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Indefinite Articles in Portuguese

May 8, 2019

How to Say A, An, & Some In Portuguese

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: um a, an uma a, an uns some umas some

Once again, the specific form used depends on the gender and number of the noun:

  • Masculine, singular: um carro a car
  • Feminine, singular: uma mesa a table
  • Masculine, plural: uns carros some cars
  • Feminine, plural: umas mesas some 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:

Introduction to Numbers in Portuguese

May 3, 2019

In this unit, we’ll learn about Portuguese números numbers or numerais numerals.

Números are just one type of quantificadores quantifiers, 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.

The 5 Types of Numbers:

Existential Quantifiers

May 2, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll learn about quantificadores existenciais existential 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:

muito very, a lot masc.

Tenho muito medo! I’m very afraid!

muita very, a lot fem.

Isto ainda é muita coisa para levar. This is still a lot to carry.

Universal Quantifiers

May 1, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll learn about quantificadores universais universal 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.

todo all, entire masculine

Limpei este quarto todo. I cleaned this entire room.

toda all, 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.

Interrogative Quantifiers

April 23, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll take a look at the last subset of quantifiers: quantificadores interrogativos interrogative quantifiers. Interrogative quantifiers introduce questions related to quantities. These types of questions are invariably answered using another quantifier. The interrogative quantifiers include:

Quanto? How much?masc.

Quanta? How much?fem.

Quantos? How many?masc.

Quantas? How many?fem.

How much?

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.

Examples:

Quanto gastaste ontem? How much did you spend yesterday?

Relative Quantifiers

April 23, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll learn about quantificadores relativos relative 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.

Examples:

quanto as much as masc.

Tenho tanto de comer quanto necessito. I have as much to eat as I need.

quanta as 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.

Examples:

quantos as 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!

quantas as many as fem.

Levo tantas maçãs quantas tiveres. I’ll take as many apples as you have.

Indefinite Determiners

April 5, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll have a look at determinantes indefinidos indefinite 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 outro othermasc. and outra otherfem.

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 outros othermasc. and outras otherfem.

Definite and Indefinite Articles

March 29, 2019

In this lesson, we’ll compare Portuguese definite articles and indefinite articles. Artigos Articles 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.

Definite Articles

Artigos definidos Definite 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.

O, Os

The article o the is used for masculine nouns in the singular, while os the is used for masculine nouns in the plural. Examples:

Adverbs of Degree: More, Less, etc.

February 21, 2019

Let’s look at some more adverbs of degree, which you’ll remember are always invariable. We’ll see examples of each of the following adverbs:

  • Mais More
  • Menos Less
  • Tão So, so much
  • Tanto So much, too much
  • Quase Almost

Mais

Mais simply means more, or plus.

Queres mais pão? Would you like more bread?

Menos

On the flip side, menos is equivalent to the English less, or minus.

Forming Negative Phrases

January 31, 2019

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:

não no, not

nada nothing

ninguém nobody

nenhum nonemasculine

nenhuma nonefeminine

Not

Não No, not

The simplest way to make a sentence negative in Portuguese is just to place the word não no, 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.

Double Negatives

nada nothingninguém nobody nenhum nonemasculinenenhuma nonefeminine

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.

Nothing

Nada Nothing is the equivalent of  “nothing”. It is only used for things or abstract concepts, not for people. Examples:

Talking about Quantity

May 1, 2018

These are three simple, common words used to talk about quantities in Portuguese:

muito many, much, a lot

pouco few, a little

algum some, a few

When talking about countable quantities (which usually end in “-s” in English as well as Portuguese), muito, pouco and algum all change according to gender and number:

Eu tenho muitos amigos. I have many friends.

Poucas pessoas sabem o segredo. Few people know the secret.

Eles compraram algumas prendas. They bought some gifts.

With uncountable nouns (such as virtues, qualities, or time, which usually don’t end is “-s” in either language), muito, pouco and algum stay in their singular form, while maintaining gender agreement: