Portuguese Contractions

There are 4 important Portuguese contractions that you need to know. This is one of the hardest things for beginners to get the hang of. It took me years to feel confident using contractions. I think that if gender weren’t involved they would be easy to pick up. That said, the contractions used in Portuguese…

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Portuguese possessive pronouns

Mine, Yours, His & Hers The words that we use to convey POSSESSION are pretty simple because all objects are treated as gender-neutral. In Portuguese of course, there are always two options: the masculine and the feminine. These are called possessive pronouns and they are going to test the limits of your patience until you…

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the Present Subjunctive

Using the Present Subjunctive Portuguese uses the Subjunctive mood to indicate something is uncertain to happen or to have occurred. There are 3 different degrees of uncertainty: (1) extremely unlikely, (2) plausible, (3) likely. The Present Subjunctive is used for case (2): actions that are plausible, yet have not yet occurred. Use this tense to talk…

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the Imperfect Indicative

In Portuguese, there are several ways to refer to something that happened in the past, each with varying shades of meaning. Verb tenses! The Past Imperfect – officially called the Imperfect Indicative (o Pretérito Imperfeito), is used when talking about continuous or ongoing action in the past. Something that used to occur or, would always occur….

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por acaso & de propósito

por acaso » by chance Simônimos » inesperadamente, acidentalmente, casualmente, aleatoriamente, arbitrariamente Exemplo: Encontrei meus primos no festival por acaso. Não tínhamos combinado nada. » I met my cousins at the festival by chance. We hadn’t arranged anything. de propósito » on purpose Simônimos » deliberadamente, intencionalmente Exemplo: O propósito da vida é seguir a…

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Without in Portuguese

To say “without stopping” it’s just sem – without- plus the verb (almost any verb) in it’s infinitive form. You can use this format to say things like, sem falar, sem pagar, sem pensar, sem perguntar and so on. Very useful. sem falar = without saying sem pagar = without paying sem pensar = without…

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The Portuguese JEITO

What is the Portuguese JEITO? It’s just an expression: JEITO = way, as in: let’s find a way. It’s somewhat notorious because Brazil has been known as the place where anything is possible. This comes mostly from the recent past in which one could for example, buy their way into a green card, bribe someone…

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Imperfect Subjunctive + Conditional

In the previous post we talked about this verb tense — the imperfect subjunctive, as well. So many of you have asked to see even more examples of this super-useful grammar trick so: aqui estão! (here they are!) the Imperfect Subjunctive is insanely great. Even better with the Conditional! And BTW, only language professors need…

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the Portuguese Subjunctive

The subjunctive mood has been known to break students. Every serious Portuguese student runs straight into it. Some get hurt. Some get scared. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The Portuguese Subjunctive is actually a rose with thorns. It’s a beautiful part of the language that should be embraced and used with style,…

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Assim in Portuguese

Assim is the 90th most used word in the Portuguese language! Assim has two main meanings: Assim in Portuguese = like this, like that I’m like this/that. > Eu sou assim. The verb SER is used because this is a permamnent condition. We’re like this/that > Nós somos assim. I just wanted to show the…

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Qualquer in Portuguese

I’m old enough to remember the lan house. And in Brazil – especially the favelas you can still (it’s 2020) find them! In my early days traveling in Brazil I would always go to the same lan house. I would always go when I knew there would be this one girl working there – but…

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Acabar in Portuguese vs. Acabar de

We’ve written about ACABAR de before — because it’s such a useful combination. When you place a de after acabar, it takes on the meaning of, to have just. ACABAR in Portuguese by itself means: to end, to end-up, to finish. Everyone gets these mixed-up (confundida) ~ That DE makes all the difference! Use ACABAR…

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the Imperfect Subjunctive

Using the Imperfect Subjunctive Portuguese uses the Subjunctive mood to indicate something is uncertain to happen or to have occurred. There are 3 different degrees of uncertainty: (1) extremely unlikely, (2) plausible, (3) likely. The Imperfect Subjunctive is used for case (1): actions that are extremely unlikely to happen or to have happened. If I were…

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Other tenses of TER

Ter in the Future Tense The common way is to use the verb ir as a helper verb (the future tense with ir) Eu vou ter mais tempo amanhã. > I’m going to have more time tomorrow. Ele vai ter que correr. > He’s going to have to run. Você vai ter uma namorada nova….

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te for você

I think this is the best example. It’s so natural. From the new Novela (o Retorno) The scene: Lucas has to spend the night in Unkle Leo’s room. Leo: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) Line-by-line: (1) Eu ensino para você. >> I’ll teach you. (2) Eu vou te ensinar. >> I’m going to teach you….

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Advanced forms of TER

Prerequisite Reading: Portuguese verb TER. Superpowers? Sim, TER has superpowers. Though these are considered advanced-level, any ambitious learner can start using them now! Just keep in mind that the conjugation of TER is very irregular. Let’s start with the most used: The Imperative of Ter You will hear these all_the_time: Tenha um bom dia! >…

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Muito or Muita?

Even I struggle to get this straight. The thing that makes this tricky: In Portuguese, we’re constantly reminding you to get your gender straight. And I’m not talking about your sexual preference here não! It’s a constant struggle to keep word gender correct, certo? Muito or Muita? Minha cerveja está gelada. Meu vinho está gelado….

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What kind? in Portuguese.

We Americans are so lazy. We get away with saying so much with so little. I probably use the word, kind a dozen times every day. But in Brazil, there are several more options used to say, What kind? in Portuguese. What kind of cheese do you want? I like all kinds of science fiction…

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parar de & começar a

What’s so special about the verbs PARAR & COMEÇAR? For starters you’ve probably noticed that you always have to treat these verbs a little differently. For example, you can’t say “I stopped eating sugar” like this: eu parei comer açucar (NÃO!) — you need to include a de like this: I stopped eating sugar >…

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Inviting Yourself

How do you say something like, I’d like to go with you sometime or ask, Can we play with you guys? In Portuguese there are several key verbs that make it easy and clear that you’d like to do something – to participate. Portuguese invitational verbs participar: to participate poder: to be able to, can…

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Waiting, in Portuguese

I found it confusing having two verbs for to wait. ESPERAR AGUARDAR Waiting, in Portuguese – parsing the possibilities What is the difference? When talking about waiting you won’t find a hard rule for either of these verbs. Look at these examples: Eu vou esperar você voltar ao hotel. > I’m going to wait for…

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Boost your Portuguese vocabulary in 3 steps

No amount of “hacking” and optimizing the process of learning Portuguese will get you to fluency without first constructing a foundation. And that foundation has to be made of the most-used words and phrases. This base of vocabulary is the most important ingredient in the recipe for language acquisition. Once this solid base has been acquired, all pathways to learning the language are open.

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perto de

perto de I keep coming back to this subject because so many people ask about it. I’ve posted about Portuguese adverbs of position & place before, but today I just want to review the super-common two: perto de: close to and, longe de: far from It’s obvious why the de is there, right? Brazilians say…

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Porta das Fundos – laugh and learn Portuguese

A student just reminded me of a very cool YouTube comedy channel called Porta dos fundos. Besides being insanely funny, it’s actually funny to non-Brazilians as well (but, for advanced & intermediate learners). Even I find most of the great Brazilian way too hard to laugh at. There are just too many subtle cultural references…

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