The Preposition "De"

De  is one of the first Portuguese prepositions you should learn because it’s extremely common and used in a variety of different situations. De can correspond to many different English translations, depending on the context. Let’s explore some of its many uses:

About

falar de to talk about
Eu falo de ti I talk about you

By

ir de to go by
Eu vou de carro I go by car
Vou viajar de comboio. I will travel by train.

On


Estás de férias em Agosto You are on vacation in August

Of

tomar conta de to take care of
A camisa é feita de algodão The shirt is made of cotton

From

Tu vens de Lisboa You come from Lisbon
Venho de Inglaterra I come from England

No English Preposition

Certain verbs, such as those shown below, are often followed by de, even in places where you would not use a word at all in English.
Preciso de dinheiro I need money
O médico trata de ti The doctor treats you
Eu gosto de laranjas I like oranges

Contractions

Let’s see how de is combined with the definite articles o, a, os, or as to form contractions:

o the a the os the as the
de of, by, from do da dos das

Ela gosta do vestido, apesar da cor She likes the dress despite the color
Os chapéus dos homens The hats of the men, The men's hats
As we learned in the Possessives unit, de can also be combined with the 3rd person pronouns ele, ela, eles, or elas to indicate possession:

ele he, him ela she, her eles they, them masc. elas they, them fem.
de of, by, from dele dela deles delas

A caneta é dele The pen is his
O projeto é delas The project is theirs feminine

Comments:

  • I have noticed that, in this unit, all of the tables for contractions (dos, dele, no, numa, etc.) aren’t formatting properly – only like one line of text shows up and I have to scroll around back and forth in the little box to see the rest of the cells. I’m on mobile and using Firefox internet so maybe this is just a problem for me…? Anyway, I thought you would want to know. Thanks!

  • Sorry, another question: does ‘tomar conta de’ have the same meaning as ‘cuidar de’? If so, how do you say ‘to take care of the bill’?

    • Yes, “tomar conta de” and “cuidar de” can generally be used interchangeably. But it doesn’t sound very natural to use either of them for a bill. I’d rather say something like “tratar da conta” (to take care of the bill) 🙂

  • This was a very helpful lesson! I have always been confused about the use of de, especially with the verb gostar. This cleared it up a lot! Thanks!

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