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Basics I updated 2018-10-25

Welcome to the Portuguese course :D

In these basic lessons, you are going to see some words for people, such as man, woman, boy and girl, and also some basic verbs for eating, drinking, etc.

The two first things you will notice is that:

1 - Personal pronouns may be omitted, especially when the verb conjugation is unique for that pronoun.

In the sentence above, "eu" is totally optional. The verb "sou" is unique for the "eu" pronoun, and it already reveals who the subject is. (Later you will learn how to conjugate verbs for each person)

2 - Portuguese nouns have genders, even when they are not human!

Not only people and animals are gendered in Portuguese, but virtually all things are.

For instance, "maçã (apple)" is a feminine word, and "carro (car)" is masculine.

THE INDEFINITE ARTICLES "UM" AND "UMA"

Along with nouns, articles also have genders. They follow the gender of the noun they refer to. The masculine article is "um" and the feminine one is "uma":

Masculine:

Feminine:

But how can one tell the gender of a word?

Some words tell their gender by their ending. See "menino" and "menina", for instance. They are a type of word that can change its ending based on gender. These will often end in "o" for masculine and "a" for feminine.

There are other typical endings that can show a word's gender, but they are part of further skills :)

And, unfortunately, many words simply don't follow any pattern, and their gender just have to be memorised.

Basics II updated 2018-10-25

DEFINITE ARTICLES - "O" AND "A"

Just like the indefinite articles, definite ones also follow the gender of the nouns:

Be careful not to confuse the English "a" for the Portuguese "a":

VERB CONJUGATIONS

Verbs in Portuguese change depending on who is doing the action. This happens in English when, for instance, "to write" gets conjugated as "he writes."

In Portuguese, however, verbs have a different conjugation for each grammatical person.

Here we will focus on the first and third person singular conjugations: "eu" and "ele/ela".

Eng. Person Port. Person Ser Ler Comer (3)
I Eu Sou Leio Como
He / She / It Ele / Ela É Come
You (singular) Você (1) É (2) Come

(1) - "Você" is the singular "you". This pronoun, although referring to the second person, follows third person conjugations. Later we will see the pronoun "tu", which actually follows second person conjugations.

(2) - Don't confuse "é" for "e". The accend makes a difference here - "É" is a verb, "e" means "and".

(3) - In this table, "comer" (to eat) is a regular verb. All regular verbs ending in "er" follow the same pattern for their endings. "Ler" is an example of an irregular verb. It tries to follow the same endings, but with some changes.

WHERE IS "IT"?"

Sometimes, the word "it" is just not translated, depending on how concrete it is. In sentences like "it is ...", the best translations usually have nothing translating "it":

But when "it" is an animal or something relevant, something that actually exists, we still use "ele" or "ela" depending on the noun's gender:

Can we omit other pronouns?

Yes, we can omit any pronoun in Portuguese. But keep in mind that if the conjugation is not clear, it's better not to omit anything.

For instance, "come" can refer to "ele", "ela", "você" or even be an imperative verb. For that reason, we avoid omitting the pronoun in these cases.

Common Phrases updated 2018-10-25

Common Phrases!!

One of the most important things about different languages is that they also have different expressions.

You will notice sometimes that "word by word" translations can result in sentences that simply don't make any sense.

Remember: different languages think different!

In this skill, you will find some of those differences.

Questions

Just a grammar tip before you start:

Portuguese does not invert word order or add auxiliary verbs for asking questions, just add the question mark and you are ready to go!

Thanking people:

We don't really translate the "you" in that expression, we see it as a whole thing.

Welcoming people:

To welcome people, we use "bem-vindo". As an adjective, it inflects according to gender and number.

Translations of "Welcome!":

Gender Number Imperative "to be" (optional) (1) Welcome
Masculine Singular Seja Bem-vindo
Feminine Singular Seja Bem-vinda
Masculine Plural Sejam Bem-vindos
Feminine Plural Sejam Bem-vindas

(1) Don't worry too much about the imperative conjugations now, there will be lessons for it later :)

Food 1 updated 2018-10-25

Plural or singular?

In many cases, English does not allow countable nouns to be in singular form without articles.

That is not the case in Portuguese. Singular countable nouns with no articles in Portuguese will have a general meaning, similar to an English plural or an English singular with an indefinite article, depending on the context.

So, both Portuguese sentences below are just ok:

Their versions with articles or in plural forms are valid as well:

.
Verb for eating

Aside from idiomatic expressions, the only verb for eating in Portuguese is "comer".

The verb "ter" is translated as "to have", but only in the sense of "possess/own/contain":

.
Verbs for drinking

For drinking, there is the verb "beber".
It's possible in less formal contexts to also use "tomar". But tomar only means "to drink" if used with actual drinks. Sentences without the objects will sound strange with "tomar".

Plurals updated 2018-10-25

Nouns - Basic rules

Portuguese plurals are similar to English plurals. Add an "s" to the word and follow a few patterns. :)

But there is an important difference: all adjectives, articles, possessives and determiners pointing to the noun must be also changed to plural, according to the noun.

Some patterns:

Two advanced examples, one masculine and one feminine, just to illustrate the rules:

Personal pronouns

The plural of the pronouns seen so far are:

Singular Plural
I = Eu We = Nós
He/She/It = Ele/Ela They = Eles/Elas
You = Você You = Vocês

Notice that it's important to distinguish between singular and plural "you" in Portuguese!

Verbs - Conjugations

Different from English, Portuguese not only has different conjugations for "ele/ela", but for each person, singular and plural.

There are three types of regular verbs. They end in either "ar", "er" or "ir", and each type follow a pattern.

Fritar Comer Abrir
Eu Frito Como Abro
Ele/Ela Frita Come Abre
Nós Fritamos Comemos Abrimos
Eles/Elas Fritam Comem Abrem

* - Conjugations for "você" are the same as "ele/ela"
* - Conjugations for "vocês" are the same as "eles/elas"

Some irregular verbs for this skill:

Ser Ler
Eu Sou Leio
Ele/Ela É
Nós Somos Lemos
Eles/Elas São Leem

Tu or Você updated 2018-10-25

Tu and você, what is the difference?

In Portuguese, there are two very common ways to refer to "you (singular)": tu and você

Both words mean you, but only "tu" is truly a second person pronoun according to grammar. (Você is a treatment pronoun that uses third person conjugations)

Is one more formal than the other?

That will depend a lot on what region we are talking about. Some people see "tu" as an informal thing, others don't.

With time, several regions of Brazil chose "você" as the standard way of saying you. Other regions, however, kept "tu" as the most common form.

Examples of places that use "tu" very often are Portugal, Portuguese speaking countries in Asia and Africa and the south of Brazil.

Conjugations

The verb conjugations for each one are different. While "tu" uses true second person conjugations (the ones you see in tables), "você" uses third person conjugations (the ones for "ele/ela"):

Conjugations andar correr abrir
Tu andas corres abres
Você anda corre abre

In speech, it is very common to see people using "tu" with "você conjugations", but that is not grammatically correct.

Plural second person (obsolete)

Alternatively to "vocês", there is "vós", which is the plural you. But this form is quite obsolete and very rare. You can find it in old books.

If you're curious, its conjugations are:

Informal "we" - A gente updated 2018-10-25

Although meaning "people" in many cases, the word "gente", when used with the article "a", means "we/us".

This is a very common way of speaking, so common that it makes the expression "a gente" be avoided when one means "the people".

For "the people", normally "as pessoas" or "o povo" are used.

All conjugations for "a gente" are singular, matching the "ele/ela" conjugations:

Adjectives I updated 2018-10-25

Adjective inflections

As you may have noticed up to now, adjectives in Portuguese must be inflected according to the noun they refer to, even when connected with a linking verb such as "to be".

Adjectives change in gender and number:

Some of them, especially those ending in "e" or a consonant in singular form, have their masculine and feminine forms the same:

That doesn't mean they ignore the rule that "all should be inflected" though, they just don't have different forms.

Adjective positioning

Should they come before or after the noun?

This question is not so easy to answer. Mostly, adjectives should come after the nouns, but some can only come before nouns, some can only go after nouns, and some can go anywhere, with a slight change in meaning.

Adjectives that can go anywhere

The adjectives that can be placed either before or after the noun can have a slight change in meaning depending on the position.

Adjectives after nouns get a very literal meaning, while adjectives before nouns can get a more sentimental meaning:

This is not a strict rule though, intonation might have an influence too and many adjectives wouldn't be able to show any difference in meaning.

Adjectives that can't change position

There is nothing special about them, but they just don't fit both positions, such as:

Possessives updated 2018-10-25

Possessives

Portuguese regular possessive adjectives and pronouns are somewhat similar to English, but there are some differences. In Portuguese, they follow a few rules.

English-like rules:

Differences:

These are the regular pronouns and their inflections:

Owner Masc. sing. Fem. sing. Masc. plural Fem. plural
Eu (o) meu (a) minha (os) meus (as) minhas
Tu (o) teu (a) tua (os) teus (as) tuas
Você, Ele/Ela (o) seu (a) sua (os) seus (as) suas
Nós (o) nosso (a) nossa (os) nossos (as) nossas
Vós (o) vosso (a) vossa (os) vossos (as) vossas
Vocês, Eles/Elas (o) seu (a) sua (os) seus (as) suas

.
Examples:

Articles with possessive pronouns

While the possessive adjectives (coming before nouns) can have optional articles, the possessive pronouns (that don't precede nouns) must use the articles consistently.

