Portuguese Articles: the The


The first thing that struck me as wrong with the use of o and a for THE. One letter? I really wanted at least an el or, la. Portuguese Articles (called: definite articles) are actually super-practical. Two immediate and big payoffs: (1) You can use the o and a as it! You can also combine the article with words like em, a and de and say them as one word: contractions (*my post with complete description of how this works).

the The

Things (nouns) are usually preceded by the Portuguese article, the » o, or a:

masculine: the boat » o barco
femenine: the fair » a feira

*See how the gender of the Portuguese article affects the endings of words that follow them!

People & Places

Names of people and places (proper nouns) are almost always preceded by an article: o Brasil, a Sandra.

masculine: Rio de Janeiro » o Rio de Janeiro
femenine: Marissa » a Marissa

it's It!

By "it" we mean either it or, him/her as the examples will illustrate:

Did you turn off the light? » Você desligou a luz? » Você a desligou?
Do you know him? » Você conhece ele? » Você o conhece?
I saw her yesterday. » Eu vi ela ontem. » Eu a vi ontem.

Simple Portuguese Articles in action: o & a

What is a definite article? (Merriam-Webster)