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Asking Questions in Portuguese

June 18, 2020

Yes/No Questions in Portuguese

There are a number of different ways to form questions in Portuguese. We’ll start with those for which the answers are either affirmative or negative. These are the easiest Portuguese questions to ask because very few changes have to be made to turn a statement into a question.

1. Add a question mark to the end of a statement

Tu estás em Portugal Play normal audio You are in Portugal

Tu estás em Portugal? Play normal audio Are you in Portugal?

By adding a ‘?’ to a statement, all we have to do is change the intonation of the sentence and it becomes a “yes or no” question.

2. Add a phrase like “não é?” to the end of a statement

Ela é portuguesa Play normal audio She is Portuguese

Ela é portuguesa, não é? Play normal audio She is Portuguese, isn’t she?, She is Portuguese, right?

This type of question is used when

Adverbs of Manner: Well, Poorly, etc.

March 11, 2019

Advérbios de modo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Adverbs of manner, sometimes called adverbs of mode, tell us how an action happened or the way in which it was carried out. Easy, right?

Adverbs of manner can sometimes be mistaken for adjectives, but one thing that distinguishing an adverb of manner (or any adverb) is that they are always invariable. In other respects, Portuguese adverbs of manner are used quite similarly to their English counterparts, so you’ll have little trouble learning them.

In this lesson we’ll start with some of the most frequent adverbs of manner in Portuguese, which are:

  • bem paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio well
  • melhor paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio better
  • mal paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio badly, poorly
  • pior paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio worse
  • através paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio through

Bem

Bem is the equivalent of well in English. Example:

A lareira funciona bem? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Does the fireplace work well?

Muito bem, essa camisola está bem lavada. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Well done, that jumper is well-washed.

Bastante, Quase, and Realmente

March 4, 2019

In this learning note, we’ll explore 3 tricky Portuguese words that can take on very different meanings depending on their placement in a sentence or the type of word they modify:

  • bastante paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio enough, very, many
  • quase paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio almost
  • realmente paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio really

We’ve mentioned these words before, but let’s take a closer look to get more comfortable with their different uses.

The Many Lives of Bastante – Adverb, Adjective, Pronoun, Noun?

Bastante as an Adverb

In the beginning of this unit, we saw how bastante works as an adverb of degree, and how it can mean both sufficient or, in other contexts, very. Bastante modifies the verb of the sentence, and it is always invariable.

Examples:

Elas comem bastante. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio They eat plenty.

Isso é bastante interessante! paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio That’s very interesting!

As an adverb, bastante is used to express the degree (“plenty”) to which the action (“to eat”) is carried out. But you can also come across bastante as three other parts of speech:

Adverbs of Time: Já

March 1, 2019

One of the most common adverbs of time is paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio already, now, which at its core means in this moment. Like all other adverbs of time, is always invariable. It is one of the most frequently used adverbs, and possibly one of the most confusing for non-native speakers! The meaning of in Portuguese varies quite a bit depending on the context. Because of this, you should try to focus more on the general influence the word has on a phrase, rather than thinking of an exact translation. Let’s have a look at some of the different uses of :

Já as Already

Perhaps considered the primary use of , and the most straightforward one, is when it means already. Examples:

Adverbs of Place: Here and There

March 1, 2019

Portuguese has several advérbios de lugar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio adverbs of place to indicate the relative position of a person or object. Five of these adverbs are particularly useful to learn: paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio aqui paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio ali paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio acolá paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio . In short, and aqui both mean here. Aí, lá, ali, and acolá mean there. Below we’ll explore the finer differences between each of these words.

Here and There

In Portuguese, here and there are a bit more complicated because different words are used to make a distinction between how close things are in relation to the speaker and listener:

  • Here – Close to the speaker: aqui or
  • There – Close to the listener:
  • There/Over there – Far from both the speaker and listener: , ali, or acolá

Let’s take a look at each group in more detail.

