Below we will discuss the three main methods to talk about a future fact or inevitability in Portuguese:
1. Using Ir + Infinitive
Similar to the English construction, to discuss the future, Portuguese uses the verb irto go, followed by a verb in its infinitive form.
Aside from very formal or literary contexts, this method is the most common. It’s also the easiest, because as long as you can conjugate ir in the present tense, you just need to know the next verb’s infinitive form. Let’s see how this works with the verbs correr and chegar in the examples below.
You may be surprised to learn that all verbs ending in -OR are actually part of the same group as verbs that end in –ER. 🤔 These “-por” verbs are considered part of the -ER group because of their Latin origins: pôr used to be written as poer (i.e. with an -ER ending), which comes from the Latin word ponere. Let’s look at the present tense conjugations, which are irregular:
AdjetivosAdjectives are words that describe a noun, assigning it a quality, state, appearance, or other property. Adverbs are also used to describe, but instead of nouns, they modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. In Portuguese, using adjectives requires that you consider the gender and number of the word being modified, as well as the word order of the sentence.
Many different types of words can fall into the category of adjectives, including colours, shapes, materials, and nationalities. They are the words that let us distinguish between concepts like:
Possessives formed with de are less ambiguous: they agree strictly with the subject, not with the object. In contrast, seu and its derivatives agree with the object, so we are not able to differentiate between the several possible 3rd person subjects without extra context.
Dele, dela, deles, delas
delehis – When the subject is ele (him).
delaher – When the subject is ela (her).
delestheir – When the subject is eles (them, a group with at least one male).
delastheir – 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 gender and number of the object/noun being
To review, the possessive pronouns/determiners for the third-person forms are the following:
Ele, Ela, Você
His, Her/Hers, Your/Yours(formal)
As you can see, elehe, him, elashe, her, vocêyouformal, elesthey, themmasc., and elasthey, themfem. all share the same exact possessive determiners! Since the determiners agree with both the number and the gender of the noun that is being possessed (rather than the subject), knowing precisely who we’re talking about is a bit tricky. Let’s see some examples:
In this unit, we’re going to learn about possessive determiners and possessive pronouns in Portuguese, 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 tell 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, possessive pronouns and possessive 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.
At this point, you’re probably starting to get familiar with the verbs serto be permanent state and estarto be temporary state. Yet, even with a lot of practice, they are still easy to mix up! Don’t worry: in this unit you’ll learn more about when 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 being described. Here’s the verb conjugated in the present tense:
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
The room where you’ll likely spend lots of time relaxing with your family and friends is known as a sala de estarthe living room. You may invite them to sit on the sofásofa and enjoy a nice conversation, or perhaps share a meal at the mesa de jantardining table.
You might watch the televisãotelevision, or perhaps grab a book from the estantebookcase 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” and refer to the living room as simply a sala, since it’s usually implied.
The Kitchen – A Cozinha
While preparing your meal in a cozinhathe kitchen, you’ll grab some food from o frigoríficothe refrigerator to cook on o fogãothe stove or in o micro-ondasthe microwave.
SerTo 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 presente do indicativopresent tense:
Grammatically, it doesn’t take too long to learn the basics of addressing someone formally versus informally. But the most challenging aspects for estrangeirosforeigners 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 grey areas in between.
The Easy Stuff
Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we’ll start with the easy pronouns first: those which don’t have formal or informal variations.
There is no distinction between formal and informal for the first person pronouns.
When talking about yourself, you’ll use EuI. Piece of cake!
When talking about yourself along with others, you’ll use:
The seasons of the year are called as estações do anothe seasons of the year in Portuguese.
Their names have Latin origins, which by now you may have noticed is very common in Portuguese. (Don’t you wish you had paid more attention to Latin in school? 😜 ) Just like English, the seasons of the year are not capitalized in Portuguese.