Quantifiers – Universal Quantifiers

In this lesson, we’ll learn about quantificadores universais universal quantifiers. Universal quantifiers are quantifiers that apply to every element of a given group. In English, this would include words like all, none, any, both, and every. Let’s learn about each of the words used to express these concepts in Portuguese.

Todo, Toda, Todos, Todas

Todo (masculine) and toda (feminine) are the singular form equivalents to “all”, “whole”, “every”, or “entire” in English.  Examples:
Limpei este quarto todo. I cleaned this entire room.
Passei a manhã toda a estudar. I spent the whole morning studying.
Todos (masculine) and todas (feminine) are the plural forms of todo and toda, and maintain the same meaning. Examples:
Todos os patinhos sabem bem nadar! Every duckling knows how to swim!
Vou tirar daqui estas calças todas. I’m putting away all of these trousers.

Nenhum, Nenhuma, Nenhuns, Nenhumas

Nenhum (masculine) and nenhuma (feminine) are singular form equivalents to the English “none” or “not any”. Examples:
Nenhum destes cartões é meu. None of these cards are mine.
Nenhuma destas gravatas é tua? None of these ties are yours?
Nenhuns (masculine) and nenhumas (feminine) are the plural forms of nenhum and nenhuma. Examples:
Não vi erros nenhuns. I did not see any mistakes.
Nenhumas destas botas me agradam. None of these boots are to my liking.

Qualquer, Quaisquer

Qualquer is a singular form equivalent to the English “any”, and remains the same for both masculine and feminine. Example:
Qualquer lugar é bom. Any place is fine for me.
Quaisquer is the plural form of qualquer. Examples:
Quaisquer opções têm as suas desvantagens. Any options have their disadvantages.

Ambos, Ambas

Ambos (masculine) and ambas (feminine) are equivalent to the English “both”. Example:
Ambos os irmãos são louros. Both brothers are blond.
Eu enviei uma carta a ambas. I sent a letter to both of them.

Cada

Cada Each corresponds to the English “each” or “every”. Examples:
Cada um destes bonecos custa 5 euros. Each of these dolls costs 5 euros.
Trouxe um queque para cada pessoa. I brought a muffin for every person.

Comments:

  • Even though I know all the words I find these summations very helpful. They invariably include a usage or construction of which I was not aware.

  • I’m revising all the units
    In this one two of the examples puzzle me.
    Nenhuma destas gravatas
    Nenhumas destas botas.
    In both the subjects are plural but the quantifiers are not.
    Please explain.
    Mac

    • Olá, Mac. In the second example you gave, the quantifier is indeed plural (“Nenhumas destas botas…”). In theory, grammatically speaking, it’s fine to use both singular and plural versions of the quantifier “nenhum”. Then, in practice, what happens is:

      1) For many people, the singular forms “Nenhum(a)” have become dominant over the plural forms, which makes sense in a way, because what you’re really saying (still using the example of the boots) is that not one of those boots pleases you. An exception is made for double negations – the plural forms are often used for emphasis. For example, “Não vi erros nenhuns!” (“I did not see any mistakes!”) sounds perfectly natural for a native speaker.

      2) It depends on the number of whatever it is that you’re talking about. Imagine a situation where someone is taking a multiple choice exam and they want to say that they don’t like any of the options. To my ears, saying it in the singular (“Nenhuma das opções me agrada“) fits better when the person is referring to just one of the questions. On the other hand, to talk about a number of questions or about the exam as a whole, the plural (“Nenhumas das opções me agradam“) seems more appropriate.

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