Aqui vs. Cá

Aqui paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Here(exact) and paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio here(general) are used when talking about things close to the speaker. While aqui is commonly used in both Portugal and Brazil, is, for the most part, specific to European Portuguese. Some people will use them interchangeably, but in theory, is less specific than aqui. While they’re both equivalent to the English word here, there is a subtle difference in the intended meanings of each word. Take these sentences, for example:

  • A minha família está . paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio My family is here. – When you use to talk about people, you might simply be saying that your family is in the same country or town as you are (e.g. cá em Portugal paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio here in Portugal)
  • A minha família está aqui. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio My family is here. – In contrast, if you use aqui, it can imply that your family is much closer to you — in the same room or building, or even right next to you (e.g. aqui ao meu lado paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio here by my side)

Let’s explore a few more examples with each word individually:

Aqui

Aqui designates the exact spot where the speaker is, regardless of the listener’s location, so you could think of it as “in this place” or “right here”.

Other examples:

Fico aqui à tua espera. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I’ll be waiting for you here.

Ele deixou aqui o chapéu. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio He left his hat here.

, meanwhile, conveys a more general location, rather than a single, precise spot. It is similar to saying, “over here”.

Adverbs of Place: Above and Below

March 1, 2019

No one’s above a little studying! In this lesson, we’ll be looking at some more Portuguese adverbs of place. Remember: Unlike other adverbs, adverbs of place only modify verbs.

Acima

Acima paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Above is the equivalent of above, and as such it is rather straightforward.

Ninguém está acima da lei. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio No one is above the law.

Veja a ilustração no exemplo acima. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Look at the illustration in the example above.

Abaixo

Abaixo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Below means below (the opposite of acima). It refers to a thing or person that is in an inferior position in relation to another thing or person.

Adverbs of Place: In, Out, etc.

March 1, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll be looking at some more adverbs of place. Remember: Unlike other adverbs, adverbs of place only modify verbs.

Dentro

Dentro paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Inside

Dentro da caixa está um presente. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Inside the box, there’s a present.

Ela está dentro da sala. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio She’s in the room.

Fora

Fora paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Outside

Adverbs of Place: Near, Far, etc.

March 1, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll be looking at advérbios de lugar paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio adverbs of place. These adverbs tell us where something happens or where something is, so they’re pretty essential for building up your Portuguese sentences.

Placing Adverbs of Place

Portuguese adverbs of place are quite versatile as they can be placed before or after the verb they’re modifying. Unlike other adverbs, adverbs of place don’t modify adjectives or other adverbs; they only modify verbs. Sounds simple, right? Let’s see a few of them in action:

Onde

Onde paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Where

Onde está a minha camisola? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Where’s my jumper?

Está onde a deixaste. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio It’s where you left it.

Longe

Longe paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Far

Adverbs of Degree: A Little, A Lot, etc.

February 22, 2019

Advérbios de grau paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Adverbs of degree, also called advérbios de intensidade paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio adverbs of intensity, tell us about how intensely something occurs. For the most part, Portuguese adverbs of degree operate just like English adverbs in terms of their placement and usage.

Word Order

Portuguese adverbs of degree are usually placed before the word they’re modifying if it’s an adjective or adverb, and immediately after the word they’re modifying if it’s a verb.

Degree

We’ll look at 5 of the most frequent adverbs of degree, which are ordered below from the lowest to the highest degree:

  • Nada paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Nothing, at all
  • Pouco paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Few, little
  • Bastante paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Enough, very
  • Muito paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Really, a lot
  • Demasiado paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Too much

Nada

Nada translates to nothing when it is the object of a sentence, as in O João não deu nada. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio John gave nothing.. But as an adverb of degree (when modifying verbs that don’t require an object), nada more closely corresponds to the phrase “at all”.

You will notice in the examples below that this double negative formulation (nãonada) is allowed in Portuguese, whereas in English we would use “notat all”.

Eu não corro nada. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I don’t run at all.

Adverbs of Affirmation and Negation

February 21, 2019

Adverbs of afirmação paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio affirmation and adverbs of negação paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio negation are some of the most essential words in all of the Portuguese language (and, indeed, any language). They are always invariable, so there is no need to worry about different variations.

Affirmation

Adverbs of affirmation are, as the name implies, words which signify that a given statement is true, or “positive”. They include:

Sim

Sim paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Yes literally just means yes. Things don’t get any simpler than this.

Example:

Sim, eu vou contigo. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Yes, I’ll go with you.

Realmente

Realmente paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Indeed is the equivalent of indeed in English.

Example:

Adverbs of Time: Almost, Always, etc.

February 21, 2019

Advérbios de tempo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Adverbs of time can tell us when, how often, or for how long an action happens. As with most other Portuguese adverbs, adverbs of time are always invariable.

