The Preposition “Com”

One very common Portuguese preposition is com with
Like all prepositions, it’s an invariable word placed before a noun (or pronoun) to indicate the noun’s relationship to other words.

When to Use “Com”

Just like the English use of “with”, the preposition com is used to…

  • Indicate people or things that are together:

Vamos viajar com os nossos amigos. We will travel with our friends.
A refeição vem com uma bebida. The meal comes with a drink.

  • Say what something has or includes:
É um quadro com flores. It's a painting with flowers.
  • Say what someone or something uses to perform an action:
Desenho com este lápis. I draw with this pencil.
  • Describe an emotion or state:
O atleta competiu com confiança. The athlete competed with confidence.

Unique Uses of “Com”

Com is also used in some contexts that are quite different from English, particularly when talking about health and temporary ailments. Instead of saying you have an ailment, in Portuguese you would say you are with an ailment. Examples:
Não posso ir hoje, estou com gripe. I can’t come today, I have the flu. Literally: "I am with flu."
Estou com uma enxaqueca. I have a migraine. Literally: "I am with a migraine."
Estou com fome. I'm hungry. Literally: "I am with hunger"

Contractions Derived From “Com”

Com forms contractions when combined with certain object pronouns:

  • Com + mim me = comigo with me
  • Com + ti you informal = contigo with you informal
  • Com + si you formal = consigo with you formal
  • Com + nós we, us = connosco with us plural
  • Com + vocês youplural = convosco with you plural

Note: In a very formal context consigo might also be used to say “with him” or “with her”. More often, however, Portuguese speakers will say com ele with him or com ela with her, which eliminates any possible confusion about who si refers to. In the plural, this becomes com eles~com elas with them.
Let’s look at a few more examples of these contractions:
Eu levo o portátil comigo. I’ll bring the laptop with me.
Vais connosco de autocarro ou com eles de comboio? Are you going with us by bus or with them by train?
Desculpe, posso falar consigo? Excuse me, may I speak with you?
Foi muito divertido sair convosco! It was really fun to go out with you plural!

Comments:

  • Over time I have acquired several books and used a number of resources to help me learn and study European Portuguese. These ‘com’ contractions above, laid out simply and with good context have helped me considerably.

  • Ótimo, como sempre.
    Mas gostaria de menos inglês. ..
    Mais tarde, talvez. .. =)…
    Sim com certeza mais tarde.
    Obrigadissíma pelo suo excelente trabalho.

  • Thank you for simplifying these lessons so well. A small question: in the contraction example “Eu levo o portatil comigo” o portatil would mean The Laptop and not my laptop yes?(strictly literal sense. apologies for not using the acute on “a” in portatil)

    • Thank you for your comment 🙂 Also, you’re right; translated literally, “o portátil” = “the laptop” and “o meu portátil” = “my laptop”.

  • Thank you for having the chapter!
    And I have a question with the pronunciation for the ending “R”, as I heard from the verb ” falar” or “sair” in the example sentences here, it sounds to me that there is a rolled “li” sound when pronounce the ending R. I tried hard to pronounce it and may I know any suggestion for me to master that pronunciation better? Thank you so much! =)

    • Thanks for your comment! I don’t know if this will help, but personally, I form those final Rs by raising the back of my tongue towards the roof of my mouth, as if I were going to trill/flutter the back of my tongue, but stopping right at the first sound. Takes some playing around to avoid overdoing it, as the final R should sound very faint. It might be a tough one… Good luck!

  • Hi, I have a pronunciation Q. Why is the Last “s” in nossos In the sentence below given the “sh” sound when it is occurring between two vowels?

    – Vamos viajar com os nossos amigos.

    Thank you!

    • Hi there! The s at the end of nossos in that phrase makes a “z” sound. I wonder if it’s sounding like “sh” to you just because of all the different s’s in a row! Os nossos amigos: First the “sh”/”zh” sound, then the “s” sound, and then the “z” sound, then back to “sh”!

      I’m going to leave this link here just in case it’s helpful for anybody seeing this thread: Pronunciation of the Letters S and C

  • To clarify my question above about tHe áudio in that first sentence, I don’t hear the sh sound in the fast version, just the slow one. Were the slow words recorded individually Vs being one complete slowed down sentence? That would explain it, I think?

    • Ah sorry, yes in the slow audio it does sound like “sh” because it only turns into the “z” sound in fast, connected speech (i.e. when the words are running together). When you speak slowly, it’s as if the words are isolated, so you would pronounce it as usual: “sh”. I hope that makes sense!

  • Yes, thank you so much. And I’m super excited that I actually noticed that and had Indeed absorbed the rule correctly – which is completely thanks to the PP notes on pronunciation, obrigada

  • I am learning Português through PP and a highly recommended app that has several European Portuguese courses available, and watching RTP todos os dias. I am learning so much from both you and the app, and while the app is good for building vocabularY and improving pronunciation and listening comprehension, I definitely feel like I am gaining a much deeper understanding of grammar and structure to be able to build my own sentences from PP, and I truly love the shorties, animated quickies and the Caminho film – the subtitles are invaluable in training my ear to hear individual words.

    So the one place I feel the app is better is that their slow versions of sentences are a slowed down version of the entire originally spoken sentence, and not individual words said slowly. So with their app I am able to better hear and slowly form those sounds with my mouth a few times and then switch to normal speed and i think my pronunciation builds faster and more accurately. The words sound more natural, and I get the benefit of understanding the transitions of the sounds between words, which is totally lost – and, in the case above, a bit misleading – if the words are just said slowly and not as a natural sentence. Would you consider changing your slow sentences to this style instead? I personally feel it’s I infinitely more valuable.

    Thank you so much for all of the hard work and clear explanations that make PP soooo incrível!

    • Thanks so much for all the positive feedback! Really glad to hear it’s been so helpful for you. And I will definitely pass along your suggestion about the slowed down versions. We’ll have to think more about that. I get what you’re saying about hearing the natural transitions between the words – that makes sense. 🙂

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