alguma coisa – something in Portuguese

In English it’s pretty simple: something or nothing. The Portuguese options are (surprise) numerous and confusing. Let’s break-these-down and make these more user-friendly. You’ve learned alguma coisa, right? And that’s clear: alguma (some) coisa (thing) = something. But you rarely hear Brazilians say that. There are other options they favor – most depend on what…

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Dia Internacional do Samba

We all have our own unsolved mysteries about SAMBA, right? Do you really have to go to a samba school to learn samba? Is there some store where you buy those outfits? Can men samba too? Does it mean you’re gay if you do? It’s just like salsa – but with less clothing? It just…

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primeiro, primeira in Portuguese

Intermediate Think of all the ways we use the word, first. It’s the first building on the right. We wanted to talk to you first. I’m always first in line. I liked the first album better. Primeiro, primeira in Portuguese (first) can take the meaning of before as well as literally: the first. The unusual…

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Bêbado

There’s this perception that Brazilians enjoy a drink. Verdade ou mito? VERDADE. It’s the weather. Imagine if all the skanky bars in your town were open air, tables spilling out onto the sidewalk where you could instantly see smiling people with cold drinks. I bet you’d stop by at least once in a while. That’s…

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PODER in Portuguese

PODER in Portuguese Surely one of the most powerful verbs. Nothing happens without it. Why then you ask, does it have to be so tricky? It doesn’t have to be. Let’s de-construct poder by looking at how it’s most commonly used. Standard use in the simple present tense looks like this. Can you go? >>…

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Você sabe onde fica? – in Portuguese.

Have you decided what will be the first real sentence you try to speak? “Bom dia” and “Tudo bem” don’t count. Something useful. Something that will help you on your travels in Brazil and start a simple conversation. For me it was this: Você sabe onde fica…? Perfect, right? >> “Where is whatever (located)?” This…

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melhor and melhorar

Most verbs have various related incarnations as nouns, adjectives, adverbs etc. MELHOR and MELHORAR are super-used words/verbs but also causes big confusion – I think just because these are (1) hard to pronounce, and (2) have so many similar sounding variations. Melhor and melhorar can be used in different ways to express: improve, improvement, improving,…

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TO THINK in Portuguese

It’s confusing to say TO THINK in Portuguese. That’s mostly because there are two verbs for it: PENSAR & ACHAR. Let’s clear up the confusion with examples. ACHAR or PENSAR? :: TO THINK in Portuguese Most books will tell you that it’s Ok to use either. That may be grammatically correct, but it does not…

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mais in Portuguese

Mais (more) finds it’s way into many expressions, always assuming the role of saying most or, more. Let’s look at one of the most useful ways mais in Portuguese can say things like: prettier, heavier, younger and etc. (ie, as an adjective). Examples of mais to express most can be found in this other post….

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Portuguese preposition de

The Portuguese preposition de shows up in many different places. Now, readers of this blog know that I HATE to dig into grammar-speak unless it’s really necessary to move you into Portuguese fluency. So, I won’t. But, let me just say that it’s worth being said that a preposition is a word that ties others…

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tudo vs. todo

Todo mundo: everyone gets confused over these two common words. Actually, they’re called indefinite pronouns. Officially, their job is to “represent either count nouns or noncount nouns”. What?! These are just the words that convey: all, every, entire etc. The confusion stems from the fact that tudo sounds a lot like todo. To keep them…

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Portuguese verb DAR – 7 ways to use it

We’ve gotten several requests to explain and show how the portuguese verb dar can be used. This is one of those verbs like ficar or, pegar that can change their meaning depending on the context. I remember feeling “deceived” and a bit mad when it dawned on me that people were using verbs that I…

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de novo – in Portuguese

There are so many different ways to express again/another time that it can get confusing. Let’s focus on the four most common ways that Brazilians say one more time. In order: (1) de novo (2) mais uma vez (3) outra vez (4) novamente Can we just use any of these in all situations? Sim… quase….

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Portuguese Pronunciation – lh

The LH in the middle of a word is one of the trickiest pronunciations. Really though, it’s not that hard. You just need to remember to half-pronounce the ‘L’. So, it’s not trabayar it’s, trabaLHar. Feel yourself saying the L. But don’t dwell on it. As soon as you feel the L continue right into…

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Quem é? & Qual é?

It’s often really confusing to understand how Brazilians say who and which. Quem é? Who is it? That’s what you say before opening the door or when a stranger calls on the telephone. Simple. But what about the other ways they use who? Let’s look at some very common examples. É de quem? Who’s it…

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