As you saw in previous lessons, the days of the week are very different from other languages. But as luck would have it, the names of os meses do ano the months of the year in Portuguese are quite similar to other languages, since we all use the same Gregorian calendar. All the names share common roots in Roman culture.
The Portuguese use the verb haver to be, to have to express the past, whether it be minutes, hours, days, months, or years. Used like this, haver is an impersonal verb, meaning that it doesn’t take a particular subject and is always used in the present tense form of the third-person conjugation: há
Normally the verb haver means “there is/are”. However, when used before words that express an amount of time, it works similarly to the word ago placed after a time-related phrase in English.
The phrase construction is pretty straightforward:
Há + Amount of Time Passed
While many countries favour the 12-hour clock system, Portuguese-speaking countries usually use the 24-hour clock.
|English Time (am)||Portuguese Time||English Time (pm)||Portuguese Time|
|12 am (midnight)||00h (zero horas or meia-noite)||12pm (noon)||12h (doze horas or meio-dia)|
|1||1h (uma hora)||1||13h (treze horas)|
|2||2h (duas horas)||2||14h (catorze horas)|
|3||3h (três horas)||3||15h (quinze horas)|
|4||4h (quatro horas)||4||16h (dezasseis horas)|
|5||5h (cinco horas)||5||17h (dezassete horas)|
|6||6h (seis horas)||6||18h (dezoito horas)|
|7||7h (sete horas)||7||19h (dezanove horas)|
|8||8h (oito horas)||8||20h (vinte horas)|
|9||9h (nove horas)||9||21h (vinte e uma horas)|
|10||10h (dez horas)||10||22h (vinte e duas horas)|
|11||11h (onze horas)||11||23h (vinte e três horas)|
Telling Time Formally vs. Informally
In formal situations, you should apply the 24-hour clock system, and use the exact minutes shown on the clock, rather than more informal expressions of subdivisions of time (as you will see below).
Although the transition from a manhã to a tarde is always clearly 12:00 noon, the rest of the terms are
The origin of the names of the days of the week in Portuguese
The numbering of each weekday in Portuguese might have to do with ancient Easter celebrations, in which people were granted seven days of rest, starting from Sunday. Sunday would then be called, in Latin, feria prima (first free day), while the day after would be feria secunda (second free day) and so on. These Latin roots are evident today in the naming of the days of the week in Portuguese.
|Day in English||Day in Portuguese||Origin|
|Sunday||domingo||Latin: dies Dominicus (day of the Lord)|
|Monday||segunda-feira||Latin: feria secunda|
|Tuesday||terça-feira||Latin: feria tertia|
|Wednesday||quarta-feira||Latin: feria quarta|
|Thursday||quinta-feira||Latin: feria quinta|
|Friday||sexta-feira||Latin: feria sexta|
As previously mentioned, the preposition “a” can be combined with the articles a, as, o, and os to become à, às, ao and aos.
As far as demonstratives are concerned, a can only be contracted with the following:
a + aquela = àquela
a + aquelas = àquelas
a + aquele = àquele
a + aqueles = àqueles
a + aquilo = àquilo
A is a very important and versatile preposition. It can correspond to many different English words, depending on the context:
A… or A?
It’s easy to mistake the preposition a with the definite article a. They both look the same, but they serve different functions in the sentence. As you hear or read a Portuguese sentence, think about whether “a” would make more sense as:
Em can be combined with variable and invariable demonstratives to form a number of very useful contractions.
Remember that all the same rules for demonstratives remain valid when they appear in the following contractions.
|Relative Position / Number||Demonstrative (masc./fem./invariable)||Contraction (masc./fem./invariable)||English|
|Near the speaker (singular):||este/esta/isto||neste/nesta/nisto||in this|
|Near the speaker (plural):||estes/estas/—||nestes/nestas/—||in these|
|Near the listener (singular):||esse/essa/isso||nesse/nessa/nisso||in that|
|Near the listener (plural):||esses/essas/—||nesses/nessas/—||in those|
|Away from both (singular):||aquele/aquela/aquilo||naquele/naquela/naquilo||in that|
|Away from both (plural):||aqueles/aquelas/—||naqueles/naquelas/—||in those|
These contractions can be used to indicate positions, movement or time, to identify something more clearly, and
You learned in The Preposition “De” (from the first Prepositions unit) that “de” has several different meanings and can be joined together (contracted) with:
- articles (do, da, dos, das), and
- pronouns (dele, dela, deles, delas)
Another very common combination is with demonstratives, both variable and invariable. These are the possible contractions:
|Relative Position and Number||Demonstrative (masc/fem/invariable)||Contraction (masc/fem/invariable)||English Equivalent|
|Near the speaker (singular):||este/esta/isto||deste/desta/disto||this|
|Near the speaker (plural):||estes/estas/—||destes/destas/—||these|
|Near the listener (singular):||esse/essa/isso||desse/dessa/disso||that|
|Near the listener (plural):||esses/essas/—||desses/dessas/—||those|
|Away from both (singular):||aquele/aquela/aquilo||daquele/daquela/daquilo||that|
|Away from both (plural):||aqueles/aquelas/—||daqueles/daquelas/—||those|
These contractions can express possession, origin, direction, and more. Here are some examples:
You have learned that prepositions are usually small, but important, words that usually come before a noun to show how it relates to other elements in the sentence.
An important part of mastering European Portuguese is not only learning the meaning of each of these prepositions, but also the nuances of when each one should be used.
Prepositions can be used to establish a time or a location…
To describe movement…
To express a purpose…
The same preposition can often have a completely different meaning depending on
In the previous lessons of this unit, you learned about variable demonstratives, which change depending on the gender and number of the objects(s) they describe.
