Explore the preposition “de” in a variety of contexts as Artur and Diana discuss where they should go on vacation.
Rodrigo must finish his food before he can leave the table. Prepositions practice: Notice how the preposition “para” is used throughout the dialogue.
This unit will cover relative pronouns in Portuguese. Relative pronouns are used to connect a dependent clause to the main clause of a sentence. A dependent clause refers to someone or something mentioned previously. The relative pronoun establishes a relationship with an antecedent and it’s that relation that allows us to understand who or what one is referencing.
Simply put, relative pronouns make sentences clearer and help us to avoid repetition. For example, let’s look at these 2 separate phrases used to describe a teacher:
Now, if we use a relative pronoun to put them together:
The word professor has been replaced by the relative pronoun que. Much more concise, right?
Classifying Relative Pronouns in Portuguese
In the past, some other words were also considered relative pronouns in Portuguese, but are now officially classified as something else. For example:
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.
The most important verb to learn when talking about likes and dislikes in Portuguese is gostar Play slow audio Play normal audio to like. Let’s start with a simple example:
It’s important to remember that the preposition de Play slow audio Play normal audio of, from, by goes along with the verb gostar. Adding de may seem strange at first to English speakers because we don’t use a preposition in this context. If it helps you remember to add de, you could also think of it as “I’m fond of“.
So to form this sentence, I just conjugated the verb gostar…
Rodrigo lost his wallet again and Márcia is helping him look for it. Throughout the dialogue, notice the different uses of the preposition “em” and how it forms contractions with many other words such as in noutro, nela, no, etc.
We’ll cover prepositions in more detail in later units, but for now, let’s go over a few prepositional phrases that come up frequently within Portuguese questions. You’ll notice that the preposition always comes right before the question word:
Grammatically speaking, the pronouns si and consigo belong to the 3rd person subjects: ele(s)/ela(s). This is because they were initially only used as reflexive pronouns*, which are pronouns that refer to the same subject or thing as the verb. For example:
The sentence above is still correct and wouldn’t be confusing because the context makes it clear who consigo refers to. Nowadays, however, it’s more common to see si and consigo used with 2nd person formal subjects. Si and consigo can replace você, as using você in European Portuguese can sometimes be seen as disrespectful or too intense. For example:
Me and You(Informal)
The tonic pronouns that correspond to eu Play slow audio Play normal audio I, me and tu Play slow audio Play normal audio you(inf.) are mim Play slow audio Play normal audio and ti Play slow audio Play normal audio . Let’s see how they are used in sentences:
When mim or ti go along with com Play slow audio Play normal audio with, the pronouns become comigo Play slow audio Play normal audio with me and contigo Play slow audio Play normal audio with you(inf.).
Personal pronouns can be classified according to how they are used within a sentence. There are clitic pronouns (pronomes clíticos Play slow audio Play normal audio ), which are unstressed, and tonic pronouns (pronomes tónicos Play normal audio ), which are stressed. This learning note will serve as an introduction to tonic pronouns in Portuguese, however, let’s first see an overview of all the personal pronouns in order to compare them.
|Subject Pronouns||Clitic Object Pronouns||Tonic Pronouns||Tonic Pronouns + “Com“|
|eu||me||mim Play slow audio Play normal audio||comigo Play slow audio Play normal audio with me|
|tu||te||ti Play slow audio Play normal audio||contigo Play slow audio Play normal audio with you (informal)|
|ele/ela||lhe, se||ele Play slow audio Play normal audio||com ele Play slow audio Play normal audio with him|
|nós||nos||nós Play slow audio Play normal audio||connosco Play slow audio Play normal audio with us|
|vocês*||vos||vocês Play slow audio Play normal audio||convosco Play slow audio Play normal audio with you (plural)|
|eles/elas||lhes, se||eles Play slow audio Play normal audio||com eles Play normal audio with them (masc.)|
So far, you’ve learned what prepositions are and you’ve been introduced to quite a few of them.
