prepositions in portuguese questions

Using Prepositions in Portuguese Questions

We’ll cover prepositions in more detail in later units, but for now, let’s go over a few prepositional phrases that come up frequently within Portuguese questions:

Para

Para onde é que vais?Where are you headed to?
Para quem é este bolo?Who is this cake for?

Por


Por que razão dizes isso?What makes you say that?, Why do you say that?
Por onde vais? Which way are you going?

De

De que estão a falar?What are youpl. talking about?
De quem estão a falar?Who are youpl. talking about?

Com

Com quem vais para casa?Who are you going home with?
Com qual queres ficar?Which one do you want to keep?

Até

Até quando ficas em Coimbra?How long are you staying in Coimbra?
Até onde foste?How far did you go?

A Few Others

Desde quando é que gostas de mostarda?Since when do you like mustard?
Em que lugar ficaram?Which place did they come in?
A que museu vais?Which museum are you going to?

Word Order

As you can see, the preposition in Portuguese questions always comes right before the interrogative adverb or interrogative pronoun. In contrast, in English we tend to separate the preposition from the question word (What are you talking about?), especially in spoken language.
It’s also important to note that the prepositional phrase as a whole can be found either at the beginning or at the end of the question. There are no rules and the meaning is the same either way. That said, you might hear certain phrases at the end of questions more often than others, such as com quem/qual, até quando, and para onde/quem, to name a few.
Com quem vais a Nova Iorque?Who are you going to New York with?
Vais a Nova Iorque com quem?You are going to New York with whom?
De que estão a falar?What are you talking about?
Estão a falar de quê?*You're talking about what?
*Note: When the word que is placed at the end of the question, it becomes quê.
Let’s give these a try in the next few lessons!

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