We just learned how to say “the car” using definite articles, but what if you want to talk about “a car” in general? This is called an artigo indefinidoindefinite article, because we’re talking about an undefined car, rather than a specific instance of a car.
In English, we use a, an, and the plural form some.
In Portuguese, there are 4 indefinite articles: uma, anumaa, anunssomeumassome
Once again, the specific form used depends on the gender and number of the noun:
Masculine, singular: um carroa car
Feminine, singular: uma mesaa table
Masculine, plural: uns carrossome cars
Feminine, plural: umas mesassome tables
When to use Indefinite Articles
We use indefinite articles when we want to talk about a subject or an object without specifying a particular one. For example:
In this unit, we’ll learn about Portuguese númerosnumbers or numeraisnumerals.
Números are just one type of quantificadoresquantifiers, but they are so important that we thought they deserved their own unit. (All the other types of quantifiers will be explained in a later unit.) Números tell us the specific, numeric amount of a particular something.
In this lesson, we’ll learn about quantificadores existenciaisexistential quantifiers. Existential quantifiers provide information about quantity without specifying an exact quantity or amount. In English, we would use words like many, few, some, so much, another, several, and plenty. Let’s take a look at how to express these concepts in Portuguese.
Muito, Muita, Muitos, Muitas
Muito and muita are the singular form equivalents to many, very, much, or a lot. Examples:
muitovery, a lot masc.
Tenho muito medo!I’m very afraid!
muitavery, a lot fem.
Isto ainda é muita coisa para levar.This is still a lot to carry.
In this lesson, we’ll learn about quantificadores universaisuniversal quantifiers. Universal quantifiers are quantifiers that apply to every element of a given group. In English, this would include words like all, none, any, both, and every. Let’s learn about each of the words used to express these concepts in Portuguese.
Todo, Toda, Todos, Todas
Todo and toda are the singular form equivalents to all, whole, every, or entire in English.
todoall, entire masculine
Limpei este quarto todo.I cleaned this entire room.
todaall, entire feminine
Passei a manhã toda a estudar.I spent the whole morning studying.
Todos and todas are the plural forms of todo and toda.
In this lesson, we’ll take a look at the last subset of quantifiers: quantificadores interrogativosinterrogative quantifiers. Interrogative quantifiers introduce questions related to quantities. These types of questions are invariably answered using another quantifier. The interrogative quantifiers include:
Remember quanto and quanta from the previous lesson? As a relative quantifier, we used these words in the context of “as much as”, but as an interrogative quantifier, they have a slightly different meaning. When used to question a quantity, quanto and quanta are the singular form equivalents to “how much” in English.
Quanto gastaste ontem?How much did you spend yesterday?
In this lesson, we’ll learn about quantificadores relativosrelative quantifiers. Relative quantifiers don’t specify an exact quantity, but instead tell us about how a quantity compares in relation to an unspecified whole. Sound complicated? The examples below will make everything more clear.
Quanto, Quanta, Quantos, Quantas
Quanto and quanta are the singular form equivalents to “as much as” in English.
quantoas much as masc.
Tenho tanto de comer quanto necessito.I have as much to eat as I need.
quantaas much as fem.
Ela aprendeu tanta matéria quanta havia no manual.She learned as much as there was to learn in the textbook.
Quantos and quantas are the plural forms of quanto and quanta, and they’re equivalent to “as many as” in English.
quantosas many as masc.
Vou deitar a mão a tantos bombons quantos conseguir!I’ll have as many chocolates as I can get my hands on!
quantasas many as fem.
Levo tantas maçãs quantas tiveres.I’ll take as many apples as you have.
In this lesson, we’ll have a look at determinantes indefinidosindefinite determiners
Indefinite determiners are words that express an undefined quality about the noun they’re referencing, similar to “other people”, “another beer”, or “certain things” in English. In Portuguese, indefinite determiners always agree in gender and number with the noun.
Other & Another
The singular forms of “other” or “another” are outroothermasc. and outraotherfem.
Dá-me outro destes bolos, por favor.Give me another one of these cakes, please.
Temos de pôr aqui outra mesa.We have to place another table here.
The plural forms are outrosothermasc. and outrasotherfem.
In this lesson, we’ll compare Portuguese definite articles and indefinite articles. ArtigosArticles are small words that precede and define a noun. In Portuguese, articles take on different forms to agree in gender and number with the noun they define. In English, we just have the definite article the and the indefinite articles a, an, and some.
Artigos definidosDefinite articles are determiners used to indicate that we are referring to a specific, well-defined thing or person. There are four types, which all correspond to “the” in English. We use o and os for masculine nouns, plus a and as for feminine nouns.
The article othe is used for masculine nouns in the singular, while osthe is used for masculine nouns in the plural. Examples:
There are a few different ways to say no, to make a sentence negative, or to refer to a quantity that is zero. Here are some of the important words to know:
The simplest way to make a sentence negative in Portuguese is just to place the word nãono, not before the verb. This is the Portuguese equivalent of adding “no” or “not” to a sentence in English. Examples:
Esta mota é rápida.This motorbike is fast.
Esta mota não é rápida.This motorbike is not fast.
As you’ll see below, nada, ninguém, nenhum, and nenhuma are sometimes used with the word não to form a double negative, which is a perfectly acceptable construction in Portuguese. The negatives don’t cancel each other out, but instead reinforce each other. In English, we use the word “any” instead, so that “I do not want none” becomes “I do not want any“.
Let’s go over each word to better understand how to use these negatives forms in context.
NadaNothing is the equivalent of “nothing”. It is only used for things or abstract concepts, not for people. Examples: