types of Rooms

    Now that you’ve described the type of home, let’s take a look inside:

    Possessive Pronouns/Determiners – Seu, Seus, Sua, Suas

    June 18, 2017

    There are just a few more pronouns/determiners to learn:

    SubjectPossessive Pronoun/DeterminerEnglish Equivalent
    Ele, Ela, VocêSeu, Sua, Seus, SuasHis, Her/Hers, Your/Yours (formal)
    Eles, ElasSeu, Sua, Seus, SuasTheir, Theirs

    See what happens there? The pronouns/determiners for the third-person singular (and formal second-person singular) and the third-person plural are all the same!

    Gender and Number Agreement

    Once again, the pronouns or determiners must agree with the respective noun (not with the subject!).

    If we’re talking about single objects such as um carro a car (masc. noun) and one uma mota a motorcycle (fem. noun), here’s what we get:

    O Verbo “Ser” – To Be

    June 18, 2017

    Ser to be is one of the most fundamental and important Portuguese verbs. It also happens to be an irregular verb, which helps explain why the conjugations below look quite different from the verb’s infinitive form. For now, we’ll focus on ser in the present tense (presente do indicativo):

    Intro to Subordinating Conjunctions

    June 12, 2017

    Subordinating conjunctions (conjunções subordinativas) join an independent clause to a dependent clause.

    The conjunction is always found in the dependent part of the sentence, or dependent clause (oração subordinada). This is the part that could not stand on its own as a complete sentence.

    The independent clause (oração subordinante) is the part of the sentence that does not contain the conjunction and would still be a complete idea if the dependent part of the sentence were removed.

    Subordinating conjunctions are always invariable words, meaning that they don’t have gender or number agreement (unlike adjectives, for example).

    Coordinating vs. Subordinating Conjunctions

    June 12, 2017

    Coordinating Conjunctions (conjunções coordenativas)

    • Used to link clauses (parts of the sentence) that have equal importance
    • Both parts of the sentence could be separated without changing the meaning.
    • Examples:

    Eu vou ao cinema e ela vai ao teatro I go to the cinema and she goes to the theatre.
    O limão é azedo, mas eu gosto The lemon is sour, but I like it

    Subordinating Conjunctions (conjunções subordinadas)

    How to Address People Formally vs. Informally

    May 31, 2017

    Grammatically, it doesn’t take too long to learn the basics of addressing someone formally versus informally. But the most challenging aspects for estrangeiros foreigners tend to be the decisions that have to be made on a social level – not only understanding when it’s best to speak to someone formally, but choosing between the subtle variations of how formal language is used.

    Even the natives (like Rui! 🇵🇹) have a hard time dissecting some of these unspoken social rules, so our aim is to make this the definitive resource of how to speak formally vs. informally in European Portuguese, and all the subtleties in between.

    Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we’ll start with the easy pronouns first: those which don’t have formal or informal variations.

    First person

    There is no distinction between formal and informal for the first person pronouns.

    When talking about yourself, you’ll always use Eu I first person. Piece of cake!

    When talking about yourself along with others, you’ll use:

    Introduction to Adjectives

    April 28, 2017

    Adjectives (adjetivos) are words that describe the attributes of a person or object (noun), including color, size, shape, relative age, and more.

    Adjectives need to agree in gender and number with the noun they describe:

    O carro é caro The car is expensive

    A televisão é cara The television is expensive

    Os carros são caros The cars are expensive

    Today, Yesterday and Tomorrow

    March 26, 2017

    Here’s how we refer to the present day, the day before, and the next day:

    hoje today
    ontem yesterday
    amanhã tomorrow

    Now let’s put them into context:

    Hoje é sexta(-feira). Today is Friday.
    O jogo foi ontem às quatro da tarde (16h00). The game was yesterday at 4 in the afternoon.
    O inverno começa amanhã. Winter starts tomorrow.

    By combining the terms antes before and depois after with ontem and amanhã, you can also form expressions to refer to

    Now, Before and After – Time Relationships

    March 26, 2017

    Here are a few ways to express how a certain date or time relates to another:

    Current Time

    agora now is the term we use when we’re referring to the present. O filme vai começar agora. The movie will start now.
    Agora está muito frio. Now it’s very cold.

    Previous and Future Time

    Here’s how we refer to the past or future:

    Seasons of the Year

    March 26, 2017

    The seasons of the year are called as estações do ano.

    Their names have Latin origins, which by now you must be noticing is very common in Portuguese. (Don’t you wish you had paid more attention to Latin in school? 😜)

    Primavera Spring
    Verão Summer
    Outono Autumn
    Inverno Winter

    Portuguese Holidays

    March 26, 2017

    The Portuguese calendar has several holidays and holiday periods throughout the year. Holiday can have two meanings in Portuguese:

    • a day to celebrate something of specific cultural or religious importance at a local or national level (called feriado), or
    • a planned period of time off work or school (called férias). Férias are often scheduled around important feriados, such as Christmas (Natal) or Easter (Páscoa).

    Some of the Main Holidays in Portugal

    Holiday Name and DateEnglish Translation
    Ano Novo (1 de Janeiro)New Year’s
    Carnaval (Fevereiro)Carnival, Mardi Gras
    Páscoa (Março/Abril)Easter
    Dia da Liberdade (25 de Abril)National Freedom Day
    Dia de Portugal (10 de Junho)Portugal’s National Day
    Natal (25 de Dezembro)Christmas

    In Portuguese, the structure of dates is “(Dia) de (Mês) de (Ano)” or “(Day) of (Month) of (Year)”, and the numbers are typically cardinal, not ordinal. That means that you say Um de janeiro January one instead of Primeiro de janeiro January first. In writing, dates are written as