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The Preposition “Com”

One very common Portuguese preposition is comwith
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, contains, 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.
  • Indicate 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. (Literal - I am with flu)
Estou com uma enxaqueca.I have a migraine. (Literal - I am with a migraine)
Estou com fome.I'm hungry. (Literal - I am with hunger)

Contractions Derived From “Com”

Com forms contractions when combined with certain object pronouns:

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 elewith him or com elawith her , which eliminates any possible confusion about who si refers to. In the plural, this becomes com eles~com elaswith 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

    • Don’t understand why com would be used here. I am a very low hours in learning but from what I have just been learning I would have read this as…

      I am with hungry if “com” was present.

      Darren

      • You’ll come across this a lot, especially with prepositions — the literal translation is often different from how we would word it in English. “Estou com fome” translates more literally to “I am with hunger”, but the meaning is the same as “I’m hungry”.

  • 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. 🙂

  • Very good lesson however not sure of the verb conjugations in terms of what tense they are in i.e. present, past or future. I think mainly present but!! Thanks

    • Glad you liked it! Most of these examples are in the present tense (presente do indicativo). This tense is also used in Portuguese to refer to the near future (when the timing is clear from context), so that’s why you also see “I’ll” and “We will” as translations.

      There are also a couple examples that are in the simple past (pretérito perfeito), which are indicated in the English translation (“it was”, “competed“).

  • It is very hard to understand spoken Portuguese. There is a big difference between what is written and what is spoken, as lots of letters are missed out or swallowed and the Portuguese speak very fast. It would be much easier if they spoke it as they write it. I am trying so hard to learn the language, I have been here almost 4 years but when it come to speak it, everything evaporates from my mind. Sorry, it is not an easy langue to learn.

    • You’re right, it’s a tough language! Here’s a video you might find interesting: Mystery of the Disappearing Sounds. It explains some of the patterns for when vowels are swallowed or shortened. Hang in there! I think with more listening practice it will gradually start to become clearer.

  • Foi muito divertido sair convosco!
    It was really fun to go out with you (plural)!
    I know at the end it states plural but why is it plural?

    • Convosco means ‘com vocês’ – with you(plural). You would use this one if you are speaking to more than one person. For example, you just went out with a group of friends and want to tell all of them it was fun, not just 1 person.

      In English we use “you” in either context (unless you’re from the southern United States, then you might say “y’all” 😁 ), but in Portuguese, you have to think about which “you” you want to use (singular, plural, formal, informal, etc…)

      We’ll talk about these different “you’s” more in the Informal You and Formal You unit.

    • Olá! There is some overlap between the two verbs (poder and conseguir) and in this context, both would be acceptable.

      But in other cases, the two verbs are not interchangeable, because conseguir often refers to an ability/inability to do something, while poder makes us think of a right/permission to do so. Here are some examples:
      – Ele não pode ouvir esta conversa. É privada. = He can’t hear this conversation. It’s private. (can’t as in not allowed or not wanted)
      – Ele não consegue ouvir nada. Há demasiado ruído. = He can’t hear anything. There’s too much noise. (can’t as in incapable of)

  • Love the explanations and the speed you are going at, it has been really helpful and I enjoy learning Portugese using this website.

    Just one small remark on my part: At the end of practice rounds, you always get the opportunity to add whole phrases to the Smart Review. I would much prefer to be able to add each single word of the phrase to the smart review and not the phrase as a whole – don’t know whether that might already be possible?

    • Olá Denise!
      Thanks for the feedback.
      Currently it’s not possible to add word for word, but you can search for individual words by going to the Manage Smart Review and clicking “Add Phrase”. If we have that word in our database, you can add it from there.
      Hope that helps!
      Cheers,
      Luís

    • Well… it’s like in english: Having the flu / ter gripe; Having a migraine / Ter uma enxaqueca.
      You could also say “Estou com enxaquecas” / “I’m having migraines”, without specifically saying it’s a migraine.
      Also you could emphasize saying: “Estou com uma gripe…!” / “I have one hell of a flu…!”
      “Ter gripe” e “ter uma enxaqueca” is just how it is commonly said.

  • Thank you for your reply. We just don’t have articles in my native language so sometimes it’s not easy for me to understand some of these grammar rules including English.

  • So, convosco works out for vocês, eles, elas, doesn’t it? Is vos nowhere to find and are there people who still use ‘vos’ instead of vocês?

    • Convosco goes with vocês (you – plural). For eles and elas, you would normally say com eles or com elas.

      The pronoun vós is still in use, but it’s rarer these days. It is still taught in school and it has some regional presence in parts of the country, mainly in the North. You might come across it in older literature or Catholic masses. In much of Portugal, vocês has replaced it.

  • Thank you, Molly! I would like to ask also another question: there are no cases in Portuguese, as there are for example Nominativ, Akkusativ, Dativ etc. in German, are there?

    Are eu, me, mim all forms of eu? So, eu is the subject of a sentence, mim is what we call in Bulgarian the direct object (after prepositions) and me is the “reflexive part” of reflexive verbs. For example: “EU lavo; eu lavo-ME; isto e para MIM”. Two questions:

    1) are those three words (eu, me, mim) all transformations of eu that imitate its change across ‘cases’?
    2) what is the difference between por and para? For example: “Os meus beijos são por/para ti?”

    • Olá! Let me step in just to confirm that we don’t have cases in Portuguese, but indeed, eu/me/mim are suggestive of the same variations that the German cases describe. Just a note that “mim” is an indirect object pronoun, and “me” is not just a reflexive pronoun – it can be used as a direct object pronoun in general.

      About por vs. para, this Learning Note might help: The Difference Between Por and Para
      Also, this forum topic: Practice Portuguese Forum | Preposições “por” e “para”

      In your example, “Os meus beijos são para ti” would translate as “My kisses are for you” in the sense of being destined for you, meant for you. “Os meus beijos são por ti” would translated as “My kisses are for you” in the sense of being given on your behalf (I wonder what would be the backstory there!).

  • In the example, “Vamos viajar com os nossos amigos”, why is it necessary to include ‘vamos’ and not just conjugate viajar to the nos form which I’m guessing would be ‘viajamos’?

    • The sentence is referring to the future (“we WILL travel…”). The verb ‘vamos’ corresponds to this ‘will’ that pushes the timing of the action towards the future. ‘Viajamos’ is a simple present conjugation, so it can’t be used here on its own — only we add some extra information that makes it clear that we are referring to the future and not to the present. For example:
      – Viajamos com os nossos amigos amanhã (We will travel with our friends tomorrow) -> By adding the word ‘amanhã’, we now have all the context we need to make the present tense viable.

      All of the above applies if we want to talk about the future informally. We can also conjugate verbs directly in the future tense, but it often sounds a bit too formal for us in casual conversation. In that case, the sentence would be: “Viajaremos com os nossos amigos amanhã”.

      Here’s a helpful Learning Note on this: Talking About the Future in Portuguese | Practice Portuguese

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