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Using “é que” in European Portuguese Questions

June 24, 2020

You may have come across é que in a variety of Portuguese questions and wondered why these extra words are added. The pair of words is technically optional (the meaning stays the same with or without it), but including é que in Portuguese questions is so common that you should typically default to including it. This would be especially wise for beginners because there are not consistent rules for when it can be left out and excluding it can make certain sentences sound very strange.

Where to add é que

É que appears after the interrogative pronouns and adverbs you learned about previously, for example:

  • O que é que…? What is…?
  • Como é que…? How is…?, What is…?
  • Onde é que…? Where is…?
  • Quando é que…? When is…?

The rest of the question stays the same, continuing in subject, verb, object order, just like in English. É que basically translates to

Asking Questions in Portuguese

June 18, 2020

Yes/No Questions in Portuguese

There are a number of different ways to form questions in Portuguese. We’ll start with those for which the answers are either affirmative or negative. These are the easiest Portuguese questions to ask because very few changes have to be made to turn a statement into a question.

1. Add a question mark to the end of a statement

Tu estás em Portugal You are in Portugal

Tu estás em Portugal? Are you in Portugal?

By adding a ‘?’ to a statement, all we have to do is change the intonation of the sentence and it becomes a “yes or no” question.

2. Add a phrase like “não é?” to the end of a statement

Ela é portuguesa She is Portuguese

Ela é portuguesa, não é? She is Portuguese, isn’t she?, She is Portuguese, right?

This type of question is used when

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.


Quanto gastaste ontem? How much did you spend yesterday?

Interrogative Determiners

April 5, 2019

In this lesson we’ll learn about determinantes interrogativos interrogative determiners

Interrogative determiners are words we use to formulate questions or exclamations. There are only two of them, but they are quite important!


Que is equivalent to the English “what”. Example:

Que livro procuras? What book are you looking for?

Qual / Quais

Qual is the singular form equivalent to “which” in English. The same form is used for both masculine and feminine nouns. For example:

Ela visitou qual museu? Which museum did she visit?