Miguel has a short conversation with Bruna before heading to the grocery store. Notice how the preposition “por” is used in a variety of different contexts throughout their dialogue.
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: há Play slow audio Play normal audio
Normally há means there is or there are. However, when há 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
Advérbios de tempo 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 Play slow audio Play normal audio Almost, about (to)
- Ainda Play slow audio Play normal audio Still, yet
- Enfim Play slow audio Play normal audio Finally
- Agora Play slow audio Play normal audio Now
- Sempre Play slow audio Play normal audio Always
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 Play slow audio Play normal audio to is used.
Remember: adverbs of time are always invariable, meaning they do not change form to match the gender or number of the word they reference.
Let’s learn how to say goodbye in Portuguese! There are many options, depending on who you are talking to, the time of day, or how long it will be until you see them again. Take a look at the infographic below for a quick guide:
Here’s how we refer to the present day, the day before, and the next day:
Now let’s put them into context:
Hoje é sexta(-feira). Play slow audio Play normal audio Today is Friday.
O jogo foi ontem às quatro da tarde (16h00). Play slow audio Play normal audio The game was yesterday at 4 (in the afternoon).
O inverno começa amanhã. Play slow audio Play normal audio Winter starts tomorrow.
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.
Past and Future
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.
The Portuguese calendar has several holidays and holiday periods throughout the year. Holiday can have two meanings in Portuguese:
- feriado Play slow audio Play normal audio holiday – A public holiday, or day to celebrate something of specific cultural or religious importance at a local or national level.
- férias Play slow audio Play normal audio 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
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 Play slow audio Play normal audio January one instead of primeiro de janeiro Play slow audio Play normal audio 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
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 Play slow audio Play normal audio 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.
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.
How to Tell Time in Portuguese: The Basics
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).
Let’s start with the basics! One of the simplest Portuguese greetings is Olá! Play slow audio Play normal audio Hi! and one of the simplest ways to say goodbye is Tchau! Play slow audio Play normal audio Bye! or the slightly more formal Adeus! Play slow audio Play normal audio 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 Play slow audio Play normal audio periods of the day, from sunrise to sunset:
Times of Day
- a madrugada Play slow audio Play normal audio very early in the morning – from midnight to 6am/dawn
- a manhã Play slow audio Play normal audio the morning – from about 6am until noon
- a tarde Play slow audio Play normal audio the afternoon – from noon until about 6pm (or around o pôr-do-sol Play slow audio Play normal audio sunset when it gets dark)
- a noite Play slow audio Play normal audio the night – from about 6pm to midnight
Although technically the transition from a manhã to a tarde is always at 12:00 noon, the
In Portuguese, the naming of os dias da semana Play slow audio Play normal audio 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.