Similar to English, there are dozens of prepositions in Portuguese grammar. There are simple prepositions (single words, some of which form contractions with pronouns and articles) and there are prepositional phrases. For example:
- Simple preposition (de): Eu gosto de jogar futebol Play slow audio Play normal audio I like to play soccer
- Prepositional phrase (perto de): Eu jogo futebol perto de minha casa. Play slow audio Play normal audio I play soccer near my house.
Let’s look at some of the most common examples of each type.
One very common Portuguese preposition is com Play slow audio Play normal audio with
Like all prepositions, it’s an invariable word placed before a noun (or pronoun) to indicate the noun’s relationship to other words.
When to Use “Com”
Just like the English use of “with”, the preposition com is used to…
- Indicate people or things that are together:
- Say what something has or includes:
- Say what someone or something uses to perform an action:
- Describe an emotion or state:
Unique Uses of “Com”
Com is also used in some contexts that are quite different from English, particularly when talking about
Diogo is invited by his friend Marco to attend a special event.
With the help of a competent sales assistant, a man looks for the right suit to renew his wardrobe.
After exploring all the options, a customer finds the perfect suit and shoes.
As far as demonstratives are concerned, a can only form contractions with aquele(s), aquela(s), and aquilo.
A + Variable Demonstratives
A is a very important and versatile Portuguese preposition. It can correspond to many different English words, depending on the context. For example:
More often than not, it means “to”, but it’s important not to get tied to an exact translation, especially when it comes to words that serve a grammatical function, like prepositions.
A… or A?
It’s easy to mistake the preposition a with the definite article a. They both look the same, but they serve different functions in the sentence. As you hear or read a Portuguese sentence, think about whether “a” would make more sense as:
Remember that all the same rules for demonstratives remain valid when they appear in the following contractions.
Em + Variable Demonstratives
These contractions can be used to indicate positions, movement or time, to identify something more clearly, and
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 Play slow audio Play normal audio from, of with variable demonstratives:
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:
You have learned that prepositions are usually small, but important, words that usually come before a noun to show how it relates to other elements in the sentence.
An important part of mastering European Portuguese is not only learning the meaning of each of these prepositions, but also the nuances of when each one should be used.
Prepositions can be used to establish a time or a location…
To describe movement…
To express a purpose…
The same preposition can often have a completely different meaning depending on
The preposition em Play slow audio Play normal audio in, on, at, about is usually a bit easier to understand compared to others. Although there are multiple uses, em most commonly refers to being “in” something, either physically or conceptually:
Em can also have other meanings, such as about, on, and at.
This difference between por and para in Portuguese is a topic that is tricky for English speakers. Although both of these words can translate to “for”, you have to choose the correct one depending on the context. As with the other prepositions, it’s best to think about how each word is used, rather than the translation, since this will vary quite a bit.
To refer to a destination or result, you would always choose para instead of por.
De Play slow audio Play normal audio is one of the first Portuguese prepositions you should learn because it’s extremely common and used in a variety of different situations. De can correspond to many different English translations, depending on the context. Let’s explore some of its many uses:
What is a Preposition?
In this Learning Note, we’ll learn about Portuguese prepositions, but first let’s review: what exactly is a preposition? Preposições Play slow audio Play normal audio Prepositions are short words that usually occur before a noun (or pronoun). They show how the noun relates to another element in the sentence in terms of time, location, movement, or other parameters.
For example, the English prepositions in, at, on, and through could be used to create prepositional phrases such as in the morning, at the park, on the table, and through the rain.
To get us started, here are a few examples of Portuguese prepositions that translate somewhat easily into English:
Translating a preposition is often not very straightforward. There are many situations like this, in which a Portuguese preposition corresponds to multiple possibilities in English, or vice-versa.
Sometimes you’ll even come across Portuguese phrases that use a preposition, while the corresponding English translation does not. For example: