You’ve learned what prepositions are, and you’ve been introduced to quite a few of them in the first two Prepositions units.
Similar to English, there are dozens of prepositions in Portuguese grammar. There are simple prepositions (preposições simples) – some of which can be combined with pronouns and articles – and prepositional phrases (locuções prepositivas), which are a bit different from their English counterpart.
Let’s look at some of the most common of each type.
Some of these you may remember from previous units. Keep in mind that the words often have more than one translation, depending on the context they’re used.
|Portuguese word||English translation||Portuguese word||English translation|
|a||to / at / on / (…)||contra||against|
|até||until / by / up to||desde||since / from|
|com||with||em||in / at / into / onto|
|perante||in front of / before||por||by / for|
|sem||without||sob||under / underneath|
|sobre||on / about / over/ above||trás||behind / after|
Estou com os meus amigos I'm with my friends
Estou aqui até ao Natal I'm here until Christmas
Não como desde o pequeno-almoço I haven't eaten since breakfast
Remember also that a, de, em and por can be contracted with determiners and pronouns, giving you even more prepositions to work with.
While prepositional phrases in the English grammar consist, at least, of a preposition and an object, locuções prepositivas, on the other hand, are just prepositions (simple and/or contracted) paired with another word (usually an adverb). These expressions must always end with a preposition.
Let’s take a look at a few examples:
Correu bem apesar da chuva It went well despite the rain
The prepositional phrase above has 2 words: apesar and da (de+a).Não como mais carne a partir de hoje I'm not eating any more meat as of today
The prepositional phrase above has 3 words: 2 prepositions (a and de) and a verb (partir).
This chart shows some of the most common and simple prepositional phrases you’ll come across in Portuguese, but there are many more as well.
|Portuguese term||English translation||Portuguese term||English translation|
|longe de||away/far from||por causa de||because of / due to|
|graças a||thanks to||antes de||before / ahead of|
|perto de||near / around||depois de||after|
|debaixo de||under||em cima de||on / above|
|além de||besides / beyond / aside from||ao lado de||next to / beside / alongside|
|a par de||besides||quanto a||about / in terms of|
|atrás de||behind||acerca de||about / on / regarding|
|em frente a||in front of||através de||through|
|por baixo de||below||por cima de||on top of / above|
Sometimes words associated with a different category can also be used as prepositions.
|Portuguese word||English Translation|
|conforme||according to / in accordance with|
|consoante||according to / as per|
|durante||during / for / over|
Here are a few sentences you could find yourself saying:
É feito consoante as normas It is done according to the norms
Ele corre durante horas! He runs for hours!
Não tive hipótese senão voltar para trás I had no choice but to turn back