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Talking About the Past with “Haver”

August 21, 2019

The Portuguese often use the verb haver

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to discuss the past, whether it be minutes, hours, days, months, or years.

In these contexts, haver is an impersonal verb, meaning that it doesn’t take a particular subject and is always used in the present tense form of the third-person conjugation:

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Normally  means there is or there are. However, when is used before words that express an amount of time, you can think of it more like the word ago (which in English is placed after a time-related phrase) or as standing in for other phrases that indicate a certain amount of time has passed.

The phrase construction is pretty straightforward:

Há + Amount of Time Passed

Comprei esta caneta há uma semana.

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I bought this pen a week ago.

Adverbs of Time: Almost, Always, etc.

February 21, 2019

Advérbios de tempo

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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

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    Almost, about (to)
  • Ainda

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    Still, yet
  • Enfim

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    Finally
  • Agora

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    Now
  • Sempre

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    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

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to
is used.

O João está quase a chegar.

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John is about to arrive.

Adverbs of Time

February 20, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll look at more examples of advérbios de tempo

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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

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early

Tenho uma consulta de manhã cedo.

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I have an appointment early in the morning.

Chegaste muito cedo.

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You’re very early.

Tarde

tarde

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late

Today, Yesterday, and Tomorrow

March 26, 2017

Here’s how we refer to the present day, the day before, and the next day:

hoje

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today

ontem

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yesterday

amanhã

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tomorrow

Now let’s put them into context:

Hoje é sexta(-feira).

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Today is Friday.

O jogo foi ontem às quatro da tarde (16h00).

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The game was yesterday at 4 (in the afternoon).

O inverno começa amanhã.

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Winter starts tomorrow.

By combining the terms antes

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before
and depois

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after
with ontem and amanhã, you can also form expressions to refer to

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.

Current Time

Agora

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Now
is the term we use to refer to the present.

O filme vai começar agora.

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The movie will start now.

Agora está muito frio.

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Now it’s very cold.

Previous and Future Time

We use antes

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before
to refer to the past and depois

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after
to refer to the future.

Seasons of the Year

March 26, 2017

The seasons of the year are called as estações do ano

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the seasons of the year
in Portuguese.

Their names have Latin origins, which by now you may have noticed is very common in Portuguese. (Don’t you wish you had paid more attention to Latin in school? 😜 ) Just like English, the seasons of the year are not capitalized in Portuguese.

primavera

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spring

verão

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summer

outono

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autumn

inverno

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winter

Portuguese Holidays

March 26, 2017

The Portuguese calendar has several holidays and holiday periods throughout the year. Holiday can have two meanings in Portuguese:

  • feriado

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    holiday
    – A public holiday, or day to celebrate something of specific cultural or religious importance at a local or national level.
  • férias

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    holiday, holidays, vacation
    – A planned period of time off work or school. Férias are often scheduled around important feriados.

Some of the Main Holidays in Portugal

Date / Time of Year Holiday
1 de janeiro

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January 1st
Ano Novo

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New Year’s
fevereiro

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February
Carnaval

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Carnival, Mardi Gras
Friday before Easter Sexta-feira Santa

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Good Friday
março

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March
or abril

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April
Páscoa

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Easter
25 de abril

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April 25th
Dia da Liberdade

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National Freedom Day
1 de maio

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May 1st
Dia do Trabalhador

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Labor Day
60 days after Easter Corpo de Deus

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Corpus Christi
10 de junho

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June 10th
Dia de Portugal

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Portugal Day
5 de outubro

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October 5th
Implantação da República

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Republic Day
1 de novembro

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November 1st
Dia de Todos-os-Santos

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All Saints’ Day
1 de dezembro

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December 1st
Restauração da Independência

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Restoration of Independence
25 de dezembro

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December 25th
Natal

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Christmas

Date Format

In Portuguese, the structure of dates is dia de mês de ano (day of month of year), and the numbers are typically cardinal, not ordinal. That means that you say um de janeiro

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January one
instead of primeiro de janeiro

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January first
. You may have also noticed that the names of the months and days of the week are not capitalized in Portuguese, as they are in English.