In this lesson we’ll start with some of the most frequent adverbs of time in Portuguese, which are:

  • Quase paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Almost, about (to)
  • Ainda paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Still, yet
  • Enfim paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Finally
  • Agora paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Now
  • Sempre paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Always

Quase

We dealt with quase in the previous lesson, as an adverb of degree, remember? Well, in the context of time, quase expresses the idea that something is about to happen or is almost starting/finishing, so the meaning is just slightly different. Notice how the preposition a paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to is used.

O João está quase a chegar. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio John is about to arrive.

Adverbs of Degree: More, Less, etc.

February 21, 2019

Let’s look at some more adverbs of degree, which you’ll remember are always invariable. We’ll see examples of each of the following adverbs:

  • Mais paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio More
  • Menos paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Less
  • Tão paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio So, so much
  • Tanto paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio So much, too much
  • Quase paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Almost

Mais

Mais simply means more, or plus.

Queres mais pão? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Would you like more bread?

Menos

On the flip side, menos is equivalent to the English less, or minus.

Adverbs of Time

February 20, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll look at more examples of advérbios de tempo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio adverbs of time

Remember: adverbs of time are always invariable, meaning they do not change form to match the gender or number of the word they reference.

Cedo

cedo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio early

Tenho uma consulta de manhã cedo. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio I have an appointment early in the morning.

Chegaste muito cedo. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio You’re very early.

Tarde

tarde paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio late

Introduction to Portuguese Adverbs

February 19, 2019

To be more precise and descriptive in your Portuguese conversations, it’s important to master Portuguese advérbios paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio adverbs. But what are they? Simply put, adverbs are words which modify other words – verbs, adjectives, and sometimes even other adverbs. They add to the meaning or clarify the manner in which a word applies to the rest of the sentence.

Modifying Verbs

When an adverb modifies a verb, it tells us how the action is being carried out.

O João canta bem. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio João sings well.

The adverb bem paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio well tells us more about the manner in which João carries out the action (singing).

Modifying Adjectives

When an adverb modifies an adjective, it tells us how, or to what degree, the adjective applies to its noun.

A Maria é extremamente talentosa. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Maria is extremely talented.

Aonde vs Onde

February 8, 2019

Onde

The adverb onde paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio where indicates a location.

Examples:

Onde fica a tua casa? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Where is your house?

Onde ouviste isso? paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Where did you hear that?

Onde can be used to replace expressions such as:

  • em que paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio in which, where
  • no qual paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio in which, where
  • na qual paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio in which, where

É a gaveta em que estão as chaves paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio It’s the drawer where the keys are

Lisboa é uma cidade na qual as casas são caras paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Lisbon is a city where the houses are expensive

Aonde

Aonde paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio To where is a contraction between the adverb onde paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio where and the preposition  a paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to. It’s most commonly used with

Good/Bad vs. Well/Badly

July 26, 2018

What’s the difference between mau and mal? What about bom and bem? These pairs of Portuguese words are very similar in meaning, but they’re not interchangeable. It comes down to understanding the difference between adjectives and adverbs and how they are used in Portuguese.

Adjectives

Good and bad are adjectives, which modify nouns (people / places / things). In Portuguese, adjectives must agree with the noun in gender and number:

bom paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio good (masc. sing.) bons paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio good (masc. plur.)

boa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio good (fem. sing.) boas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio good (fem. plur.)

mau paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio bad (masc. sing.) maus paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio bad (masc. plur.)

paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio bad (fem. sing.) más paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio bad (fem. plur.)

Adverbs

Well and badly are adverbs, which modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Adverbs are invariable, so the same words are used regardless of the gender and number of the noun.

bem paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio well

mal paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio badly, poorly

Which One Do I Use?

Bom / Boa vs. Bem

Let’s look at these examples to illustrate the difference between bom/boa (adjectives) and bem (adverb).

Relationships of Time

March 26, 2017

Let’s explore some examples of the most common words used to talk about the order and relationships among different events in time. It’s important to be able to talk about now, later, earlier, before, and after in Portuguese.

Current Time

Agora paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Now is the term we use to refer to the present.

O filme vai começar agora. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio The movie will start now.

Agora está muito frio. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Now it’s very cold.

Past and Future

We use antes paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio before to refer to the past and depois paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio after to refer to the future.