Regular Past Participles

In Portuguese, there are three types of past participles:

  • Particípios passados regulares paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Regular past participles,
  • Particípios passados irregulares paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Irregular past participles, and
  • Duplos particípios passados paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Double past participles

In this lesson, we’ll have a look at regular past participles, that is to say, past participles which behave in a predictable way. These participles depend on the verb’s ending, i.e. they have a specific ending depending on whether they’re the past participle of an -AR, -ER or -IR verb.

-AR Verbs

For -AR verbs – andar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to walk, falar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to speak, amar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to love, for instance – the regular ending of the past participle is ‘-ado’, which is added to the root of the verb. Examples:
Os alunos tinham andado até ao instituto. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The students had walked up to the institute.
Ela já tinha falado com os pais. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio She had already spoken with her parents.
Era o verão em que Pedro fora amado por Inês. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio It was the summer that Pedro had been loved by Inês.

-ER/-IR Verbs

For both -ER and -IR verbs, the regular ending of the past participle is ‘-ido’, also added to the root of the verb. Examples:
Essa janela ficou partida durante a tempestade. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio That window was broken during the storm.
Nós tínhamos comido antes de sair. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio We had eaten before leaving.
O castelo foi construído pelos Templários. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The castle was built by the Templars.
You’ll notice that, in Portuguese, the past participle always agrees in gender and in number with the subject of the sentence when you use any auxiliary EXCEPT the verb ter paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to have. Examples:
O castelo foi construído pelos Templários. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The castle was built by the Templars.
A torre foi construída pelos Templários. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The tower was built by the Templars.
Because the auxiliary verb used in the above examples is ser paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to be (permanent), the participles agree with the subject (o casteloconstruído; a torreconstruída).
O rei tinha dado o castelo aos Templários. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The king had given the castle to the Templars.
A rainha tinha dado o castelo aos Templários. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The queen had given the castle to the Templars.
Here, because we used the verb ter paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to have, the endings remain the same, even though rei Play normal audio king and rainha paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio queen are different in gender.
It’s not so scary once you grasp the pattern, right?

Comments

  • In your example above of the ER/IR verbs, having the ending -ido, you used partir in the first example. But the word you used was partida, which is not the construction you showed. Is it partida because you are talking about the janela, which is feminine?
    Marilyn Chakroff

    • That’s correct, Marilyn 🙂 As the Learning Note says, the past participle agrees with the gender and number of the respective subject except when the auxiliary verb is ter (or haver, rarely used in everyday life). Since janela is feminine, so is the past participle: partida.

  • the example with fora amado translated as had been loved confuses, was loved I think would be betteras far as tenses go.

    • Foi amado” translates to “was loved”, but “fora amado” is a different tense – we call it pretérito mais-que-perfeito (pluperfect in English). The most accurate translation is indeed “had been loved”, but the practical difference in this context is small!

  • This section had the exercise

    Eles têm-nos ajudado imenso

    Is it grammatically correct to say this instead?

    Eles têm ajudado-nos imenso

    • It’s not grammatically correct, because the main verb is in the past participle (ajudado). Clitic pronouns can’t be linked to past participles, which is why it’s connected to the auxiliary verb instead. However, if you had the main verb in the infinitive form, it would be fine to place the clitic pronoun after it. For example:
      – Eles podem ajudar-nos imenso (correct)
      – Eles podem-nos ajudar imenso (correct)

  • Is there a tense we are learning here? For example the present or infinitive of ter with the past participle? If so where can I get more details?

    • Olá, Brian. The past participle is a verb form that can be used in a number of different ways:
      – as an adjective
      – combined with the past tense of ser when using passive voice (e.g. foi construído)
      – combined with the auxiliary verb ter to form different compound tenses

      The latter does involve new verb tenses, such as:
      – Pretérito perfeito composto (present perfect continuous): eu tenho falado – I have been talking
      – Pretérito mais-que-perfeito composto (past perfect): tu tinhas estudado – you had studied
      – Condicional perfeito (conditional perfect): ele teria tentado – he would have tried

      This is not yet actively covered on Practice Portuguese, but it’s on our list of future content ideas.

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