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Adverbs of Place: Here and There

March 1, 2019

Portuguese has several advérbios de lugar adverbs of place to indicate the relative position of a person or object. Five of these adverbs are particularly useful to learn: aqui ali acolá . 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 Hereexact and heregeneral 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 . 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 here in Portugal)
  • A minha família está aqui. 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 here by my side)

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


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. I’ll be waiting for you here.

Ele deixou aqui o chapéu. He left his hat here.

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

How to Address People Formally vs. Informally

May 31, 2017

Tu vs. Você in European Portuguese

This guide will cover the grammar and usage of addressing people formally vs. informally in Portugal, with a special focus on the difference between using the pronouns tu and você in European Portuguese. Grammatically, it doesn’t take too long to learn the basics. The most challenging aspects for estrangeiros foreigners, however, tend to be those that have to be made on a social level. For example, you must determine not only when it’s best to speak to someone formally, but also choose between the subtle variations of how formal language is used.

Even the natives (like Rui! 🇵🇹) have a hard time dissecting some of these unspoken social rules, but our aim is to make this the definitive resource of how to speak formally vs. informally in European Portuguese, and all the grey areas in between.

The Easy Stuff

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we’ll start with the easy pronouns first: those which don’t have formal or informal variations.

First person

There is no distinction between formal and informal for the first person pronouns.

When talking about yourself, you’ll use Eu I. Piece of cake!

When talking about yourself along with others, you’ll use:


Open & Closed Vowels in European Portuguese

September 18, 2016

Many learners find European Portuguese natives much more difficult to understand than Brazilians – mainly because when spoken, it sounds much more closed.

In some cases, there are even vowel sounds that are barely audible! (Make sure you already saw the Mystery of the Disappearing Sounds as an entertaining 2-minute introduction!)

In this 2nd of our 3 video lessons in this special series, we explore what we consider the most challenging aspect of European Portuguese comprehension: Open, medium and closed vowel sounds.

By mastering this lesson, you’ll not only better understand what European Portuguese natives are saying, but you’ll make your own accent sound a lot more authentic when you’re speaking Portuguese.

Important: We designed this video to be an ultimate resource that you can return to many times, regardless of your current level… so don’t expect to understand and master every single pronunciation rule after just viewing it the first time! Watch it all the way through the first time just to get the general idea, then return to the content in multiple study sessions, pausing and rewinding as necessary.