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Demonstrative Determiners

April 20, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll review a topic we’ve covered before, which is Portuguese demonstrativeseste, esta, esse, essa, aquele, and aquela – as well as their plural forms. In Portuguese, demonstrative determiners indicate where something is in relation to to the speaker and listener in terms of place or time, and must agree in gender and number with the noun they define.

Este(s) & Esta(s)

Este (masculine) and esta (feminine) are the singular form equivalents of “this” in English. These determiners are used to refer to specific things or persons that are close to the speaker. Examples:

Este chocolate é demasiado doce! paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio This chocolate is too sweet!

Esta sanduíche é o meu almoço. paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio This sandwich is my lunch.

Combining "A" With Demonstratives

February 27, 2017

As previously mentioned, the preposition a paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio to, at can be combined with the articles o, a, os, and as to become ao, à, aos, and às.

As far as demonstratives are concerned, a can only form contractions with aquele(s), aquela(s), and aquilo.

A + Variable Demonstratives

  • a + aquele = àquele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
  • a + aqueles = àqueles paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio
  • a + aquela = àquela Play normal audio
  • a + aquelas = àquelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

Combining "Em" with Demonstratives

February 27, 2017

The preposition em paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio in can be combined with variable and invariable demonstratives to form a number of very useful contractions.

Remember that all the same rules for demonstratives remain valid when they appear in the following contractions.

Em + Variable Demonstratives

Relative Position Demonstrative Contraction
Near the speaker: este paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio this

esta paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio this

estes paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio these

estas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio these

neste paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

nesta paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

nestes paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

nestas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

Near the listener: esse paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that

essa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that

esses paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those

essas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those

nesse paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

nessa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

nesses paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

nessas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

Away from both: aquele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that

aquela paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that

aqueles paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those

aquelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those

naquele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

naquela paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

naqueles paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

naquelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

These contractions can be used to indicate positions, movement or time, to identify something more clearly, and

Combining "De" with Demonstratives

February 27, 2017

You learned in The Preposition “De” (from the first Prepositions unit) that de has several different meanings and can be joined together (contracted) with:

  • articles (do, da, dos, das), and
  • pronouns (dele, dela, deles, delas)

De + Variable Demonstratives

Another very common combination is with demonstratives. Let’s look at the contractions formed by combining de paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio from, of with variable demonstratives:

Relative Position Demonstrative Contraction
Near the speaker: este paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio this

esta paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio this

estes paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio these

estas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio these

deste paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

desta paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

destes paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

destas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

Near the listener: esse paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that

essa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that

esses paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those

essas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those

desse paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

dessa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

desses paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

dessas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

Away from both: aquele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that

aquela paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that

aqueles paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those

aquelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those

daquele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

daquela paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

daqueles paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

daquelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio

As you can see, they are all formed by simply adding a “d” to the beginning of the demonstrative. These contractions can express possession, origin, direction, and more. Here are some examples:

Invariable Demonstrative Pronouns

February 27, 2017

In the previous lessons of this unit, you learned about variable demonstratives, which change depending on the gender and number of the objects(s) they describe.

Here’s some good news for you: invariable demonstrative pronouns are much easier to learn, because as you can see below, there are only 3 of them. You still have to consider the position of the object(s), but not the number or gender.

Relative Position Invariable Demonstrative Pronoun
Near the speaker: isto paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio this
Near the listener: isso paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that
Far from both: aquilo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that

Even though these pronouns also translate to this and that in English, their meaning and usage is slightly different.

You can think of these invariable pronouns as being more impersonal than their variable counterparts.

How Do You Know When to Use Invariable vs. Variable?

Although we’re usually told to avoid thinking in English, here’s a trick:

Variable Demonstratives: Plural

February 27, 2017

As you’ll recall, variable demonstratives have to agree not only in gender and location, but also in number.

For every variable demonstrative covered in the previous lesson (which were all singular), there is also a plural counterpart.

It might sound scary, but you’re in luck: all you have to do is take the singular form and add an “s“!

Singular Demonstratives

Relative Position Masculine Feminine
Near the speaker: este paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio this esta paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio this
Near the listener: esse paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that essa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that
Far from both: aquele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that aquela paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that

Plural Demonstratives

Relative Position Masculine Feminine
Near the speaker: estes paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio these estas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio these
Near the listener: esses paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those essas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those
Far from both: aqueles paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those aquelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those

As you can see, this is to these as este/esta is to estes/estas, and so on. Once you master the singular demonstratives from the last lesson, you can easily come up with its plural, and all the same rules about gender and location apply. Let’s look at a few examples…

Variable Demonstratives: Singular

February 23, 2017

Variable demonstratives are used to indicate all of the following at once:

  • a person or object’s gender
  • the number (one or more)
  • the position in space or time

The “demonstrative” part of this fancy name refers to the last point above, the item’s position. We must choose which demonstrative to use, according to which one of the following fits best:

  • a) The object is near the speaker,
  • b) The object is far from the speaker, but near the listener, OR
  • c) The object is far away from both speaker and listener

As you may have realized, this doesn’t happen in English. You just have to choose between this and thatThat’s it! In English, the position of the object relative to the speaker is the only thing that counts. In Portuguese, we have to choose which “that” to use according to where the object is in relation to the listener.

This lesson will cover singular variable demonstratives, all of which you can see below:

Introduction to Portuguese Demonstratives

February 20, 2017

The European Portuguese demonstratives are este(s), esta(s), esse(s), essa(s), aquele(s), aquela(s), isto, isso, and aquilo. Demonstrativos paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio Demonstratives identify a particular person or object and establish its location in relation to the speaker, the listener, or simply within the general context. They can tell us, for example, whether something is close or distant, in either space or time.

In English, we generally use the words this and these to refer to things that are close to the speaker or things that are happening at the present time. Accordingly, we use that or those to refer to objects that are further from the speaker or things that happened or will happen at another time in the past or future.

In Portuguese, it’s a bit more complicated. You must also take into account the proximity to the listener and whether it’s a recent or distant time (in the past or future). Don’t overwhelm yourself with memorizing all of these just yet. We’ll focus on one group at a time in the lessons to follow. The goal for now is to start familiarizing yourself with the parameters that affect which word is used.

Overview: Portuguese Demonstratives

  • THIS: estethis (sing.,masc.,near speaker) | esta paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio this (sing.,fem.,near speaker) | isto paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio this (general,near speaker)
  • THESE: estes paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio these (pl.,masc.,near speaker) | estas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio these (pl.,fem.,near speaker)
  • THAT: esse paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that (sing.,masc.,near listener) | essa paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that (sing.,fem.,near listener) | isso paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that (general,near listener) | aquele paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that (sing.,masc.,far from both) | aquilo paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio that (general,far from both)
  • THOSE: esses paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those (pl.,masc.,near listener) | essas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those (pl.,fem.,near listener) | aqueles paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those (pl.,masc.,far from both) | aquelas paused audio playing audio Play slow audio Play normal audio those (pl.,fem.,far from both)

Demonstrative Pronouns vs. Demonstrative Determiners

You may recall what we learned in the Possessives unit about the difference between