In written form, dates appear

Months of the Year

March 26, 2017

As you saw in previous lessons, the days of the week are very different from other languages. But as luck would have it, the names of os meses do ano

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the months of the year
 in Portuguese are quite similar to other languages, since we all use the same Gregorian calendar. All the names share common roots in Roman culture.

janeiro

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January

fevereiro

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February

Hours and Telling Time

March 26, 2017

Let’s learn how to tell time in Portuguese! While many countries favour the 12-hour clock system, Portugal usually uses the 24-hour clock, especially in more formal contexts.

English Time Portuguese Time Portuguese Time in Words
12:00 a.m.

(midnight)

0h00 zero horas

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meia-noite

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midnight

1:00 a.m. 1h00 uma hora

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2:00 a.m. 2h00 duas horas

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3:00 a.m. 3h00 três horas

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4:00 a.m. 4h00 quatro horas

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5:00 a.m. 5h00 cinco horas

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6:00 a.m. 6h00 seis horas

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7:00 a.m. 7h00 sete horas

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8:00 a.m. 8h00 oito horas

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9:00 a.m. 9h00 nove horas

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10:00 a.m. 10h00 dez horas

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11:00 a.m. 11h00 onze horas

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12:00 p.m.

(noon)

12h00 doze horas

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meio-dia

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noon

1:00 p.m. 13h00 treze horas

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2:00 p.m. 14h00 catorze horas

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3:00 p.m. 15h00 quinze horas

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4:00 p.m. 16h00 dezasseis horas

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5:00 p.m. 17h00 dezassete horas

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6:00 p.m. 18h00 dezoito horas

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7:00 p.m. 19h00 dezanove horas

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8:00 p.m. 20h00 vinte horas

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9:00 p.m. 21h00 vinte e uma horas

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10:00 p.m. 22h00 vinte e duas horas

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11:00 p.m. 23h00 vinte e três horas

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How to Tell Time in Portuguese: The Basics

Formal

In formal situations, you should apply the 24-hour clock system, and use the exact minutes shown on the clock, rather than more informal expressions of subdivisions of time (as you will learn about further below).

European Portuguese Greetings

March 26, 2017

Let’s start with the basics! One of the simplest Portuguese greetings is Olá!

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Hi!
and one of the simplest ways to say goodbye is Tchau!

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Bye!
or the slightly more formal Adeus!

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Goodbye!
. However, it’s also very common to say hello or goodbye with a more specific greeting based on what time of day it is. So before we cover Portuguese greetings, let’s first learn how we talk about different períodos do dia

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periods of the day
, from sunrise to sunset:

Times of Day

  • a madrugada

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    very early in the morning
    – from midnight to 6am/dawn
  • a manhã

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    the morning
    – from about 6am until noon
  • a tarde

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    the afternoon
    – from noon until about 6pm (or around o pôr-do-sol

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    sunset
    when it gets dark)
  • a noite

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    the night
    – from about 6pm to midnight

hours-of-the-day

Although technically the transition from a manhã to a tarde is always at 12:00 noon, the

Days of the Week

March 26, 2017

In Portuguese, the naming of os dias da semana

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the days of the week
does not take inspiration from the planets and gods, as is the case for many other languages. Instead, they are simply numbered.

The origin of the names of the days of the week in Portuguese

The numbering of each weekday in Portuguese might have to do with ancient Easter celebrations, in which people were granted seven days of rest, starting from Sunday. Sunday would then be called, in Latin, feria prima (first free day), while the day after would be feria secunda (second free day) and so on. These Latin roots are evident today in the Portuguese words for the days of the week.

Day in Portuguese Origin
domingo

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Sunday
Latin: dies Dominicus (day of the Lord)
segunda-feira

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Monday
Latin: feria secunda
terça-feira

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Tuesday
Latin: feria tertia
quarta-feira

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Wednesday
Latin: feria quarta
quinta-feira

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Thursday
Latin: feria quinta
sexta-feira

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Friday
Latin: feria sexta
sábado

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Saturday
Latin: sabbatum

Domingo and sábado didn’t remain numbered. Domingo

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Sunday
would never be referred to as primeira-feira! But they still mark the