O Joel Inscreve-se Num Ginásio

Joel Signs Up at a Gym


The Canadian’s back! Joel still lives in Lisbon and this time he wants to sign up for a gym membership. Has his Portuguese improved?

Updated November 10, 2015 – As a gift to us and all of the other Practice Portuguese fans, fellow member Wayne Wilson has turned this episode into a fully-animated cartoon. You can watch it below in the Premium Features, whether you are a member or not.

Animated by Wayne Wilson. Please help us thank him in the YouTube comments! ❤️

Note: The following playback controls just apply to the audio-only version of this episode.


  • Hi Joel and Rui,
    I am very much enjoying your course and indeed your sense of humour.

    I have a few questions arising from this episode.

    (1) In the heading, you have “Será que o português dele melhorou?” which Google translates as: “Has his Portuguese improved?”
    I would have expected this to be: “Will it be that his Portuguese has improved? Elsewhere, you have “Será possible?” translated as “Is it possible?” My question is simply whether this use of the future tense is common in Portuguese?

    (2) My second question is about the use of the verb ‘Andar’, e.g. as in “Eu ando à procura” = “I’m looking for” I know Portuguese uses ‘Estar’, ‘Ser’ and indeed ‘Ficar’ for the verb “to be” but I am a little puzzled about’ Andar’. How is its use different to ‘Ficar’?

    Many thanks


    • That use of the future is very common indeed. ‘Será que’ is added to questions to give them more of a rhetorical, introspective twist, similarly to how ‘I wonder if…’ or ‘Could it be that…’ are used in English. It happens to be conjugated in the future tense, but the related action or event can happen at any point in time, past, present or future.

      As for ‘andar’ vs. ‘ficar’ as they relate to the verb “to be”,’ficar’ is usually used either to indicate a location or to express a transition or change, (become):
      – The store is in the corner. = A loja fica na esquina. (location)
      – Don’t be sad if she cancels. = Não fiques triste se ela cancelar. (don’t become sad)

      On the other hand, ‘andar’ gives off a sense of vague continuity, which is why it relates particularly well to the present/present perfect/etc continuous. It’s used for actions or events of uncertain duration that were, are or will be happening for at least a while.
      – What are you doing? = O que andas a fazer?
      – He has been sick. = Ele tem andado doente / Ele anda doente.
      – We were traveling a lot. = Nós andávamos a viajar muito.

      This is just a short explanation, but hopefully it’ll give you a quick intro of how these verbs are used in these contexts.

      (Ps. Sorry for delay, I wanted to get some help with putting this reply together to make sure it would be as accurate as possible 🙂

    • Wondering if you can explain whqt the references to (A), (B), (C), etc are? Are there footnotes somewhere?

      Obrigada O Sr. Joel!!

      • Sure, no problem! Those references referred to the old way we used to present the vocabulary and expressions pages… We’ll have to get those references cleaned up in these earlier episodes. Sorry for the confusion!

  • In Question 1 on the quiz, is the question worded properly? I would have expected it to say, “Qual é o nome do ginasio”. Do you not need to put the “é” in there?

    • Hi! Both versions are acceptable in Portuguese: “Qual o nome do ginásio?” and “Qual é o nome do ginásio?”. By the way, this type of verb omission happens more often in writing (mostly formal writing, such as a school test or a news article) than in speech.

  • That is hilarious.. especially as I have worked in gyms over many years. Very valid! lol. LOVING these podcasts and shorties, well done!

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