Here’s some good news for you: Invariable demonstrative pronouns (pronomes demonstrativos invariáveis) are much easier to learn, because as you can see below, there are only 3 of them. They do still tell you the position of the object(s), but not the number nor gender.
|Relative Position||Invariable Demonstrative Pronoun||English Equivalent|
|Near the speaker:||isto||this|
|Near the listener:||isso||that|
|Away from both:||aquilo||that|
Even though these pronouns also translate to this and that in English, their meaning and usage is slightly different.
You can think of these invariable pronouns as being more impersonal than their variable counterparts.
How Do You Know When to Use Invariable vs. Variable?
Although we’re usually told to avoid thinking in English, here’s a trick:
As you’ll recall, variable demonstratives have to agree not only in gender and location, but also in number.
For every variable demonstrative covered in the previous lesson (which were all singular), there is also a plural counterpart.
It might sound scary, but you’re in luck: all you have to do is take the singular form and add an “s“!
|Relative Location||Masculine (Singular/Plural)||Feminine (Singular/Plural)||English (Singular/Plural)|
|Near the speaker:||este/estes||esta/estas||this/these|
|Near the listener:||esse/esses||essa/essas||that/those|
|Away from both:||aquele/aqueles||aquela/aquelas||that/those|
As you can see, these is to this as estes/estas is to este/esta, and so on. Once you master the singular demonstratives from the last lesson, you can easily come up with its plural, and all the same rules about gender and location apply.
Gender: Cortinado is masculine, so if there is one curtain, we start with
Variable demonstratives (demonstrativos variáveis) are used to identify all of the following at once:
- a person or object’s gender
- the number (one or more)
- their position in space or time
The “demonstrative” part of this fancy pronoun’s name, refers to the last point above; the item’s position. We must choose which demonstrative to use, according to which one of the following fits best:
a) The object is near the speaker
b) The object is far from the speaker, but close to the listener
c) Far away from both of you
As you may have realized, this doesn’t happen in English: We just have to choose between this and that. That’s it! In English, the position of the object relative to the speaker is the only one that counts. In Portuguese, we have to choose which “that” to use according to where the object is in relation to the listener.
This lesson will cover singular variable demonstratives, all of which you can see below:
Demonstratives (demonstrativos) help to identify a particular person or object and establish its location in relation to the speaker, the listener, or simply within the general context. They can tell us, for example, whether something is close or distant in space or time.
In English, we generally use the words this and these to refer to things that are close to the speaker or things that are happening at the present time, and we use that or those to refer to objects that are further from the speaker or things that happened in the past. In Portuguese, you must also take into account the proximity to the listener and whether something happened in the recent or distant past. The Portuguese demonstratives are este(s), esta(s), esse(s), essa(s), aquele(s), aquela(s), isto, isso, and aquilo. This is just an overview, so don’t overwhelm yourself with memorizing all of these just yet. We’ll focus on one group at a time in the lessons to follow.
Pronouns vs. Determiners
You may recall what we learned in the Possessives unit about the difference between
This preposition is usually a bit easier to understand compared to others. Although there are multiple uses, it most commonly refers to being “in” something, either physically or conceptually:
“Em” can also have other meanings, for example:
This is a topic that is tricky for English speakers, because although both of these words can mean “for”, you have to choose the correct one depending on the situation.
Para can mean “for”, “to”, “in order to” or “towards”.
To refer to a destination or result, you would always choose “para” instead of “por”.
De is one of the first Portuguese prepositions you should learn because it’s used extremely often in a variety of different situations. De can correspond to many different English translations, depending on the context.
What is a Preposition?
Prepositions are short words that usually occur before a noun (or pronoun). They show how the noun relates to another element in the sentence in terms of time, location, movement, or other parameters. For example, the English prepositions in, at, on, and through could be used to create prepositional phrases like in the morning, at the park, on the table, and through the rain.
To get us started, here are a few examples of Portuguese prepositions that translate somewhat easily into English:
There are many situations like this, in which a Portuguese preposition corresponds to multiple possibilities in English, or vice-versa.
Sometimes you’ll even see that a Portuguese phrase uses a preposition, while the corresponding English translation uses nothing:
It’s All About o Dinheiro!
Portugal has no official religion, but most of its population is Christian (81% Catholic). However, only about 19% attend mass and take the sacraments regularly. In Portugal, Church and State are formally separate, but the Catholic Institution still has a strong influence, especially for the older population.
Like other parts of the world, holidays like o Natal Christmas have gradually transformed from being purely religious to being more commercialized, cultural holidays, especially for the younger generations. Despite the growing commercialization and consumerism of the holiday, it is still possible to find some old traditions, especially in as aldeias the small towns of Portugal.
Explicative coordinating conjunctions (conjunções coordenativas explicativas), link parts of the sentence to indicate a reason or explanation.
Conclusive coordinating conjunctions (conjunções coordenativas conclusivas), as the name implies, express a consequence or conclusion. These are similar to explicative coordinating conjunctions, but they more specifically indicate a cause and effect relationship between parts of the sentence.
In the right context, pois and logo can also be included in this group (although as standalone words they don’t really have clear English translations).
Disjunctive coordinating conjunctions (conjunções coordenativas disjuntivas) express an idea of choice or alternative, that only one of the parts of the sentence can be true.
The most obvious example is ou or
Here are some examples of disjunctive conjunction phrases:
Adversative coordinative conjunctions (conjunções coordenativas adversativas) indicate a contrast between parts of the sentence.