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The Preposition “Com”

One very common Portuguese preposition is com paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio 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. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio We will travel with our friends.
A refeição vem com uma bebida. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The meal comes with a drink.

  • Say what something has or includes:
É um quadro com flores. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio It's a painting with flowers.
  • Say what someone or something uses to perform an action:
Desenho com este lápis. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I draw with this pencil.
  • Describe an emotion or state:
O atleta competiu com confiança. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio 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. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I can’t come today, I have the flu. (Literal - I am with flu)
Estou com uma enxaqueca. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I have a migraine. (Literal - I am with a migraine)
Estou com fome. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I'm hungry. (Literal - I am with hunger)

Contractions Derived From “Com”

Com forms contractions when combined with certain object pronouns:

  • Com + mim paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio me = comigo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with me
  • Com + ti paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio you (informal) = contigo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with you (informal)
  • Com + si paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio you (formal) = consigo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with you (formal)
  • Com + nós paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio we, us = connosco paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with us (plural)
  • Com + vocês paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio you(plural) = convosco paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio 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 paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with him or com ela paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with her, which eliminates any possible confusion about who si refers to. In the plural, this becomes com eles~com elas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio with them.
Let’s look at a few more examples of these contractions:
Eu levo o portátil comigo. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I’ll bring the laptop with me.
Vais connosco de autocarro ou com eles de comboio? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Are you going with us by bus or with them by train?
Desculpe, posso falar consigo? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Excuse me, may I speak with you?
Foi muito divertido sair convosco! paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio 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)

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