One way of checking whether the article should be used is inverting the English sentence to the unusual "of him" form.
Then the article should behave in a similar way in both languages. (Please consider that this unusual English form is not commonly accepted as English translations in the system)

Sometimes, the article is optional, but meaning is changed:

Using the article in these cases talks about "extra specific" things, suggesting there are probably other possibilities.

Prepositions 1 updated 2018-10-25

The first and more important lesson about prepositions is:

Do not try to understand them alone! They will not make any sense!

Always consider the preceding and the following words!

In this skill you will see two kinds of preposition usage:

Preposition "de":

This preposition is very versatile and can be used in a lot of ways. Depending on the following word, it can have some of these most common meanings:

Preposition "com":

This preposition is fairly easy. Most of the times means "with" (meaning: together with, containing, considering, etc.)

But always keep in mind that expressions, verbs, etc. may use it in different ways.

Prepositions demanded by verbs

Here, it's important that you don't try to understand the prepositions themselves! Meanings only make sense considering "verb + preposition".

As a hint to understand this easily, compare the English verbs "to hear" and "to listen". For some reason, "to listen" demands a preposition while "to hear" doesn't:

In Portuguese, there are lots of verbs that for some reason demand a specific preposition. You don't need to get stuck in trying to understand "why".

Some examples of verbs demanding "de":

Some verbs will have entirely different meanings depending on the preposition:

Preposition Contractions 1 updated 2018-10-25

So far, you have seen pure prepositions (without articles and not combined with pronouns).

Now, you're going to see the same prepositions combined with other words.

Mandatory contractions

The preposition "de" must be contracted with articles and personal pronouns "ele(s)/ela(s)", generating the following words:

De+:

- o a os as
de do da dos das
- ele ela eles elas
de dele dela deles delas

Although mandatory, this does not change the preposition's meaning or usage in any way (please check out the tips for the skill "Preposition 1"). The articles' meanings are also unaffected.

(In advanced usages, if the second word is the subject of a second clause, the words don't contract)

Example:

Optional contractions

The articles "um, uma, uns, umas" may be contracted or not. In Brazil, it's considered less formal to use the contraction:

- um uma uns umas
de dum duma duns dumas

Example:

Alternatives for possessive pronouns

The preposition "de", as mentioned before, can be use as an indicator of possession. Thus, the words "dele, dela, deles, delas" are very often used instead of the standard possessive pronouns. They work such as "of him, of her, of them", but unlike in English, they're very natural in Portuguese.

Since the pronoun/adjective "seu" (and inflections) is very ambiguous, meaning "your(s), his, her(s), their(s)", using these alternatives is preferred by a lot of people to avoid confusion.

Here, declinations refer only to the owner instead and not according to the noun:

Owner Poss. Owner Poss.
Ele Dele Eles Deles
Ela Dela Elas Delas
- - Vocês De vocês

* - The form "de você" (singular) is not seen as a possessive form!
** - A popular informal one referring to "nós" is "da gente". It's not used in disambiguation, because "nosso(as)" is not ambiguous, but it's common in popular language due to "a gente" meaning "nós".

Examples:

Clothing updated 2018-10-25

Plural or singular??

The noun "roupa" (clothes) in Portuguese can be either countable or uncountable.

You can say "roupa" as "clothes in general" as well as "roupas".
One "roupa" can be the entire set of clothes:

But "roupa" is not "cloth", it may be a "piece of clothing".
For "cloth", there is "pano" or "tecido".

Clothes coming in pairs

For clothes that come in pairs, such as shoes, gloves, boots, it's also possible to use the singular form in Portuguese when referring to the pair:

Why possessive??

One interesting feature in Portuguese is the possibility of using definite articles (o/a/os/as) instead of possessives when it's obvious who something's owner is:

This is common with clothes and body parts, and it's also more natural than using actual possessives.

Verbs for clothes

In Portuguese, there are a few different verbs we use for clothes.

So, be careful when you see a sentence with "usar + clothes". Although it might mean "to use", it's much more likely to mean "wear" in English:

Funny thing about clothes in Portuguese.

This leads to a common joke:

....well.... it's only funny in Portuguese, I guess XD.

Food 2 updated 2018-10-25

Vocabulary

Pasta:

There are two Portuguese words for that:

Verbs versus nouns

Take care not to confuse some verbs that have their conjugations exactly the same as the nouns:

Inconsistent articles?

In English, the words "lunch" and "dinner" are used in a different way compared to other nouns. They are often used without any article or determiner.

In Portuguese, though, they behave as any other countable noun, using the article to be definite:

If you don't use the article, the sentences will sound just like these bad English sentences: "I have car", "Boy is here", etc.

Questions updated 2018-10-25

Questions in Portuguese

In Portuguese, asking questions is quite easy. Simply add a question mark and... that's it! =D

Wait! No change in the word order?

Right! No change in word order!

And no auxiliary verb? (do/does/did...)

Nope! No auxiliary verbs!

Try it:


Questions words

There are two question words that might be confusing at first, but they are distinct: "que" and "qual".

Que - as pronoun

For "que", when a standalone pronoun, use "o que".
This one asks for definitions and explanations. It's used when you want to understand what something is, more than simply knowing.

Qual - as a pronoun

This one is used to ask things that you do understand, but you don't know what/which they are. Sometimes it's "what", sometimes it's "which":

You don't ask "o que é o seu nome?", that would mean you don't understand what a name is. That would state something near "please explain what your name is".

Both as determiners - (coming before nouns)

In this case, "que" and "qual" are exactly the same, meaning "what" or "which":

Word order for question words

Question words are usually placed at the beginning of the sentence. But except for the verb "to be", the "subject - verb" order is kept the same as in affirmative sentences:

The three sentences above are also right the other way around, although the first of the following may sound informal:

Prepositions x Word order

In Portuguese, prepositions "cannot" be loose at the end of the sentence like in English. It must always be before what it refers to. So, if you have:

When inverting you should have:


But could the word order change?

Most of the times it can. But since the inversion is not standard, it may sound weird. The best thing to do is really to keep the same order as in affirmative sentences.

Colors updated 2018-10-25

Plural or singular???

As adjectives, colors also change gender and number to follow the nouns they point to.

But some colors have a different behavior.

Standard behavior

Colors that have their own name are used just like any ordinary adjective:

Color Masc. Sing. Fem. Sing. Masc. Pl. Fem. Pl.
Red Vermelho Vermelha Vermelhos Vermelhas
Yellow Amarelo Amarela Amarelos Amarelas
Blue Azul Azul Azuis Azuis
Green Verde Verde Verdes Verdes
Purple Roxo Roxa Roxos Roxas

(1) - Some adjectives, especially the ones ending in "e" have their masculine and feminine versions equal. That is normal and will happen to many other adjectives as well.

Invariant colors

But... colors that got their names from other things don't have plural forms:

Examples:


Moreno and negro

The standard color used for objects and animals is "preto" (black).

The word "negro" is often used with more abstract things, meaning "dark".

When referring to people's skin color, "negro" is the right choice, although many people prefer the term "afrodescendente" (descendent from Africans).

"Moreno" is only used for people. It may refer sometimes to the hair color, and in other cases to skin color.

When you say "ela é morena", you may be talking either about hair or skin, or both.

Numbers 1 updated 2018-10-25

Let's count!

Numbers up to ten

# Spelling
1 Um/uma
2 Dois/duas
3 Três
4 Quatro
5 Cinco
6 Seis
7 Sete
8 Oito
9 Nove
10 Dez

The numbers 1 and 2 have feminine forms if they precede a feminine noun:

Numbers up to nineteen

Up to 15, they have their names based on "#-ze", with some changes in the root.

# Spelling
11 Onze
12 Doze
13 Treze
14 Quatorze / Catorze
15 Quinze

After that, they become "dez(e)-#":

# Spelling
16 Dezesseis
17 Dezessete
18 Dezoito
19 Dezenove

(In Portugal, some of them may have a different spelling: "dezasseis, dezassete, dezanove").

And finally...

20 - Vinte!!!

Congratulations, you have learned how to count up to twenty!


Telling the time

Besides other possibilities, one very common way to tell the time in Portuguese uses just numbers and "e":

The verb must be plural if the number is more than one :)

Note that "hour" is a feminine noun in Portuguese, thus "uma" and "duas" are used. But minutes are masculine: "duas e dois = two past two".

Verbs: Present 1 updated 2018-10-25

Present tense: Simple present or "Presente do indicativo"

Let's start looking at the most basic verb tense: the simple present. In Portuguese, this is called "presente do indicativo."

Basically, there are three kinds of verbs in Portuguese:

Each of these follow a conjugation pattern. So all the regular verbs just get a consistent ending in each case:

Infinitive: ajudar beber abrir
Eu ajudo bebo abro
Tu ajudas bebes abres
Ele(a) (1) ajuda bebe abre
Nós ajudamos bebemos abrimos
Vós ajudais bebeis abris
Eles(as) (1) ajudam bebem abrem

(1) Remember that "você" and "vocês", although referring to the second person, are third person pronouns.

Você = you (sing.) / Vocês = you (plural)

Irregular verbs

Irregular verbs are those that don't follow the same conjugation pattern. Their conjugations might or not follow a pattern, and each verb must be learned individually in this case.

Some examples: ser (to be), fazer (to do/make), ir (to go), ouvir (to hear/listen) and others.

Prepositions 2 updated 2018-10-25

Once, more, in this skill you will see many kinds of preposition usage, which only make sense when other words are taken into account:

Expression:

Position / Movement

Time

Prepositions demanded by verbs

Here are several verbs and how their meanings are ruled by prepositions. *

This kind of study about verbs and their prepositions is called "regência verbal", and if you already understand some Portuguese, you can search the internet for "regência de (verb)" in order to know how to use it regarding prepositions.

"Por" versus "Para" in general sentences:

English and Portuguese don't always follow the same rules for these two prepositions, and it's important to know that it will not be always "para=to" and "por=for".

It's better to understand that:

Body Parts updated 2018-10-25

As it happens many times with clothes, body parts will also dismiss the possessive pronouns very often when its obvious who the owner is.

So, you're going to see things like:

Using the possessives is not wrong, and always necessary if the owner is not quite obvious.

Vocabulary

Differences in "number" for the word "costas".

The body part "back" in Portuguese is "costas". It is always plural, so:

Preposition Contractions 2 updated 2018-10-25

As it happens with "de", the following prepositions will also form contractions with articles and pronouns

Mandatory contractions with definite articles

- o a os as
em no na nos nas
a (1) ao à aos às
por pelo pela pelos pelas

(1) - The preposition "a", which has the same spelling and pronunciation as the article "a", is contracted by using the "grave accent". This accent does not change the pronunciation of it, it just indicates that there is the preposition "a" together with an article "a".

Mandatory contractions with "ele(s)/ela(s)"

- ele ela eles elas
em nele nela neles nelas

Prepositions "por" and "a" will not contract here, keeping "por ele" and "a ele".

Optional contractions with "um/uma"

- um uma uns umas
em num numa nuns numas

In Brazil, these contractions are considered somewhat informal.


As with any contraction of preposition, meanings are not changed in any way. The prepositions are still demanded by the verbs or used in specific situations, and the articles are still used when you need things to be definite.

Family updated 2018-10-25

Nouns that change genders

You are probably getting used to Portuguese genders by now, but here, we will see some interesting distinctions between two kinds of nouns:

Among family nouns, animals and professions, it's very common to find those that change genders according to the person they refer to:

On the other hand, some of them have always the same gender regardless of the person they refer to:

.
Genders and plurals or general statements

Here we are going to see what to do when we don't know the gender of the people or when there is a group with mixed genders.

Portuguese takes the masculine gender as the standard gender for general cases.
This means that for nouns, adjectives and any other thing that can change genders, one chooses the masculine gender to talk about unknown or mixed genders.

Examples of unknown genders:

In these examples, the cat can be either male or female: a strange cat we don't know the gender. And the people we are talking about can be just anyone, men and women.

If we use the feminine genders, both examples get very specific:

In plurals, the same rule applies. If you have a group with mixed genders, the chosen gender is masculine:

One particular spelling exception happens with "avós", which seems to be feminine, but is actually masculine (mixed group):

Note that the unchangeable nouns keep the same gender in plural:

Household updated 2018-10-25

Vocabulary:

Some interesting words that may be tricky.

Móvel

In English, "furniture" is uncountable, while in Portuguese, "móvel" is countable, meaning a "piece of furniture". So, very often, the translation of "furniture" will be "móveis" in plural.

Alternatively, the word "mobília" works as a collective, just like "furniture" in English.

Sala x Quarto

Every room in a house is called a "cômodo". But a bedroom is called "quarto", and a living room is called "sala (de estar)".

The words "quarto" and "sala" are not used for other rooms such as a kitchen or a bathroom.

In offices (escritórios), rooms are called "salas".

Parede x Muro

Although meaning "wall", each word refer to a different kind of wall:

If a wall is really huge, such as for defending a castle, it may be called "muralha" (an augmentative of "muro").

Ligar x Desligar

For turning appliances on and off, we use "ligar (turn on)" and "desligar (turn off)".

But these words may go further, such as meaning "connect" or "disconnect" a power cord.

And also making telephone calls: "Ligar para alguém = To call someone (over the phone)"

But be careful with "faucets", they will use "abrir/fechar" (open/close) instead, although some cases, especially showers, may still use "ligar/desligar".

Verbs: Infinitive 1 updated 2018-10-25

Infinitive verbs in Portuguese are just the verbs not conjugated.

In Portuguese there is nothing that matches "to" in an infinitive verb.

So both "bare infinitive" and "full infinitive" translate the same:

Infinitive or gerund?

Although having something called "gerdúndio" with verbs ending in "ndo", which we will see in further skills, Portuguese does not have what English calls a "gerund" (Using a verb ending in "ing" as a noun or noun clause).

Portuguese verbs ending in "ndo" are used only in progressive tenses.

But, if Portuguese doesn't have "gerunds" how are they translated?

Portuguese uses infinitive verbs as translations for the English gerunds.

Examples:

Some prepositions

Here too, prepositions can take particular meanings.

But mostly, they are not related to the infinitive verbs, but demanded by the other verb instead.

When they are related to the infinitive verbs, they can mean:

Examples:

Verbs: Phrasal Future Tense updated 2018-10-25

Future with verb "ir"

In Portuguese, the future tense has two possible ways of conjugating. One uses the verb "ir" in present as an auxiliary verb and the other doesn't.

Normally, but not necessarily, the one with auxiliary verb is closer in meaning to the "going to" future and the other is closer to the "will" future. The simple form is also more formal.

But that difference is not very clear in Portuguese, so they are used interchangeably. The simple form is more formal, though.

Conjugations:

present ir + infinitive = future

So, for this lesson, all you need to know is how to conjugate the verb "ir" (to go) in present tense. And to get started, you can see "ir" as "be going to" or "will", just like the English verb structure:

Phrasal Future: Ir + infinitive
Eu vou + infinitive
Tu vais + infinitive
Ele(a) / Você vai + infinitive
Nós vamos + infinitive
Vós ides + infinitive
Eles(as) / Vocês vão + infinitive

A special case

What to do when the main verb is "ir"?
Can I use "ele vai ir" (he will go)?

No, in this case, just use "ir" in present (it will serve both as present and future):


An informal trend

Many people commonly replace the present conjugation of "ir" with its future conjugation. That is not considered a correct future tense but it's quite accepted.

So when you see "ele irá fazer", it means "ele vai fazer" = he will do (it).

Place adverbs updated 2018-10-25

Place adverbs and distance rules:

Portuguese has a few more of these adverbs than English. While English considers "near me" and "far from me", Portuguese includes "near you" in its meanings.

There is also a difference about "far" and "not so far".

So here they are:

There isn't a clear distinction about what is considered far enough to choose between "ali" and "lá", but this is not a big problem.

Some examples:

When you're referring to the listener, "aí" is usually the best choice, since it's the place where the listener is.

The verb "haver"

In Portuguese, one way to say "there is" something somewhere is by using the verb "haver".

But different from English, in this meaning "haver" will always be singular:

Informally, we use the verb "ter" without a subject (and also in singular):

This meaning of "ter" will often be the first meaning a person will understand (if the sentence allows that). For that reason, if you intend to say "(do) you have", it's usually better to not omit the subject.

Some additional usages of "aí"

Among the learned adverbs, "aí" is more flexible than the others. It's used in abstract cases, and to mark actions that follow other actions.

Some informal examples:

To Be: Ser / Estar updated 2020-07-31

Two verbs for one?

In Portuguese, the verb "to be" can be either "ser" or "estar", depending on each case and what the sentence means.

Basically, "ser" is for "permanent/ihnerent" things and "estar" is for "current states/locations".

Sometimes both can fit a sentence, sometimes only one of them makes sense.

Here are their present conjugations:

Ser Estar
Eu sou estou
Tu és estás
Ele(a) / Você é está
Nós somos estamos
Vós sois estais
Eles(as) / Vocês são estão

"TWO BE OR NOT TWO BE"? - HOW TO CHOOSE

"Ser" and "Estar" can be confusing verbs at first, but they follow some rules.

Here, along with them, we also present you the verb "ficar", which sometimes shares a common meaning with "to be".

So, how do you choose between them?

In general:

Here are the differences:

For characteristics and qualities

Examples

Identity vs State - Ser vs Estar

Another way of seeing this, specially when referring to people, is the difference between identity/personality and current state.
That explains why, for instance, only "ser" is used for professions. Professions are attached to identity, they're not really seen as a current states, although you can philosophically see it like that.

.

For places and locations - static objects (which cannot be moved)

The choice between "ser" and "ficar" has no rule, and there is no difference.

Examples

For places and locations - movable objects

Examples


Current possessions

An interesting Portuguese feature is the hability to use "estar com" indicating current possessions:

Also, some feelings, sensations, such as hunger and fear, and a few other things are considered things you "have", thus also using "estar com":

Both could use "ter", but that is more suited to steady/permanent things:

The same transitory idea applies to "not having something at the moment", using the expression "estar sem":

Preposition Contractions 3 updated 2018-10-25

Ready for another round of preposition contractions?

Here, the preposition "de" must form contractions with the previously learned place adverbs:

Mostly, they will mean "from here" or "from there", but keep in mind that prepositions might be necessary for other reasons, such as in "eu gosto daqui = I like it here" ("de" required by "gostar").

And also, the preposition "a" will contract with "onde" (where).

"Onde" vs "Aonde"

Many people, including native speakers, will confuse these two words, but the trick is simple: remember that "aonde" contains "a", which is a destination preposition (to). This, use "onde" in static sentences, and "aonde" in sentences having something going towards a destination:

Some additional usages of "daí"

Since "aí" is a very flexible adverb, the contraction "daí" will also get some special meanings.

Besides meaning the literal "from there (where you are)", it can also mean "thus/then/so". A very common expression is:

Demonstratives updated 2018-10-25

Demonstratives are words that demonstrate something, such as "this" and "that" in English.

As it happens with place adverbs, demonstratives in Portuguese also consider three distances: "near the speaker", "near the listener", "far from both".

Distance rules

Demonstr. Place Description
Isto / Este Aqui This thing here
Isso / Esse That thing near the listener
Aquilo / Aquele Ali / Lá That thing far from us

For abstract things or things for which the location is not clear or doesn't atually exist, usually "isso" is the best choice.

* - In Brazil, the difference between "isto" and "isso" is almost unknown/forgotten. Thus Duolingo will accept replacing "isto" with "isso", and also translating "isso" with "this". But it won't accept translating "that" with "isto", nor "this" with "aquilo".

Indefinite pronouns

The indefinite pronouns are used to represent something. They cannot be used as determiners, and they will mainly be used for things yet to be explained.

They are:

Definite pronouns/determiners

These are used to "point to something" that is already known or defined. Since they refer to a noun, they have inflections such as an adjective pronoun:

Often, when the noun is not present, you can translate these as "this one/these ones" or "that one/those ones".

Definite or Indefinite?

Use the indefinite version when you're going to explain something.

Use the definite version when you're choosing one from a list, of introducing things that don't need to be explained:

Comparing:

PS: avoid using "isto/isso/aquilo" for people and animals, it sounds like treating them like objects.

Occupations updated 2018-10-25

Nouns with two genders

As it happens with nouns for people and animals, professions in Portuguese can also change genders depending on the professional's gender.

But here, it's very common to see nouns that do change genders, but without changing forms.

As well as with the other nouns that change genders, in sentences where genders are unknown or mixed, Portuguese adopts the masculine gender, which will only show in articles, adjectives and other determiners for this case.

Nouns changing forms:

Nouns that don't change forms:

Examples:

Preposition Contractions 4 updated 2018-10-25

Now you understand the demonstratives and prepositions, lets start using them together.

All the demonstratives must contract with "de" and with "em", but this will neither change their meanings nor the prepositions'.

Contractions with "de":

Contractions with "em":


Contractions with "a":

For those starting in "a", there must be a contraction if the preposition "a" is present, using the "grave accent", as it happens with articles:


Always remember that there are many ways to use a preposition, and here this is also true. There are verbs such as "gostar (de)", which will demand prepositions that seem pointless and wont be translated:

Prepositions will always depend on the surrounding words to get a meaning. If you find this skill too confusing, go back and review the other preposition skills for a bit :)

Past - Pretérito Perfeito updated 2018-10-25

The past tenses - Pretérito Perfeito

In Portuguese, there are a few different past tenses. In this skill, we will see the "pretérito perfeito".

Although the name translates literally to "past perfect", it's not equivalent to that English tense. There is a different point of view about tense names.

And why do we use the Portuguese name instead of the English name? Because this tense matches more than one in English.

This tense, the "pretérito perfeito", matches mainly the "simple past" and sometimes the "present perfect" when it's about a single action concluded in the past. Later in the tree, we will see more about when the English "present perfect" fits this tense and when it doesn't.

In short, the "pretérito perfeito" doesn't consider "durations" and "continuity" of the past actions.

Examples:

Important: Portuguese doesn't add auxiliary verbs such as "did". So the conjugated form is used in questions and negative sentences too.

Here are the regular conjugations for "pretérito perfeito" with the examples "andar" (to walk), "comer" (to eat) and "ouvir" (to hear/listen)

Infinitive: andar comer ouvir*
Eu andei comi ouvi
Tu andaste comeste ouviste
Ele(a) / Você andou comeu ouviu
Nós andamos comemos ouvimos
Vós andastes comestes ouvistes
Eles(as) / Vocês andaram comeram ouviram

* - ouvir is regular in this past tense, but it's irregular for the present "eu ouço".

Conjunctions updated 2018-10-25

Conjunctions are words that join up parts of a sentence, such as verb clauses.

Words such as "e (and)" and "ou (or)" are very common examples.

Que

Another one among the most common conjunctions is "que". You will see that this word has a lot of different functions in Portuguese.

Besides being a pronoun, like in "o que (what)" and "por que (why)", it can also be a conjunction (that), such as in these sentences:

"Ou" and "nem":

But both can be used forming these constructions:

Prepositions 3 updated 2018-10-25

Desde:

This preposition has two main meanings:

Use "desde que" if the complement is a clause with a verb.

Notice an important difference in verb conjugations when using this:

In Portuguese, use the "present" tense for a duration since some point. This is not possible in English. The Portuguese compound version is also accepted (Eu tenho morado aqui desde ...), but it's less common, and this compound version does not work exactly the same as in English (there will be as kill for it later).

Até:

Main meanings:

Sem:

This can be used as a transitory lack of possession, including certain feelings and states, just like with "com":

Apesar:

This means mainly "despite" or "although", and should be used with "de" and a personal infinitive verb:

This "de" will often not contract with pronouns, because these pronouns will be the subject of the next clause:

Dates and Time updated 2018-10-25

Prepositions for time

Prepositions used for time expressions have different translations from those used for places. Nevertheless, they too follow well behaved rules in most cases.

Periods of the day:

This is one of the few exceptional cases, where both English and Portuguese have their particular usage:

Numeric dates and named months:

Use "em" without articles.

Numeric dates and months when using the nouns "dia, mês, ano":

Use "em + article". If the unit is "mês", it's necessary to add a "de" after it.

Week days:

Use "em + article":

These prepositions can be omitted: "... é sexta-feira", "...viaja domingo".

Repeating week days:

If something happens regularly on certain week days, use the preposition "a" or "em" plus the plural article:

Using "a" is more formal and better for written texts.

Terms:

For terms, the preposition used is also "em", without articles:

Another very common option is "dentro de" (within), which has the same meaning.

Clock time:

Clock times will translate "at" as "a" and an article is needed.

If the following time is feminine, add the article "a" making it "à" (a+a)
If masculine, the article is "o", making it "ao" (a+o).
And if plural, add the respective "s".

When telling the day period, use "de" before it:

Measurements updated 2018-10-25

To be or to have???

When talking about sizes, an interesting difference in how languages view things shows up.

Just like it happens when telling people's ages, when telling things' sizes, Portuguese uses the verb "ter" instead of translating the verb "to be" directly.

So, whenever telling something's measurements, remember that:

Notice also the preposition "de" used when telling which dimension you are talking about.

Measurements without verbs

When measurements appear directly attached to something without a verb, similar to an adjective, Portuguese sentences use the form "de + size", working the same way food flavors do:

PS: Brazil uses mostly the International System of Units, being "kilograms", "kilometers", "meters" and "centimeters" the units Brazilians understand.

Gram or grass??

A fun fact about these two words:

Verbs: Imperative updated 2018-10-25

In addition to having tenses showing "when" an action takes place, languages also have moods, that indicate how the verb is being used. Different moods have different meanings.

Imperative is the verb mood for giving orders.

In Portuguese, moods also change verb conjugations. Just like tenses and other moods, the imperative has its own conjugation forms:

Infinitive: jantar receber partir
Eu -------- -------- --------
Tu janta ....... / não jantes recebe ....... / não recebas parte ....... / não partas
Ele(a) / Você jante receba parta
Nós jantemos recebamos partamos
Vós jantai ........ / não janteis recebei ........ / não recebais parti ........ / não partais
Eles(as) / Vocês jantem recebam partam

(1) - There is no singular first person form (eu), for one cannot give orders to oneself.

(2) - Different from others, imperative has different conjugations for affirmative and negative sentences for "tu" and "vós".

Regarding the second person ("you"), they follow the same idea as other conjugations. You can use either "tu" conjugations (2nd person) or "você" conjugations (3rd person). Depending on where you are, one might sound more formal than the other. In general, "você" conjugations are more formal, but that may vary.

Also, since English has only one form of "you" for both singular and plural, most English imperative sentences could be translated with any of the four conjugation options in Portuguese: "tu/você/vós/vocês". ("Vós" is quite obsolete here too).

Just remember that when you are talking to a single person, you have to use the singular forms (tu/você). And when talking to more than one person, use (vós/vocês).

Ex: Open the door!

Comparison updated 2018-10-25

Comparatives and superlatives

Comparatives:

Use the words "mais" (more) and "menos" (less) to form comparisons with adjectives.

Use the conjunction "que" for the word "than":

Use the subject pronouns in comparisons:

The preposition+article "do" before "que" is optional and has no additional meaning.

Special comparatives:

Certain words will not use "mais" or "menos", but will have a synthetic form:

* - Portugal accepts "mais pequeno"

Superlatives:

In Portuguese, all you need for creating superlatives is adding the definite article before it:

With "mais" or "menos", use the order "article + noun + comparative".

* - Be careful with "que" being not a comparison conjunction, superlatives will not compare two things.

With the synthetic ones, place the noun after:

Intensifiers

For intensifying qualities, similarly to "so", "so much" and "so many" in English, use:

Examples:

Equal intensity/amount comparison

Use "tão ... quanto" and "tanto(as) quanto":

"Como" is accepted instead of "quanto", but it sounds quite awkward.

Adjectives II updated 2018-10-25

A few adjective examples that accept only one position:

Before noun After noun
Cultural x
Impossível x
Nacional x
Industrial x
Primeiro x*

* - All numbers and ordinal numbers come before nouns. The only exception appears in titles for people, such as "Pedro Primeiro = Pedro the First".

Adverbs updated 2018-10-25

Adverbs are words that modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs.

They are used for adding location, time, intensity, modes and many other things.

Adverbs don't inflect!

Adverbs are not used to change nouns, and because of it, they don't inflect.

It's true they can change inflected adjectives, but even though, they remain uninflected.

Bem and Bom

"Bem" is an adverb, meaning "well" or, if modifying an adjective, "quite".
"Bom" is an adjective, meaning "good":

Muito and pouco:

When these words are adverbs, they have only this form. In this case, they are translated as "very" and "little", except when before comparatives, when "muito" becomes "much".

Beware not to confuse "pouco" with "um pouco":

When they are not adverbs, they define amounts of some noun and have an adjective function:

Verbs: Continuous updated 2018-10-25

In English, gerunds and present participles use the "ing" ending on the verbs.

In Portuguese, the verb ending is "ndo".

Present participle

The present participle is the continuous action of the verb, the continuous tense. In Portuguese, it's called "gerúndio". The translations are mostly straight and clear, using the verb "estar".

Out of curiosity, "estar a + infinitive" is also a form of progressive tense, being more common in European Portuguese.

Beware of the stative verbs!

In English, some verbs are static, meaning they cannot be used in the progressive form. They are verbs such as "like", "believe", "want" and others. But Portuguese doesn't have those kind of verbs, so you will find some sentences whose translations are not so straight:

Is there a difference in the meaning between "Eu estou gostando" and "Eu gosto"??
Well....a little, when using the progressive form, you really mean you are "enjoying" something that is currently taking place, while the simple present form can be used in general.

Gerunds

Now, Gerunds in English create "nouns" and "noun clauses" using the "ing" verb ending. In Portuguese, a gerund such as this doesn't exist!!! You use the infinitive verb instead:

Places updated 2018-10-25

Prepositions for places

The easiest usage of prepositions is when they are about places. In this case, it's often possible to trust dictionary translations for prepositions.

When talking about places, the general rules for prepositions are:

Examples:

(1) "A" is also used sometimes without "motion to", in expressions like:

Notice the positional words complementing the preposition: beira (edge/margin), lado (side), longo (long)


Other more precise prepositions:

Verbs: Past Imperfect 1 updated 2018-10-25

Pretérito imperfeito

"Imperfect"? What does it mean?

Originally, the term "perfect" was used for "completed" actions, although today some "perfect" tenses don't really follow this strictly.

On the other hand, "imperfect" isn't about "conclusions".

In Portuguese, the imperfect past talks about something that "was true" or "was happening" during a certain time period in the past.

It's great for continuous actions in the past, habits and steady states creating contexts: things that "were being", if you allow us to use a "non-standard" English.
While the "pretérito perfeito" (the one you've studied so far) is great for "changing" something from an unconcluded to a concluded state.

.
Continuous meanings

In many cases, this tense has a continuous meaning, especially when the "while" idea is present:

.
Old habits

Since old habits are things that used to happen, spread along a time period, the "imperfect" tense is also the right form for this:

But is "used to" really the right translation? Well, it's an adaptation to convey the right meaning, since simple past can often be interpreted differently.

The literal translation of "used to" is "costumava" (and its conjugations for other persons)

When "used to" is a good option, "would" can also be a good one. But never with a standard conditional meaning.

.
Setting the scenery in past

Because scenery is something that is just there, not changing anything, not acting nor completing actions, "imperfect past" is also the best choice to describe it. The scenery "was just being" while the story happened.

.
Comparing

One interesting rule for simple actions is: if you can use English's present perfect, then also use Portuguese's "pretérito perfeito".

Conjugations

Ininitive: Pegar Mover Cumprir
Eu Pegava Movia Cumpria
Tu Pegavas Movias Cumprias
Ele(a) / Você Pegava Movia Cumpria
Nós Pegávamos Movíamos Cumpríamos
Vós Pegáveis Movíeis Cumpríeis
Eles(as) / Vocês Pegavam Moviam Cumpriam

People updated 2018-10-25

Vocabulary

Pessoa(s)

Gente

"Gente" is a collective noun (a singular noun representing many people). It's used when it's about a mass of people, an amount, for instance.

Be careful: the expression "a gente" is mainly used to mean "we/us".

Povo

"Povo" is also a collective noun, but it refers to "people from somewhere", as the Brazilian People, the Portuguese people. It's more like a political usage.

It can be plural, and in this meaning it will also be pluralized in English:

Another possibility is to use "povo" as "common/ordinary people" in contrast with some elite, for instance.

Clitic Pronouns updated 2018-10-25

Subject and Object pronouns

In Portuguese, pronouns also change for subjects and objects.

So far you are used to the "pronomes do caso reto" (subjective pronouns), they are used for subjects: "Eu, tu/você, ele, nós, vós/vocês, eles"

But when they are objects, they turn into "pronome oblíquo" (objective pronouns). You can compare them like you can compare "he" with "him" and "she" with "her".

In Portuguese, o, os, as, a, besides being articles, can also be direct object pronouns which are normally used to replace a direct object (a noun, person or thing) in a sentence in order to avoid repetition.

This answers, for instance, why "Eu os ouço" is used instead of "Eu ouço eles". (1 - See note at the end).


Direct and indirect objects

In Portuguese, pronouns also change depending on whether the object is direct or indirect, and when there is a preposition.

Here is a table to make it easier:

Subj. Dir. Obj. Ind. Obj Reflx. With prep.
Eu Me Me Me Mim
Tu Te Te Te Ti
Ele/Ela O/A Lhe Se Si/Ele/Ela
Nós Nos Nos Nos Nós
Vós Vos Vos Vos Vós
Eles/Elas Os/As Lhes Se Si/Eles/Elas

Dir. Obj. - Direct objects are used when the verb doesn't need a preposition. (1)

Ind. Obj. - Indirect objects are used when the verb needs a preposition, but this version of the pronoun removes the preposition (Dê-lhe o carro = Give him the car - See below to understand this completely)

Reflx. - Reflexive pronouns are used when the subject performs an action towards him or herself. (Ele se cortou = He cut himself / Eu me vi no espelho = I saw myself in the mirror / Tu te cortaste = you have cut yourself)

With prep. - These are also indirect objects, but the preposition is needed together with the pronoun. (Dê o carro a mim = Give the car to me). In Brazil, the "si" versions are mostly for reflexive cases with prepositions.

(1): The direct object pronoun is normally not used correctly in spoken form, so you would hear a lot more people saying Eu ouço eles than Eu os ouço. A great number of Brazilian speakers would prefer using "ele/ela/eles/elas" instead.


(advanced) Placement of pronouns - Colocação pronominal

These pronouns can be placed either before or after the verb, or even in the middle!!

There are some rules that determine whether they should be put in one of these positions. In Brazil, though, these rules are rarely mastered by people, some of them might feel unnatural and even some writers disagree of them. In formal academic writings though, they would be required. In Portugal, they follow these rules more strictly than in Brazil. (Duolingo is not strict about these specific rules)

Pronouns before the verb - próclise

Negative words, some adverbs and pronouns attract the clitic pronoun to be placed just after them, before the verb.

When putting the pronouns before the verb, they are written without additional symbols.

A pronoun that does not use a preposition cannot start a sentence according to the formal rules, but even though, in Brazil this is a very common practice.

Pronouns after the verb - ênclise

If no "attracting" word is present, pronouns will go after the verb, attached with hyphens.

If the pronoun is "o, a, os, as", it changes depending on the verb's ending:

When necessary, the accent is added so the verb keep the last syllable stressed after losing the "r":

Pronouns in the middle of the verb - mesóclise

This is very rare today, but in formal rules, if you cannot use "próclise" for verbs in future conjugations, you add the pronoun in the middle of the verb:

Numbers 2 updated 2018-10-25

Tens - from 10 to 100

From 20 to 90, their names are mostly based on "#-enta".

Hundreds - from 100 to 1000

From 200 to 900, their names are mostly based on "#-centos"

All the hundreds from 200 to 900 have feminine forms: duzentas, trezentas ...


Forming big numbers

In Portuguese, forming big numbers is similar to English, but adding the conjunction "e" between digits and commas after thousands and bigger:

(1) "Cento" is used instead of "cem" whenever followed by the rest of the number.
(2) There is no need to translate the "one/a" in "one/a hundred/thousand". The words "cem", "cento" and "mil" stand alone and contain "one" implied.


Ordinal numbers

Orginal numbers are numbers for showing position, rank, etc.

They are always used before the noun. (Except in rare titles such as "Dom Pedro II" (Dom Pedro Segundo)

The suffixes

All the suffixes "st, nd, rd" and "th" are replaced by º or ª, being the first masculine and the second feminine:

When saying or writing ordinal numbers in Portuguese, remember all of them have feminine forms.

From "first" to "tenth"

From "twentieth" to "100th"

Writing long ordinal numbers

This is actually easier than regular numbers, you just add words together:

Sizes updated 2018-10-25

Tamanho x Medida

"Tamanho" is a general word meaning "size".
It can be used either for exact measures or general sizes such as "pequeno (small), médio (mid-size)" and "grande (big)".

Clothes are often labeled with the letters "P, M, G" for their sizes. (PP is smaller than P and GG is bigger than G).

"Medida" is attached to numbers, exact measurements:

Largo x Amplo x Grande

In Portuguese, these words are used differently:

Largo

"Largo" is a false cognate, and it is not a synonym of big.
"Largo" is related to "largura" (width), so it's mostly "wide".

Amplo

"Amplo" is used mostly for "rooms", "spaces" and "ranges", when it can mean "wide", but not as an actual width measurement.

Grande

"Grande" means "big" or "large" in the most common senses.

Justo x Apertado

Sometimes both seem to mean the same (tight), but mostly they mean:

It's true their meanings can overlap a little, but "justo" is not used often for things that have a negative connotation.

For machine parts, though, "apertado" and "justo" would mean the same.

Determiners updated 2018-10-25

Algum, Nenhum or Qualquer??

There's an interesting distinction about the usage of these words between English and Portuguese.

For instance, one cannot say that "algum" is always "some" or that "qualquer" is always "any". In fact they can be just the other way around.

So, how to distinguish them?

The key is in whether the sentence is negative, affirmative or a question! So, in a simple table, it works like this:

Word Affirmatives Questions Negatives
Algum Some Any -
Nenhum No / None No / Not any No / Not any
Qualquer Any Just any Just any

And here go the deails:

Affirmative sentences

Here are what you will probably see as a standard meaning for these words:

It might seem weird to say that a sentence with "nenhum" is affirmative, since nenhum itself is a negative word. But since Portuguese often uses double negation with "nenhum", we are putting the ones that are not double negation here.

Examples:

Questions

But now things change a little. You will notice that in questions they become:

Wait, all of them mean any in questions? Yes, but:

See the examples:

Rarely, the examples above could use "qualquer", but it might seem unusual.

In plural form, "alguns/algumas" can mean "some" too:

For nenhum, in English you have the choice to choose where you are going to put the negation:

And "qualquer" with its standard meaning:

Negative sentences

Again, for nenhum, you can choose where to put the negation:

And "qualquer" can less often replace "nenhum", or keep its standard affirmative meaning.

So, whenever possible, "qualquer" will retain it's "just any" meaning. In order to avoid doubt, prefer "nenhum" when you mean "no".

Verbs: Participle updated 2018-10-25

Past participle

In Portuguese, when one talks about "participle", it means mostly "past participle", since the idea of "present participle" is not that famous (other names are used for "present participles" in Portuguese).

Past participles are used mainly for three things:

In this skill, we are going to see the first two cases.

In both of them, the participle must be inflected regarding genders and number. (That is not true for compound tenses though)

Adjectives:

Not all past participles suit adjective usages, but when they do, it's as simple as using any other adjective:

Passive voice:

Passive voices in Portuguese are pretty much like English passive voices:

But remember: only "ser" can be used for passive voices.
Using "estar" + "past participle" will end up creating an adjective telling one's current state. So:

Passive voice examples:

Conjugations

Regular past participle conjugations follow this pattern:

Verb Past participle
Combinar Combinado
Entender Entendido
Repetir Repetido

All of them will accept the inflections "o/a/os/as".

Irregular verbs

Some verbs follow irregular patterns, such as:

Some have both forms:

When they have both forms, the regular form is used for compound tenses and the irregular forms are the ones inflected and used as adjectives and in passive voices. (This last rule has exceptions where the irregular form is the most popular in every case)

Prepositions 4 updated 2018-10-25

Some objective pronouns in Portuguese are different when they're following a preposition:

For any preposition except "com" (examples using "para"):

These use the same form as the subject pronoun:

For the preposition "com", some contractions are demanded:


Mim não conjuga verbo ("Mim" does not conjugate verbs)

This is a common sentence used to teach children not to use "mim" if it is supposed to be the subject of a following clause:

In the second sentence, "eu" should be used instead of "mim", although following "para", because it's the subject of the clause "eu ler".

Pronouns updated 2018-10-25

Ninguém, alguém, nenhum, algum.

These are very similar to the determiners seen before.

Word Affirmative Question Negative
Alguém Somebody Anybody -
Ninguém Nobody Not anybody Nobody / Not anybody
Algum Some Any -
Nenhum None Not any None / Not any

They're also often used in double negations:

Todo(s) x Tudo

The word "tudo" means "everything". It's a genderless pronoun that doesn't take articles and never works as a determiner.

The word "todo" can be either a determiner or a pronoun, but it refers to a noun and must inflect.

A few patterns are important:

The noun "o todo" means "the whole", "the entire thing".

Relative pronouns

These kinds of pronouns refer to something previously stated and start a new clause. "Que" is the most common one:

Past - Pretérito Perfeito 2 updated 2018-10-25

Conjugatoins for the irregular verbs:

* - The conjugations for "pôr" includes all derivations, such as "supor", "impor", "repor", "compor", etc.

Infinitive estar __pôr
Eu estive __pus
Tu estiveste __puseste
Ele esteve __pôs
Nós estivemos __pusemos
Vós estivestes __pusestes
Eles estiveram __puseram
Infinitive ir vir
Eu fui vim
Tu foste vieste
Ele foi veio
Nós fomos viemos
Vós fostes viestes
Eles foram vieram

Pretérito Perfeito Composto updated 2018-10-25

Pretérito Perfeito Composto

Here is a tricky verb tense.

This tense will resemble a lot the English present perfect, because it also uses the present tense of the verb "to have" plus the past participle of the main verb.

In Portuguese, however, this structure has another name and another meaning!

It's called "pretérito perfeito composto" (translated literally as: compound preterite perfect).

Although using the analogous structure "present ter" + "past participle" of the main verb, its meaning is not the same.

Whenever you see this construction, remember it talks about a recent repetition, things have been repeating *lately. So, in general translations are like:


Sempre

With this tense, the adverb "sempre" changes its translations.

Since it's about repetition, it becomes "every time":


So, the first question you might be asking yourself is...."how do I translate the English present perfect to Portuguese then"?

Normally, when it's a simple concluded action, you do it with the "pretérito perfeito":

But when it's about something that is true "since" a certain point in the past, then you just use the present tense:

And finally, the verb "to be" and some of the so called "stative verbs" behave differently.

They can in many cases be translated word by word:

One possible explanation for that is that you cannot write things like "have been being".


So, how to understand all that simply?

Just remember: Portuguese "ter + past.participle" always means a "recent repetition". So, if the English sentence means that, you can translate it with the Portuguese "pretérito perfeito composto".

If the English sentence cannot or does not mean a recent repetition, then the Portuguese tense must be changed to fit the true meaning.

Countries updated 2018-10-25

Nationalities

In Portuguese, there are many adjectives for nationalities.

As adjectives, they do decline normally regarding gender and numbers:

Notice that Portuguese does not use capital letters for these, only for country names:

Nouns x Adjectives:

Virtually all of these adjectives can be used as nouns without any change! Just remember these nouns, just like professions, should be inflected as well:

Even when the English language can use uninflected adjectives referring to plural things, Portuguese will keep the inflections:


(1) As usual, the masculine plural form is used for general statements and mixed gender groups.


Cities, Countries, Continents and Articles

In English, most country names use no article, with a few exceptions like "the United States of America" (Os Estados Unidos da América). The same is true for cities and continents.

But in Portuguese, they do! And mostly, the articles are mandatory.

Just like the other nouns, each country has its own gender, and some reject the article. Unfortunately, there is no clear rule for that, except when its name contains an ordinary noun as the main part of it, the article will follow that noun:

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Countries with masculine articles:

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Countries with feminine articles:

(1) In European Portuguese, these can be used without articles when after a preposition.

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Countries that use no article:

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Continents

All continents are feminine and require the article:

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Cities

Most cities use no articles:

But there are a few that use it:

Education updated 2018-10-25

Nouns in context - Brazil

Série:

"Série" is used in schools meaning "grade/year" in English.

It's used only for elementary and middle school grades, which are called "ensino fundamental" in Brazil, having eight to nine grades.

Ano:

"Ano" is also used as "grade", mainly in reference to high school grades or years in college.

High school in Brazil is called "ensino médio", having three grades.

Ano and série may be used interchangeably depending on where people live. To avoid confusion, people might use more complete sentences:

Grau:

Nowadays, "grau" is not used in standard Brazilian education anymore. But before changes, "graus" were used referring to major education levels:

Diploma:

"Diploma" is a document stating your educational level. In English it translates as "degree".

Teste / Prova:

Both "teste" and "prova" are "exams". Some schools may use "teste" for intermediate exams and "prova" for final exams.

Terms:

Verbs: Pluperfect updated 2018-10-25

Pluperfect

"Pluperfect" (literally "more than perfect") is a verb tense that works exactly like the English tense "past perfect".

In Portuguese it is called Pretérito mais-que-perfeito.

Here, we are going to see the Pretérito mais-que-perfeito composto, meaning it's a compound tense (having an auxiliary verb).

The compound version of the tense is the most popular version and its structure and meaning are identical to that of English. (Except that adverbs don't go in between the verbs).

The auxiliary verb used is "ter" in "imperfect past":

Optionally, some people prefer using the verb "haver", there is no difference in meaning, and it might sound more formal:

Conjugation table for "ter" and "haver":

Pretérito Imperfeito Ter Haver
Eu Tinha Havia
Tu Tinhas Havias
Ele(a) / Você Tinha Havia
Nós Tínhamos Havíamos
Vós Tínheis Havíeis
Eles(as) / Vocês Tinham Haviam

* - Notice that conjugations for "eu, ele, ela" and "você" are the same! For that reason, it's highly recommended that the personal pronoun be explicit, even for the "eu" case, unless context is very clear! Otherwise, one would not know who is doing the action due to so many possibilities.


(Advanced) Pretérito mais-que-perfeito

For those who like advanced knowledge, let's talk about the simple version of this tense. This is getting almost forgotten in Portuguese, but it can still be seen in some books. (These conjugations are not the scope of this unit)

Infinitive: Andar Correr Sorrir
Eu Andara Correra Sorrira
Tu Andaras Correras Sorriras
Ele(a) / Você Andara Correra Sorrira
Nós Andáramos Corrêramos Sorríramos
Vós Andáreis Corrêreis Sorríreis
Eles(as) / Vocês Andaram Correram Sorriram

* - Here you can see that for the third person plural this tense matches the "pretérito perfeito". For this reason you might see some additional accepted translations that will be exclusive for this case.

** - Notice also that this is different from future conjugations:

Travel and Transport updated 2018-10-25

Taking a __:

In Portuguese, the most common verb for "taking a bus" and other means of transport is "pegar". Less often the verb "tomar" is possible:

Going by __:

If you're going somewhere "by bus" or another mean, you are going "de ônibus":

"Andar de __":

The verb "andar" can be associated with this expression adding the idea of "riding", "going by", etc.

The exception, when you have no vehicle, is "a pé".

The verb "andar" itself, if not associated with anything, will mostly mean to walk (although having the possibility of more abstract meanings), so "andar" and "andar a pé" means basically the same.

Directions updated 2018-10-25

A few nouns

Direção:

Besides meaning "direction", it is also very often used in expressions indicating "towards" a certain direction:

Valid expressions are "em direção a" or "na direção de". Mixing them is not valid.

With possessives: "em/na minha direção" or "na direção dele".

Direita x Direito:

When they are nouns, one is about directions, the other is about law:

Remember that "direita/direito" can also be adjectives, in which case they will inflect normally:

Orientação:

Although being used for directions, it is more commonly used for "guidance/instructions".

You can ask someone for guidance with this word:

Tráfico x Tráfego:

A very tempting false friend for "traffic" is the word "tráfico", which actually means "trafficking".

Feelings updated 2018-10-25

Feelings you "have"

In Portuguese, some feelings are expressed differently from English.

While English uses "I am ..." and other forms, Portuguese uses some form of possessive sentence.

Except for "certeza", all of them can also accept "sentir":

Hints: - It's natural to use "estar com" as a form of temporary possession in Portuguese. It can be used even with concrete objects: "Estou com seu carro = I have your car (currently, your car is under my possession).

The verb "sentir"

In Portuguese, the verb "sentir" also works a little differently, being a reflexive verb when you feel somehow.

Normally, it takes a direct object just like in English:

But if you feel somehow, you must use the reflexive form of it:

Verbs: Future updated 2018-10-25

So far you've seen the phrasal future with "ir + infinitive".

Now we are going to see the true future conjugations of the verbs, which are more formal and preferred in written texts.

Both versions fit either "will + verb" and "be going to + verb".

Infinitive: Falar Ver Subir
Eu Falarei Verei Subirei
Tu Falarás Verás Subirás
Ele(a) / Você Falará Verá Subirá
Nós Falaremos Veremos Subiremos
Vós Falareis Vereis Subireis
Eles(as) / Vocês Falarão Verão Subirão

Examples:

Sports updated 2018-10-25

Vocabulary

Jogar x Brincar x Tocar

There is a very confusing verb for English speakers when learning Portuguese, and this verb is "to play".

In Portuguese, there are three distinct verbs that translate "to play", each one with its own meaning:

Notice that "jogar" and "tocar" have objects, such as "jogar futebol (play soccer)" and "tocar piano (play the piano)". But "brincar" is intransitive.

Ganhar x Vencer

Both verbs are used for "winning", but notice that you can "win a contest" or "win a prize", there are different meanings.

So, you can:

"Ganhar" is also used for earning money and receiving things:

Dar

The verb dar is very versatile, and sometimes it's used for simply "doing" or "performing" something.

In sports, one can:

Future Subjunctive updated 2018-10-25

Welcome to the subjunctive mood!! :D

Although English has almost completely forgotten the subjunctive moods, they're quite alive and well in Portuguese. Please don't get scared about them :)

The subjunctive mood is used in cases talking about uncertain events, and sometimes because of a specific grammar construction that requires it.

The future subjunctive talks about events we think may happen in the future, mostly as a trigger to something, forming conditional sentences.

It's used mainly with "quando", "se" and "depois que".

Regular conjugations

You may be wondering: It really looks like the infinitive, right? Well, in fact the regular conjugations are identical to the personal infinitive verbs.

Infinitive: ajudar beber abrir
Se eu ajudar beber abrir
Se tu ajudares beberes abrires
Se ele(a) / você ajudar beber abrir
Se nós ajudarmos bebermos abrirmos
Se vós ajudardes beberdes abrirdes
Se eles(as) / vocês ajudarem beberem abrirem

Irregular conjugations

Well, it couldn't be that easy...
Here are some of the main irregular verbs (they are not equal to their personal infinitive forms):

Infinitive: ser estar querer fazer
Se eu for estiver quiser fizer
Se tu fores estiveres quiseres fizeres
Se ele(a) / você for estiver quiser fizer
Se nós formos estivermos quisermos fizermos
Se vós fordes estiverdes quiserdes fizerdes
Se eles(as) / vocês forem estiverem quiserem fizerem

* - The verb "ter" is conjugated exactly like the verb "estar", just without the starting "es".

Verbs: Future Perfect updated 2019-06-04

Futuro do presente composto

In Portuguese, the equivalent tense to "Future Perfect" is called "Futuro do presente composto" (literally "compound future of the present").

This tense is used to say that something will have been or will have happened.

The construction is similar to English, taking future "ter" (will have) and the past participle of the main verb:

So, all you have to do is to understand "ter" future conjugations and pay attention to some irregular past participle endings:

Infinitive: falar ler agir
Eu terei falado terei lido terei agido
Tu terás falado terás lido terás agido
Ele(a) / Você terá falado terá lido terá agido
Nós teremos falado teremos lido teremos agido
Vós tereis falado tereis lido tereis agido
Eles(as) / Vocês terão falado terão lido terão agido

Can one use the phrasal future? (Ex: vai ter + past part.)

In speech, it's common, but many people might consider it wrong in writing. Also, grammar books usually don't even mention this possibility

Medical updated 2018-10-25

"Doer" or "machucar"?

The English verb "to hurt" can have two distinct meanings in Portuguese:

Examples:


Discarding the possessive adjectives??

An interesting feature in Portuguese is the fact that one can choose to simply not use the possessive adjective if it's obvious something belongs to someone. One uses the definite article instead.

The most common case where it happens is about body parts:

But remember: only when it's obvious (something in the sentence states who the owner is). The following sentences would keep the possessive:

Verbs: Subjunctive Present updated 2018-10-25

The Subjunctive mood

Introduction

In Portuguese, there is a mood dedicated to uncertain statements. This mood often confuses English speakers because English barely has this feature.

Even though, English contains subjunctive moods, but they are often ignored or have the same form as the indicative mood.

It's more common to see subjunctive in past in English, especially in "if" sentences:

Here, we are going to see the present subjunctive, which can be found in sentences such as:

The present subjunctive

Portuguese uses the present subjunctive in much more cases than English.

Typical usages of the subjunctive come after certain verbs that express a "possible" result, but not necessarily certain, and also after some conditional keywords.
Mostly, if other keywords are not present, the present subjunctive conjugations will come after "que". You will also notice that conjugation tables for this tense shows conjugations preceded by "que".

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Some verbs asking for the subjunctive

Examples of verbs expressing "hope/doubt"

Sometimes, the subjunctive mood is also used for commands/suggestions when these commands are given through another verb. In some of these cases, English behaves the same way:

Because of this, and also because conjugations are the same, many people confuse subjunctive and imperative moods.

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Keywords asking for the subjunctive

In many cases, these keywords are either conditional keywords or words that state something that has effect onto the present, or that talks about an expected result:


Present subjunctive conjugations

Regular conjugations

Infinitive: Amar Comer Abrir
que eu ame coma abra
que tu ames comas abras
que ele ame coma abra
que nós amemos comamos abramos
que vós ameis comais abrais
que eles amem comam abram

Irregular "ser", "estar" and "ver"

Infinitive: Ser Estar Ver
que eu seja esteja veja
que tu sejas estejas vejas
que ele seja esteja veja
que nós sejamos estejamos vejamos
que vós sejais estejais vejais
que eles sejam estejam vejam

As you may have noticed or read, all these conjugations are identical to the negative imperative conjugations. Nevertheless, that does not mean they are the same thing. Imperative mood is used when giving orders, while the subjunctive is required in certain expressions or by certain desire verbs.

Arts updated 2018-10-25

Pintura x Quadro

The words may overlap their meanings, but:

When the paintings and photos are hanging on the wall, people will mostly refer to them as "quadros".

Also, when talking about paintings from famours painters, "quadro" will be the choice.

Tocar

Again, the English verb "to play" may cause some confusion. Remember:

Verbs: Continuous 2 updated 2018-10-25

Stative verbs

Portuguese doesn't have stative verbs. That means that virtually any verb can be used in the continuous forms.

For that reason, some of the translations may not be as straightforward as we expect:

Abstract Objects IV updated 2018-10-25

Por cause de

A common expression meaning "because of":

Verbs: Conditional updated 2019-02-20

Futuro do pretérito

This lesson is about a particular tense, known in Portuguese as "Futuro do Pretérito" (future of the past).

It gives the verb a meaning that is in most cases equal to that of the auxiliary verb "would". So it's used in conditionals.

The regular conjugations are quite easy, for they don't change the infinitive part of the verb, they only add an extra ending.

Here they go:

Navegar Saber Partir
Eu navegaria saberia partiria
Tu navegarias saberias partirias
Ele(a) / Você navegaria saberia partiria
Nós navegaríamos saberíamos partiríamos
Vós navegaríeis saberíeis partiríeis
Eles(as) / Vocês navegariam saberiam partiriam

Verbs: Conditional Perfect updated 2018-10-25

This conditional form uses "ter" in "Futuro do pretérito" tense + the main verb in past participle.

It's for things that "would have been":

Also, this conjugation is often used for a specific kind of conditional, which works like the English counterpart. In the "if" clause, the subjunctive tense is used:

Lang. If clause Main (would have) clause
(en) If + Had + Past Participle Would have + Past Participle
(pt) Se + Ter (Past Subjunctive) + Past participle Ter (Future of the Past) + Past Participle

Examples:

* - Optionally, it's possible to use "haver" instead of "ter".

An informal option:

There is also the possibility of an informal version using imperfect past, but it may not work if the phrase doesn't contain both clauses:

If the sentence is just a plain sentence without the "if clause", listeners will probably assume the standard imperfect past meaning.


Conjugations for "Ter" and "Haver"

In this skill, there are very little examples using the past subjunctive. These will appear later in the past subjunctive skill. Nevertheless, you can see some conjugations below.

Ter / Haver Fut. do Pretérito Pret. Subj.
Eu Teria / Havia Tivesse / Houvesse
Tu Terias / Havias Tivesses / Houvesses
Ele(a) / Você Teria / Havia Tivesse / Houvesse
Nós Teríamos / Havíamos Tivéssemos / Houvéssemos
Vós Teríeis / Havíeis Tivésseis / Houvésseis
Eles(as) / Vocês Teriam / Haviam Tivessem / Houvessem

Verbs: Modal updated 2018-10-25

Modal verbs in Portuguese work just as they do in English.

They take the conjugations and come before an infinitive verb. The only difference is that they have several conjugations in Portuguese, just like any other verb.

Conjugations in Portuguese should follow their normal meanings, such as:

Some modal verbs

Poder:

"Poder" can often be translated as "can", but it can also mean "to be able to" and "to have permission to", thus being sometimes "can/could", sometimes "may/might" and "be able to".

Dever:

"Dever" can have many shades of meaning, from an obligation to a probability, thus matching "must", "should", "shall", "need to", depending on context.

* - When not a modal verb, "dever" means "to owe".

Precisar:

"Precisar" means "to need" or "to have to".

Verbs: Subjunctive Past updated 2018-10-25

The Past Subjunctive

The past subjunctive talks about actions in the past that are uncertain and also about hypothetical things in general.

In English, you can find past subjunctive in "if clauses":

The conditions for using the past subjunctive are very similar to those for using the present subjunctive. There is just a difference in tenses.

But here, a very important case comes into play: the conditionals!

Conditionals with "if"

One of the most important usages of the past subjunctive is for creating conditionals. You will notice also that the "if" keyword (se) is present in conjugation tables.

Optionally, there is the informal possibility of using the imperfect past in the main clause:

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Some verbs asking for the subjunctive

Examples of verbs expressing "hope/doubt" in past:

Verbs giving orders:

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Keywords asking for the subjunctive

Here too, some keywords will ask for the past subjunctive just like they do in present tense. But now, a very important keyword comes into play: "if"; allowing us to create the most common conditionals. (Note that "if" is present in the conjugation tables for past subjunctive)


Past subjunctive conjugations

In this table there are three regular conjugations (ar, er, ir) and the verbs "ser" and "estar":

Infinitive: Amar Comer Abrir
se eu amasse comesse abrisse
se tu amasses comesses abrisses
se ele amasse comesse abrisse
se nós amássemos comêssemos abríssemos
se vós amásseis comêsseis abrísseis
se eles amassem comessem abrissem

Some irregular verbs

Infinitive: Ser Estar
se eu fosse estivesse
se tu fosses estivesses
se ele fosse estivesse
se nós fôssemos estivéssemos
se vós fôsseis estivésseis
se eles fossem estivessem

* - The conjugations for "ir" are exactly the same as "ser" in this tense.

Infinitive: Ter Haver
se eu tivesse houvesse
se tu tivesses houvesses
se ele tivesse houvesse
se nós tivéssemos houvéssemos
se vós tivésseis houvésseis
se eles tivessem houvessem

Verbs: Past Imperfect 2 updated 2019-10-30

Pretérito imperfeito

"Imperfect"? What does it mean?

Originally, the term "perfect" was used for "completed" actions, although today some "perfect" tenses don't really follow this strictly.

On the other hand, "imperfect" isn't about "conclusions".

In Portuguese, the imperfect past talks about something that "was true" or "was happening" during a certain time period in the past.

It's great for continuous actions in the past, habits and steady states creating contexts: things that "were being", if you allow us to use a "non-standard" English.
While the "pretérito perfeito" (the one you've studied so far) is great for "changing" something from an unconcluded to a concluded state.

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Continuous meanings

In many cases, this tense has a continuous meaning, especially when the "while" idea is present:

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Old habits

Since old habits are things that used to happen, spread along a time period, the "imperfect" tense is also the right form for this:

But is "used to" really the right translation? Well, it's an adaptation to convey the right meaning, since simple past can often be interpreted differently.

The literal translation of "used to" is "costumava" (and its conjugations for other persons)

When "used to" is a good option, "would" can also be a good one. But never with a standard conditional meaning.

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Setting the scenery in past

Because scenery is something that is just there, not changing anything, not acting nor completing actions, "imperfect past" is also the best choice to describe it. The scenery "was just being" while the story happened.

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Comparing

One interesting rule for simple actions is: if you can use English's present perfect, then also use Portuguese's "pretérito perfeito".

Conjugations

Infinitive: Pegar Mover Cumprir
Eu Pegava Movia Cumpria
Tu Pegavas Movias Cumprias
Ele(a) / Você Pegava Movia Cumpria
Nós Pegávamos Movíamos Cumpríamos
Vós Pegáveis Movíeis Cumpríeis
Eles(as) / Vocês Pegavam Moviam Cumpriam

Verbs: Subjunctive Pluperfect updated 2018-10-25

Pretérito mais-que-perfeito do subjuntivo

Following rules similar to the other subjunctive mood tenses, here comes the "pretérito mais-que-perfeito", which is for things that happened before another event in the past. (Or, in the subjunctive case, had the possibility of happening, or was a hypothetical occurrence, etc.)

This tense is formed with the past subjunctive of "ter" plus the main verb in past participle. In many cases, this will match the English form "had happened". (Optionally, "haver" can be used instead)

Conditionals with "if"

The conditionals with this tense can have two types of main clauses:

Examples:

Here, all examples talk about hypothetical situations in the past. The first two, talks about the hypothetical results in the past while the third one talks about the hypothetical result in present.

As the other "futuro do pretérito" conditionals, there is also the informal possibility of using the imperfect past in the main clause:

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Some verbs asking for the subjunctive

Examples of verbs expressing "hope/doubt/belief" in past:

* - The use of "queria" is very common meaning "would like" or "wish", although it literally means "wanted".

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Keywords asking for the subjunctive

Here too, some keywords will ask for the past subjunctive just like they do in present tense. But now, a very important keyword comes into play: "if"; allowing us to create the most common conditionals. (Note that "if" is present in the conjugation tables for past subjunctive)


Past subjunctive conjugations for ter and haver

Infinitive: Ter Haver
se eu tivesse houvesse
se tu tivesses houvesses
se ele(a) / você tivesse houvesse
se nós tivéssemos houvéssemos
se vós tivésseis houvésseis
se eles(as) / vocês tivessem houvessem

Business updated 2018-10-25

A few words

Interesse:

"Interesse" is a false friend in a business/economic context.

In Portuguese, this word is not used as an amount of money one pays as interest. It means only "something one is interested in".

For money interests, the word used is "juros", used almost always in plural:

Fábrica:

"Fábrica" is another false friend. In Portuguese, it means "factory" (a place that produces goods).

For "fabric (material)", use "tecido" instead.

Idioms and Proverbs updated 2021-09-24

Hey everybody!!!

This bonus skill might seem pretty confusing at first. (And it really is :p).

Why is that?? Well....the translations here are definitely not literal. The main purpose of this lesson is not to teach grammar and normal language translations, but to teach how people commonly say things in everyday life.

Since we are talking about idioms and proverbs, each language will have their own way of saying things.

That said, please don't get frustrated if you can't do it right on the first attempts. We hope you have fun!


75 skills with tips and notes
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