In this lesson we’re going to tackle past participles in Portuguese, i.e. particípios passados Play slow audio Play normal audio past participles
What is a past participle? A past participle is a verb form that functions similarly to an adjective (e.g. “I am interested in that”), or that goes along with an auxiliary verb to form different verb tenses or use the passive voice (e.g. “The bill has been paid“, “The bill was paid“). Let’s look at a few examples to better understand how to use past participles in Portuguese:
Aquele filme? Já o tinha visto, sim. Play slow audio Play normal audio That film? I had already seen it, yes.
Tínhamos escrito ao professor para lhe pedirmos as notas. Play slow audio Play normal audio We had written to the professor to ask for our grades.
Notice that, in the two examples above, you needed to use another verb before using the past participles “seen” and “written”.
Past Participles and Auxiliary Verbs
Past participles in Portuguese never turn up alone. Just as in English, you can’t really use a past participle without a verbo auxiliar Play slow audio Play normal audio auxiliary verb. Auxiliary verbs are sometimes called “helping verbs” because they help express the tense, mood, or voice of the sentence’s main verb.
In the examples above, the verb ter Play slow audio Play normal audio to have is an auxiliary verb.
Sounds complicated? Worry not! When it comes to past participles, there are only five auxiliary verbs you need to know – and you’ll probably recognize them from previous lessons:
ter Play slow audio Play normal audio to have ser Play slow audio Play normal audio to be (permanent) estar Play slow audio Play normal audio to be (temporary) ficar Play slow audio Play normal audio to become, to stay haver Play slow audio Play normal audio to have, to exist
Next, we’ll explore the rules for using these auxiliary verbs with regular past participles. Then, you’ll have the opportunity to practice within the lessons of this unit before we move on to irregular past participles and double past participles.