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The Verb “Ser”

Ser paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio To be is one of the most fundamental and important Portuguese verbs. It also happens to be an irregular verb, which helps explain why the conjugations below look quite different from the verb’s infinitive form. For now, we’ll focus on ser in the presente do indicativo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio present tense:

verb-icon

ser
to be (permanent condition)

Indicativo

Ser – Indicativo – Presente

Tu és uma boa pessoa.
You’re a good person.

  • eu sou
  • I am
  • tu és
  • you are
  • ele / ela é
  • he / she is
  • você é
  • you formal are
  • nós somos
  • we are
  • eles / elas são
  • they masc. / they fem. are
  • vocês são
  • you pl. are

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As you can see, verb conjugations in Portuguese change depending on who is doing the action. Don’t worry – most verbs are easier to conjugate than this one. For now, do your best to commit this to memory, since these verb forms will be popping up a lot throughout the lessons as well as within your own Portuguese conversations!

Using the Verb Ser

As you can see in the present tense examples below, ser can be used to…

  • Introduce yourself or someone else:
Eu sou o João. Ela é a Ana. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I am João. She is Ana.
  • Describe someone or something:
Nós somos mulheres. Eles são homens. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio We are women. They are men.
  • Indicate an occupation or profession:
Eu sou escritor. Tu és professor. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I am a writer. You are a teacher.

É meio-dia e hoje é domingo. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio It is midday and today is Sunday.
…as well as many other uses, which we’ll explore in future lessons.

Comments

  • A section for generic sentences, i.e. I would (to order) with link of the verbs to their correct area…

    • Our Learning Studio does include exercises where you need to order words to form correct sentences and also match English sentences with their translations, among others 🙂

  • On its way, hopefully in the next couple days! On the surface it seems pretty dorky to not just have it there yet, but there’s some additional complexity in getting it wrapped up. With several different variables like different activity types (Lessons / Shorties / Learning Notes), and scenarios in which users are able to jump around across different Units at the same time, there’s a bit more technical complexity that we’ve had to work around. But our programmer ninja Alex is at the finish line… Thanks for your patience, our members are the best! 🙂

  • Continue button is ab fab!
    Por favor: why is it “eu sou escritor” and not “Eu sou o escritor”,
    and “tu és professor” and not “tu és o professor”?

    • Thanks, Anton! We don’t add the definite article, because then we’d be saying “I am the writer” and “You are the professor”. This doesn’t fit when you’re simply stating your profession 🙂

  • Joseph,

    Perhaps Anton meant to say “ eu sou um escritor”, “ I am a writer” ?

    That indefinite article is not needed?

    Thanks for your help.

    • Hi there. Actually, the indefinite article can be omitted in that type of sentence. You will constantly see and hear it both ways (present or absent) 🙂

    • The pronoun is still taught, but generally considered archaic. It’s only occasionally seen or heard, especially in certain northern regions of the country. The conjugation with vós in the simple present is vós sois.

  • Is there a rule for when “s” sounds like “sh”? Ex. Does “s” always or almost always sound like “sh” at the end of a sentence?

  • i think it would be good to go back to previous lessons for a revision before the new lesson starts

    • Hi Andrew, Great idea – you can definitely review the old lessons first. When you get to the dialogue (or the last lesson) of a unit, look at the upper left corner and you should see a circle with a left arrow. Click that and it will take you back to the unit so that you can choose the lesson you’d like to review.

  • I hate to mark a lesson as “complete” but if I don’t move on I’ll be stuck there forever. Kind of anxious for conversational Portuguese but know that the basics need to be learned. Nonetheless, I am loving this! What a great way to learn a language. This should be advertised on every Portuguese google site such as Azores.com or through PALCUS. I looked EVERYWHERE to find European Portuguese.

    • Olá, Gordon. Muito obrigado pelo comentário!
      It’s definitely good to work through all the basics and take your time with them. Still, don’t be afraid to switch things up sometimes and listen to other shorties off the units, podcasts, watch some videos (like this nice documentary, Passo a Passo), and so on 🙂 Keep it fun!

  • Even though you typically drop the pronoun, would you still drop it if you’re addressing someone in a formal setting?

  • I’m loving your program! Thanks so much for creating such a comprehensive program. On this page it would be helpful for me if u had an audio of the whole phrase ie.. I am, You are Etc. even though we are hearing the I,you, he, she and they elsewhere it still would be helpful for me personally.

  • Fantastic clear pronunciation and really good exercises to practise verbs. Conjugation of verbs in Portuguese can be so difficult as an English speaker because of all the different endings.

  • Love this site how it’s European Portuguese and not any other Portuguese that I’ve come across on other sites. Definitely want to speak fluent with my husband and his family!

    Question though, when I read Eu sou o João…. how do you know what to place before the name. I know it matters with masculine and feminine names but do all male names have an “o” before it. Would Alexandre have a “O” before his name or something different. Those little details always confused me when learning to speak Portuguese.

    Thanks!!!

    • Thanks, so glad you’re enjoying the site! Yes, you’re correct that a male would put an “o” before his name and a female would use an “a”. 🙂

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