Maria Ajuda o Pai a Pôr a Mesa

Maria Helps Her Father Set the Table

The verb “pôr” typically translates to “put”, but it can also mean “set”, as in “set the table”. Get some practice with this irregular verb as you listen to a dialogue of Maria and her father preparing for a family lunch.

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  • Hi,
    I am curious about the use of ‘pôr’ both for ‘to put’ and ‘to set’, as used above.

    (1) If I wanted to say (a) “Put the plates on the table.” or (b) “Put the suitcase on the floor”, would I use pôr or colocar?
    (a) Is it: “Coloque os pratos na mesa.” or “Ponha os pratos na mesa.”?
    (b) Is it: “Coloque a mala no chão.” or “Ponha a mala no chão.”?
    (2) In either case, do I need to say: “em cima da mesa” or “em cima do chão” ?
    Many thanks

    • Olá, Declan. This is one of those answers that might not give you that much clarity, but…

      (1) You can use both! No need to stick to only one option. We tend to go for “pôr” more often, simply because it’s short and straight to the point. “Coloque” doesn’t add anything in terms of meaning or formality (conjugating either verb with ‘você’ already makes it formal enough) 🙂
      (2) You can say it, but you never need to say it – not with tables or the floor, at least. With other nouns, it depends. For example, something that is “no carro” is in the car. If you want to put something on the car, it has to be “em cima do carro“.

  • The translation mentions uncles but there is an Aunt on a diet. I guess Tios means Uncle and Aunt but how do you know that? It is not clear unless you say Tia and Tio.

    • Tios can refer to a group that is all uncles, or a mixture of aunts and uncles. This is a general pattern you’ll come across, where the masculine version of a word is used as the default general term for mixed-gender groups (even if there is only 1 male!). It’s the same with words like pais and eles. An exception would be grandparents, which translates to the feminine form: avós instead of the masculine form: avôs. I’ll edit the transcript to make this clear since it currently only says uncles. You wouldn’t know for sure without further context. (In this case, since the context is a family talking to one another, they would know who is being referred to, but as the reader it would be unclear.) Thanks for pointing this out!

  • Achar vs. Pensar. An earlier article stated that pensar is used to think about something whereas achar is used to describe a belief or conviction.
    In this very informative diálogo there is Pai: “Sim Maria não penses que escapas” and a bit later Pai: “Achas boa ideia”.
    I am wondering why pensar is not used in both these cases.

    • Olá, Patrick. “Achar” and “pensar” often overlap in terms of use, and in fact, both verbs could be used in both sentences. Just note that sometimes, changing the verb requires some adjustments to the sentence, depending on how it’s initially phrased. For example, “Achas boa ideia?” is correct, but “Pensas boa ideia?” isn’t. We have to say “Pensas que é boa ideia?” for the sentence to be complete.

  • Olá !

    Nestas frases seguidas, porque é que há as duas formas do imperativo (tu) quando as 2 frases são afirmativas ?
    1. Maria, pões a mesa.
    2. Põe os guardanapos.

    Obrigada pela ajuda !

    • Olá, Amanda 🙂 Na verdade, “pões a mesa” não está no imperativo, mas sim no presente do indicativo. Repara que não é uma ordem ou pedido direto, mas sim uma pergunta indireta. Apenas a segunda frase que indicaste (põe os guardanapos) está no imperativo, porque o pedido é feito de forma direta.

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