Portuguese contractions

Portuguese Contractions

Contrações paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Contractions are simply the result of merging two words into one. In English, this includes words like I’m (I + am), you’re (you + are), we’ll (we + will), etc. With Portuguese contractions, however, it typically happens when certain prepositions are combined with certain other types of words.

Which Words Form Contractions in Portuguese?

When these words…

… are preceded by the prepositions below, sometimes a contraction is formed. Here are the general rules for contracting with each preposition:

  • em – Add the letter n to the other word (em + o = no).
  • de – Add the letter d to the other word (de + o = do).
  • a – The words are merged into one (a + os = aos) with no deletions, or, if it’s merged with a word beginning with a, it simply gets a grave accent (à).
  • por – To contract with definite articles, add pel- before the article.
  • para – To contract with articles, add pr- before the article. Contractions with para are more informal and are generally only used in spoken language. You may see them in informal written communication such as texts or emails, though.
  • com – Forms contractions with certain pronouns (see below).

We’ve covered some of these Portuguese contractions within other units, but here you can see them all together in this handy chart. This may seem like an overwhelming list at first, but it’s really just applying the same simple patterns to different words.

Chart of Portuguese Contractions

The prepositions are shown along the top (x-axis) and the various words they combine with are found along the side (y-axis).

em de a por
o paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio the no paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio do paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio ao paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio pelo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
a paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio the na paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio da paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio à paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio pela paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
os paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio the nos paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio dos paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio aos paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio pelos paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
as paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio the nas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio das paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio às paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio pelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
um num paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio * dum paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio *
uma numa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio * duma paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio *
uns nuns paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio * duns paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio *
umas numas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio * dumas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio *
este neste paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio deste paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
esta nesta paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio desta paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
estes nestes paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio destes paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
estas nestas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio destas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
esse nesse paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio desse paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
essa nessa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio dessa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
esses nesses paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio desses paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
essas nessas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio dessas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
aquele naquele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio daquele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio àquele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
aquela naquela paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio daquela paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio àquela Play normal audio
aqueles naqueles paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio daquelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio àqueles paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
aquelas naquelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio daquelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio àquelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
aquilo naquilo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio daquilo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio àquilo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
isto nisto paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio disto paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
isso nisso paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio disso paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
ele nele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio * dele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio *
ela nela paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio * dela paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio *
eles neles paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio * deles paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio *
elas nelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio * delas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio *
algum nalgum Play normal audio *
alguma nalguma Play normal audio *
aqui daqui Play normal audio *
daí Play normal audio *
ali dali Play normal audio *
onde donde paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio * aonde paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio *

In addition, the preposition com paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with sometimes combines with certain tonic pronouns (y-axis):

com
mim comigo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with me
ti contigo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with you (informal)
si consigo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with him, with her, with you (formal)
nós connosco paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with us *
vocês convosco paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with you (plural) *
eles
elas
consigo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with them *

There are also contractions formed when combining direct and indirect object pronouns, which we’ll cover separately here: Merging Clitic Object Pronouns.

Are Contractions Mandatory?

(*) The contractions marked with * in the chart above are not always mandatory.
You may be wondering when you should use contractions, and when you shouldn’t. You must use the contraction in these contexts:

  • Prepositions + demonstrative pronouns
  • Prepositions + definite articles (o/os/a/as)
    • Note: The words o/os/a/as are not always definite articles. The same words are also used as direct object pronouns. In those cases, there is no contraction — it remains de o, etc. The contraction only applies when it’s preposition + definite article. For example, it’s okay to say:
      • Estou farto de o ouvir falarI’m tired of hearing him talk

When it comes to the preposition com

  • mim, ti, si: The contraction is mandatory. (In other words, you can’t say ❌ com mim, ❌  com si, or ❌  com ti.)
  • nós: The contraction is mandatory, except for when nós is followed by words such as outros, mesmos, próprios, etc. In every other situation, we use connosco. For example:
    • Estamos irritados com nós própriosWe are annoyed with ourselves
    • Venham connosco! paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Come(pl.) with us!
  • consigo: The contraction is optional. For example, you can say either of these — they mean the same thing:
      • Eles trouxeram o material consigoThey brought the material with them
      • Eles trouxeram o material com elesThey brought the material with them
      • Consigo is more commonly used to refer to você (you – sing.,formal), but it is sometimes used to refer to ele(s)/ela(s) if it’s reflexive (as in the example above) or if it’s very clear from context who you’re referring to. When in doubt, you can stick to com ele, com elas, etc. to reduce the ambiguity. More info

Colloquial Contractions in Portuguese

There are some common ways Portuguese speakers like to shorten their words when speaking. We even made a video about it!

estar → ‘tar

The verb estar often become tar in spoken language. For example:

    • estou paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I am'tou Play normal audio
    • estava Play normal audio I was'tava Play normal audio

With the Simple Past, by removing the ‘es’ from the verb, the slang version of the verb estar essentially becomes the same as the verb ter paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to have. This might cause some confusion for non-native speakers but, luckily, you can usually get the meaning from the context of the sentence. For example:

    • Eu estive em casaEu 'tive em casa Play normal audio I was at home vs. Eu tive esse livro Play normal audio I had that book
    • Estivemos com os nossos amigos'Tivemos com os nossos amigos Play normal audio We were with our friends vs. Tivemos um jantar com os nossos amigos Play normal audio We had a dinner with our friends

não é → né

This phrase is often used at the end of a statement to turn it into a question that serves as a confirmation of what was just said.

    • não é? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio isn't it?, right?né? Play normal audio

para o → pro

Contractions formed with para are generally only used in spoken form, when speaking fast and informally. However, you might also see the words below written in an informal context, such as a text message:

    • para o → pro Play normal audio
    • para os → pros Play normal audio
    • para a → pra Play normal audio
    • para as → pras Play normal audio

Examples: Portuguese Contractions Within Sentences

Let’s see how some of these Portuguese contractions are used in sentence form. Remember that, while sometimes prepositions can translate smoothly between Portuguese and English, most of the time you have to step back and focus on the construction and meaning of the entire phrase. Don’t get too caught up in the exact word-to-word translation, as you’ll discover that they are wildly inconsistent.
A família passa o dia na praia paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The family spends the day at the beach
Ela está no carro paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio She is in the car
Está em cima da televisão paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio It's on top of the TV
Eu não conheço nenhum dos meus avós paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I don't know any of my grandparents
Deve estar numa prateleira paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio It must be on a shelf
Eu não faria as coisas dessa forma paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I wouldn't do things (in) that way
Concordo contigo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I agree with you(inf.)
Obrigada pelo presente Play normal audio Thank you for the present
Ela vai à festa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio She goes to the party

Learning More

You can practice with Portuguese contractions throughout the other units, especially these:

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