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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. It is one of the most frequently used adverbs, and possibly one of the most confusing for non-native speakers! The meaning of 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 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

Portuguese has several advérbios de lugar adverbs of place to indicate the relative position of a person or object. Five of these adverbs are particularly useful to learn: aqui ali acolá . In short, 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
  • 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 vs. Cá

Aqui Hereexact and heregeneral are used when talking about things 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. 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 . My family is here. – When you use 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 Portugal here 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 lado here 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”.

Other examples:

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 Portuguese 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). It refers to 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 […]

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 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:

  • 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 be more precise and descriptive in your Portuguese conversations, it’s important to master Portuguese 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 Portuguese Adjectives

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

Compound Portuguese 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 polite phrases used to express basic, everyday courtesy in Portuguese. This guide covers the most important ones, 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:

Saying Goodbye in European Portuguese

January 31, 2019

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:

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 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:

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 in Portuguese

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: