To SER or not to ser.

One of the biggest deals to learn as a beginner is the difference between SER and ESTAR. Let’s forget the differences between the two and just look at ser, and when/how to use it. SER: to be SER is really just to talk about the hard facts. Nothing at all temporal or changing. But don’t…

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Portuguese adverbs & adjectives

Portuguese Adverbs and Adjectives One quick way to instantly increase your vocabulary is to learn the mente ending. This works for words (adverbs) that in English, end in ly. So for example, quickly, easily, mainly, totally, freely, and so on. All you need to remember is that you take the FEMININE version of the adverb…

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A gente » Saying we informally.

One of the many curiosities about the Portuguese language is the fact that there are TWO ways to say “we.” “A gente” can be used almost interchangeably with “nós.” A gente (we) is a colloquial form and is usually used in the spoken language instead of nós (we). Even though it means we, it’s a…

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Você tem?

If you’re just starting to put together your first sentences you need to get the verb TER down pretty well. It’s fundamental. TER is super flexible and you can build lots of really useful sentences around it. Try these out for size: Tenho um problema! * You can skip the “EU” — it’s already clear…

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de férias – on Holiday

To say you’re on holiday in Portuguese it’s, você está de férias. But to say the word holiday, it’s feriado. It’s just like in English when we say Summer holiday or talk about being on holiday. So it’s: on holiday = de férias holiday = feriado Simple, but confusing. Practice these: on holiday (de férias) Eu estou de férias. ➜ I’m…

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O Código de Ipanema

The word code is código. To say QR code it’s: código QR. ‘QR code’ is that new square mosaic black & white pattern that’s starting to appear everywhere — magazines, products and now — the sidewalk in Ipanema (Rio de Janeiro). They are taking over old-fashioned barcodes because they can be read by smartphones and…

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Mal posso esperar!

I can hardly wait! I found it really difficult to learn how to say things like, ‘barely’, ‘hardly’, and ‘scarcely’ — staples of english communication 😉 I would always come up with, for example: ‘não posso esperar’ — which translates quite literally to ‘I am unable to wait’ To express the true meaning of hardly…

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I’ve been working

Eu tenho trabalhado, e você? And, what about you, what have you been up to? In english, the ‘been’ is a way of signaling that you’re talking about the past, about something that is ongoing.  If you say for example. ‘Eu trabalhei’ it means that you worked and that it’s done. To talk about some action…

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Ordering in Portuguese

I had a tough time getting used to the way Brazilians order things – at restaurants, pharmacies, hotels – wherever. For some reason, I was expecting a little more politeness in the language – ESPECIALLY when ordering in Portuguese. I’d like a large iced-coffee, please In Brazil you are going to say, Give me a…

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Expect the Unexpected.

When Brazilians want to say that something unexpected came up, they do it like this: “Aconteceu um imprevisto!” Which just seems strange for two reasons: 1) The verb is at the very start of the phrase; and 2) where is the ‘came up’ part? (from Semantica Series 2: advanced dialogs) A beginner would try and…

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Te amo Brazilian Portuguese!

It’s a little strange to hear some one that you hardly know sending you “hugs & kisses” after a brief phone conversation. But, that is how it goes here in Brazil. A man commonly ends a phone or email conversation with “abraço” (hug). A woman will often say “beijos” or call you “querido/a” (darling). This…

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