Final subordinating conjunctions (conjunções subordinativas finais) describe the purpose for the event or action described in the independent clause.
Temporal subordinating conjunctions (conjunções subordinativas temporais) tell us when the action or event described in the independent clause has occurred or is occurring.
Tu vs. Você in European Portuguese
This guide will cover the grammar and usage of addressing people formally vs. informally in Portugal, with a special focus on the difference between using the pronouns tu and você in European Portuguese. Grammatically, it doesn’t take too long to learn the basics. The most challenging aspects for estrangeiros foreigners, however, tend to be those that have to be made on a social level. For example, you must determine not only when it’s best to speak to someone formally, but also choose 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, but 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 along with others, you’ll use:
Here’s how we refer to the present day, the day before, and the next day:
Now let’s put them into context:
Let’s explore some examples of the most common words used to talk about the order and relationships among different events in time.
Previous and Future Time
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.
The Portuguese calendar has several holidays and holiday periods throughout the year. Holiday can have two meanings in Portuguese:
- feriado holiday – A public holiday, or day to celebrate something of specific cultural or religious importance at a local or national level.
- férias holiday, holidays, vacation – A planned period of time off work or school. Férias are often scheduled around important feriados.
Some of the Main Holidays in Portugal
In Portuguese, the structure of dates is dia de mês de ano (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. You may have also noticed that the names of the months and days of the week are not capitalized in Portuguese, as they are in English.
In written form, dates appear
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.
Let’s learn how to tell time in Portuguese! While many countries favour the 12-hour clock system, Portugal usually uses the 24-hour clock, especially in more formal contexts.
How to Tell Time in Portuguese: The Basics
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 learn about further below).
Let’s start with the basics! One of the simplest Portuguese greetings is Olá! Hi! and one of the simplest ways to say goodbye is Tchau! Bye! or the slightly more formal Adeus! Goodbye!. However, it’s also very common to say hello or goodbye with a more specific greeting based on what time of day it is. So before we cover greetings and kissing etiquette in Portugal, let’s first learn how we talk about different períodos do dia periods of the day, from sunrise to sunset:
Times of Day
- a madrugada very early in the morning – from midnight to 6am/dawn
- a manhã the morning – from about 6am until noon
- a tarde the afternoon – from noon until about 6pm (or around o pôr-do-sol sunset when it gets dark)
- a noite the night – from about 6pm to midnight
Although technically the transition from a manhã to a tarde is always at 12:00 noon, the
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 Portuguese words for the days of the week.
As far as demonstratives are concerned, a can only form contractions with aquele(s), aquela(s), and aquilo.
A + Variable Demonstratives
A is a very important and versatile Portuguese preposition. It can correspond to many different English words, depending on the context. For example:
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:
The preposition em in 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.
Em + Variable Demonstratives
|Near the speaker:|
|Near the listener:|
|Away from both:|
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)
De + Variable Demonstratives
|Near the speaker:|
|Near the listener:|
|Away from both:|
As you can see, they are all formed by simply adding a “d” to the beginning of the demonstrative. 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 are much easier to learn, because as you can see below, there are only 3 of them. You still have to consider the position of the object(s), but not the number or gender.
|Relative Position||Invariable Demonstrative Pronoun|
|Near the speaker:||isto this|
|Near the listener:||isso that|
|Far 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“!
|Near the speaker:||este this||esta this|
|Near the listener:||esse that||essa that|
|Far from both:||aquele that||aquela that|
|Near the speaker:||estes these||estas these|
|Near the listener:||esses those||essas those|
|Far from both:||aqueles those||aquelas those|
As you can see, this is to these as este/esta is to estes/estas, 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. Let’s look at a few examples…
Variable demonstratives are used to indicate all of the following at once:
- a person or object’s gender
- the number (one or more)
- the position in space or time
The “demonstrative” part of this fancy 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 near the listener, OR
- c) The object is far away from both speaker and listener
As you may have realized, this doesn’t happen in English. You 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 thing 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 in the table below.
Demonstrativos Demonstratives 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 learning note will serve as 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
The preposition em in, on, at, about is usually a bit easier to understand compared to others. Although there are multiple uses, em most commonly refers to being “in” something, either physically or conceptually:
Em can also have other meanings, such as about, on, and at.
This difference between por and para in Portuguese is a topic that is tricky for English speakers. Although both of these words can translate to “for”, you have to choose the correct one depending on the situation.
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 extremely common and used in a variety of different situations. De can correspond to many different English translations, depending on the context. Let’s explore some of its many uses:
What is a Preposition?
In this Learning Note, we’ll learn about Portuguese prepositions, but first let’s review: what exactly is a preposition? Preposições 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 such as 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:
Translating a preposition is often not very straightforward. There are many situations like this, in which a Portuguese preposition corresponds to multiple possibilities in English, or vice-versa.
Sometimes you’ll even come across Portuguese phrases that use a preposition, while the corresponding English translation does not. For example: