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Portuguese Adverbs: 100+ Adverbs to Dominate the Language

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When learning a new language, vocabulary can be a problem. But using the different “tools” to form coherent sentences can also be a really difficult feat. Verbs and their multiple forms, adjectives that make the sentences more colorful, and…adverbs.

Portuguese adverbs can give verbs power and intensity. Using them correctly will allow the speaker to communicate complex details, a sense of time, and much more abstract information.

Portuguese is a tough language, no doubt. But with this list of 100+ adverbs, we’ll not only help you learn about adverbs in Portuguese vocabulary, but we’ll also show you how to more clearly express ideas and give descriptions.

student looking focused

After some practice, you’ll be able to naturally incorporate Portuguese adverbs into your conversations and writing. This will help you communicate more easily and even add some style!

Let’s learn about adverbs in Portuguese grammar.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. How to Identify Adverbs in Portuguese
  2. Placement of Portuguese Adverbs in a Sentence
  3. Portuguese Adverbs of Manner
  4. Portuguese Adverbs of Intensity
  5. Portuguese Adverbs of Denial
  6. Portuguese Adverbs of Doubt
  7. Portuguese Adverbs of Time
  8. Portuguese Adverbs of Place
  9. “Useless” Adverbs
  10. The Case of Inho in Portuguese Adverbs
  11. Comparisons and Superlatives
  12. Conclusion

1. How to Identify Adverbs in Portuguese

Hopefully, the sentences we’ll study will give you some insight into Portuguese adverbs. Still, you may notice that this class of words can be very confusing to identify, since they’re somewhat more abstract than adjectives.

Indeed, some adverbs feel like they’re in a grammatical threshold of words. This impression is captured in Brazilian grammarian Evanildo Bechara’s interesting definition of adverbs:

It is the expression that denotes a state (of place, time, mode, intensity, condition etc.) and performs the function of an adverbial adjunctive in the sentence. (…) It constitutes of a word of nominal or pronominal nature (…)

This definition provides a pretty solid base to help you learn about adverbs in Portuguese grammar. It’s interesting because it exposes not only the function of adverbs, but also their “root.”

They “play the part” of pronouns and nouns in a phrase and intensify certain aspects of verbs at the same time.

Man working on the train

A key tip to identify nominal adverbs is that many of them are formed by adjectives + the -mente suffix. The -mente suffix corresponds to the ending “-ly” in some English adverbs, such as “quickly.”

Here are some examples:

  • Rapidamente (rápida + mente): “Fast”
  • Pessimamente (péssima + mente): “Nastily”
  • Otimamente (ótima + mente): “Excellently”

Please note that the nominal adverbs usually carry the feminine form of the adjectives (rápida instead of rápido, for instance). The items above are all adverbs of manner (see more examples of this type below).

On the other hand, pronominal adverbs are harder to detect. They don’t have a “formula.”

A good way to identify them is to know their main functions:

  • Demonstrative: Aqui, acolá, ,
  • Relative: Onde, quando, em que, como
  • Interrogative: Onde? Quando? Como? Por quê?
  • Indefinite: Muito, pouco, que

Let’s look at some more essential information about Portuguese language adverbs before moving on to our list.

2. Placement of Portuguese Adverbs in a Sentence

Top verbs

Portuguese is a quirky language, and rules always have tons of exceptions. To simplify, adverbs modify verbs and are normally positioned after the verbs. For example:

  • Eu gosto de ir naquele restaurante atrás da rua.

“I like to go to that restaurant behind the street.”

  • Talvez eu queira ir naquele restaurante atrás da rua.

“Perhaps I’d like to go to that restaurant behind the street.”

Portuguese adverbs can be placed anywhere in a sentence, as they don’t have a typical position. But it should be noticeable if an adverb doesn’t concord with the verb.

But let’s keep things simple for now, so that you can move forward in learning Portuguese. For now, just keep in mind that you’ll generally find adverbs at the end of a sentence, and that they modify the verb. 

Now, let’s finally take a look at our Portuguese adverbs list with examples!

3. Portuguese Adverbs of Manner

It’s interesting to notice that whereas many adjectives in English can also be used as adverbs (fast, slow, just, ugly, cowardly, late, low), this doesn’t usually happen with Portuguese adverbs of manner. When it does happen, it’s usually in an informal context.

  1. Bem (“Well”)
  2. Mal (“Badly”)
  3. Assim (“Like this”)
  4. Pior (“Worse”)
  5. Melhor (“Better”)
  6.  Depressa (“Fast”)
  7. Vagarosamente (“Slow”)
  8. À toa (“For nothing”)
  9. Às pressas (“In a hurry”)
  10. À vontade (“Comfortably”)
  11. Rapidamente (“Quickly”)
  12. Calmamente (“Calmly”)
  13. Apenas (“Just”)
  14. Infelizmente (“Unfortunately”)
  15. Realmente (“Indeed”)
  16. Igualmente (“Likewise”)
  17. Enquanto isso (“Meanwhile”)

Here are a couple of example sentences using some of the Portuguese adverbs above:

  • Infelizmente, ela não conseguiu comprar novas calças de veludo.

“Unfortunately, she didn’t manage to buy new velvet trousers.”

  • Seria melhor resolver esta questão calmamente.

“It would be better to calmly solve this question.”

4. Portuguese Adverbs of Intensity

This class of Portuguese adverbs may demand more attention from the learner than others. Adverbs of intensity are likely to combine with other adverbs, since they’re often used for comparative purposes.

woman writing

Also, they present the few cases in which adverbs in European Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese differ. Read more about these variations later in this article.

  1. Muito (“Many”)
  2. Pouco (“Little”)
  3. Bastante (“Enough”)
  4. Demais (“Too much”)
  5. Tão (“So”)
  6. Tanto (“So much”)
  7. Com frequência (“Often”)
  8. Ele diz que tem trabalho demais.

“He says he’s been working too much.”

  1. Homero toca violão com frequência.

“Homero often plays the guitar.”

5. Portuguese Adverbs of Denial

Our next set of Portuguese adverbs are those of denial. These are adverbs frequently used when making a negative statement or denying something. 

  1. Não (“No”)
  2. Absolutamente (“Absolutely”)
  3. Nada (“Nothing”)
  4. Tampouco (“Neither”)
  5. Nem (“Nor”)
  6. Nunca (“Never”)
  7. De modo algum (“Not at all”)
  8. De forma alguma (“Not at all”)
  9. Porém (“However”)
  10. Eu nunca voei de asa-delta, porém não descarto possibilidades futuras.

“I have never flown with a hang-glider. However, I don’t rule out future possibilities.”

  1. Não servimos mingau aqui.

“We don’t serve oatmeal here.”

6. Portuguese Adverbs of Doubt

  1. Talvez (“Maybe”)
  2. Possivelmente (“Possibly”)
  3. Provavelmente (“Probably”)
  4. Quiçá (“Perhaps”)
  5. Acaso (“In case of”)
  6. Porventura (“Perhaps”)
  7. Provavelmente o casal saia cedo da festa.

“The couple will probably leave the party early.”

  1. Acaso queiras comprar o disco, posso reservá-lo.

“In case you want to buy the music record, I can save it for you.”

7. Portuguese Adverbs of Time

  1. Agora (“Now”)
  2. Hoje (“Today”)
  3. Ontem (“Yesterday”)
  4. Cedo (“Early”)
  5. Tarde (“Late”)
  6. À tarde (“In the afternoon”)
  7. À noite (“In the night”)
  8. (“Already”)
  9. No dia seguinte (“On the next day”)
  10. Amanhã (“Tomorrow”)
  11.  De manhã (“In the morning”)
  12. Jamais (“Never”)
  13. Nunca (“Never”)
  14. Sempre (“Always”)
  15. Antes (“Before”)
  16. Dantes (“Before”)
  17. Depois (“After”)
  18. Durante (“During”)
  19. Brevemente (“Briefly”)
  20. De repente (“Suddenly”)
  21. De vez em quando (“Once in a while”)
  22. Às vezes (“Sometimes”)
  23. Imediatamente (“Immediately”)
  24. Logo (“Soon”)
  25. Primeiro (“First”)
  26. Outrora (“Once”)
  27. Cedo (“Soon”)
  28. Ainda (“Still”)
  29. Antigamente (“In the old days”)
  30. Doravante (“Hereafter”)
  31. Então (“So”)
  32. Ora (“Well”)
  33. Enfim (“Finally”)
  34. Afinal (“After all”)
  35. Constantemente (“Constantly”)
  36. Primeiramente (“Primarily”)
  37. Provisoriamente (“Provisionally”)
  38. Sucessivamente (“Successively”)
  39. Atualmente (“Currently”)
  40. Finalmente (“Finally”)
  41. Postumamente (“Posthumously”)
  42. Você tem que tomar esta decisão mais cedo ou mais tarde.

“You need to make this decision sooner or later.”

  1. Atualmente tudo anda tão cinza.

“Currently, everything feels so gray.”

More essential verbs

8. Portuguese Adverbs of Place

  1. Aqui (“Here”)
  2. Ali (“There”)
  3. Abaixo (“Below”)
  4. Acima (“Above”)
  5. (“Over there”)
  6. Acolá (“There”)
  7. Perto (“Near”)
  8. Longe (“Far”)
  9. Atrás (“Behind”)
  10. (“There”)
  11. (“Here”)
  12. Dentro (“Inside”)
  13. Fora (“Outside”)
  14. Além (“Beyond”)
  15. Adiante (“Forward”)
  16. Distante (“Distant”)
  17. Em cima (“On”)
  18. Acima (“Above”)
  19. Ao lado (“Beside that”)
  20. À direita (“To the right”)
  21. À esquerda (“To the left”)
  22. Em algum lugar (“Somewhere”)
  • Em algum lugar perto daqui há uma área para piqueniques.

“Somewhere nearby, there’s an area for picnics.”

  • Odeio quando falam para eu “pensar fora da caixa.”

“I hate it when they tell me to ‘think outside the box.’”

9. “Useless” Adverbs

There are cases in which it’s more difficult to learn about adverbs in Portuguese grammar intuitively. This is the case with adverbs used as an expressive particle.

This type of particle is an adverb that doesn’t have a real semantic value—it just emphasizes the tone of a piece of information within a phrase. This effect sometimes gets lost in translation:

1) Eu não sei!

2) Eu sei !

Sentence 1 literally means “I don’t know.”

Sentence 2, though, has no literal translation. A quick analysis might confuse a foreign speaker, because usually works as an adverb of place. Additionally, the sentence holds no explicit adverb of denial or any sign of denial whatsoever. A literal translation of the sentence would result in “I know there!”

The true translation would have to employ some analogic resource to recreate the expressive particle. Something along the lines of “I have no clue!” or “The heck I know!”

Here are other useful examples to learn about adverbs in Portuguese sentences. The expressive adverb is in bold. They’re followed by their literal and “correct” translations:

  • Vejam que coisa! 
    • : typically equivalent to “only”

Bad translation: “Look only what thing!”

Note: que coisa is also an idiomatic expression in Portuguese.

Good translation: “Well, look at that!”

  • Oh! Que saudade que eu tenho! 
    • que: sometimes equivalent to “which” or “how”

Bad translation: “Oh! How I long which I have!”

Good translation: “Oh! How I long for that/him/her!”

10. The Case of Inho in Portuguese Adverbs

Another tip that will help you avoid a lot of suffering is to learn how to use the -inho suffix.

This diminutive form is largely used in Portuguese-speaking countries in informal contexts, and its meaning may vary.

man writing in a journal

When used with adjectives, the meaning of this diminutive will be easier to figure out, even if it may sound absurd—as in the case of azulzinho (“little blue”).

In the case of adverbs, the oddness of inho can escalate and achieve bizarre levels of confusion. Consider the following sentence:

  • Ela saiu agorinha.

Literally, “She went out little now.”

What you need to know is that when added to adverbs, inho will work as a superlative in the phrase. So, Ela saiu agorinha corresponds roughly to “She went out right now.” Here’s another opportunity to learn about adverbs in Portuguese sentences—this time, with the use of inho

  • É bom andar devagarinho.

“To walk really slow is a good thing.” or “It is a good thing to take it easy.”

  • Ele acordava cedinho e só voltava à noitinha.

“He’d wake up very early and would only come back late in the night.”

There’s also a classic use of inho in European Portuguese adverbs:

  • Obrigadinho!

“Thank you very much!”

11. Comparisons and Superlatives

Now that we’ve gone through the inho effect, let’s move on.

Adverbs can “change” adjectives sometimes. This is the case with absolute analytic superlatives and relative superlatives.

Absolute analytic superlatives are formed by placing adverbs of intensity (muito, bastante, pouco) before the adjective to intensify its idea.

Example:

“The food is very hot.”

The relative superlative combines a defined noun, an adverb, and an adjective to highlight a quality of someone or something at its highest level. 

For instance:

  • Este carro é o mais feio que eu já vi

“This car is the ugliest I’ve ever seen.”

In the latter type of superlative, there’s a noticeable difference between the adverbs in European Portuguese and the Brazilian Portuguese adverbs. The forms “the biggest” and “the smallest” follow the rule for this superlative in Portugal, while they’re irregular in Brazil.

  • Portugal: O mais grande 
  • Brazil: O maior
  • Portugal: O mais pequeno 
  • Brazil: O menor

12. Conclusion

This collection of words and tips of various types will hopefully be useful to you while you learn about adverbs in Portuguese. But this is just a glimpse of a huge amount of material available online.

PortuguesePod101 offers many resources for students to learn about adverbs in Portuguese sentences, and much more, in a simple and fun way! Remember to continue practicing and studying all the material you can; it will pay off.

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about using Portuguese adverbs now. Are there any adverbs in Portuguese you still want to know? We look forward to hearing from you!

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The Portuguese Conjugation Guide for Beginners

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Learning about verbs is a crucial step when studying another language. They open up so many possibilities!

With verbs, you can tell stories, understand what’s on the news today, give and follow orders, and imagine the future. Pretty much every interaction needs verbs. But just knowing the verbs by themselves doesn’t do the job. We need to modify them a bit so they can express things like time, the number of people performing an action, and mood. 

That means it’s time to explore the ins and outs of Portuguese conjugation. 

The all-important topic of conjugation is like the spice that brings out the flavors of the Portuguese language. By learning it, you’ll be able to talk about things that have happened, things that could happen, things that will definitely happen, things that are happening…you get the idea. 

group of friends chatting over drinks

Conjugation allows you to tell amazing stories!

Portuguese verb conjugation is a vast world of rules and exceptions. Take it slow and, most importantly, practice a lot. Read, listen to native speakers in conversations, and talk whenever possible. That’s how you’ll really come to understand Portuguese conjugation. 

In this article, we’ll examine how verbs are modified depending on person, number, mood, tense, and voice. It’s a long list, but there are some conjugations that are much more widely used than others, so don’t worry!

Have you noticed that we just mentioned verbs so far? Don’t let this fool you: adjectives and adverbs also have to be modified depending on the word they relate to. This is called agreement. This happens when adjectives and adverbs are changed in order to agree in number (singular or plural) and gender (feminine or masculine). We won’t dive too deep into the nitty-gritty of that, but this article will cover a few examples.

Ready to get familiar with some new rules? Let’s make this ride as enjoyable as possible, with some handy Portuguese conjugation tables for you to study. By the end of this article, you’ll better understand how our rebel irregular verbs and friendly regular verbs behave. In addition, you’ll get plenty of practice and exposure with examples and a Portuguese conjugation quiz to test yourself.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. The Three Verb Ending Groups
  2. What Affects Conjugation
  3. Conjugation Charts
  4. Putting Conjugation to the Test
  5. Continue Learning More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

1. The Three Verb Ending Groups

Top verbs

If you read our article on the 100 most common Portuguese verbs, you’re already familiar with the verb endings. As a refresher, there are three main Portuguese verb groups:

  • Verbs ending in -AR
  • Verbs ending in -ER
  • Verbs ending in -IR

Knowing these verb endings and how they conjugate is useful, because pretty much all regular verbs within each group behave in the same way. The stem of the verb remains the same, and the endings all do their thing—following the same pattern! 

This means you can learn by heart one verb from each group, and that will serve as a guide on how to conjugate every other regular verb in Portuguese.

2. What Affects Conjugation

More essential verbs

As we said before, verbs can change depending on several factors, like person, number, mood, tense, and voice. In order to keep everything under control, let’s break it down. Shall we?

1 – Person and Number

In Portuguese conjugation, verbs change for each person in the sentence. We can divide the persons into two groups based on the number, which is either singular or plural. 

The table below shows all of the existing persons in Portuguese.

1st person singularEu“I”
2nd person singularTu“You”
3rd person singularVocê / Ele / Ela“You” / “He” / “She”
1st person pluralNós“We”
2nd person pluralVós“You”
3rd person pluralVocês / Eles / Elas“You” (plural) / “They” (m.) / “They” (f.)

Although there are six persons to learn, in Brazilian Portuguese you only need to focus on four: 

  • Eu (“I”)
  • Você / Ele / Ela (“You” and “He/She,” which conjugate in the same way)
  • Nós (“We”)
  • Vocês / Eles / Elas (“You” in the plural, “they” masculine, “they” feminine)

You might have noticed that você and vocês are both second person pronouns, as they translate to “you” (singular and plural, respectively). However, they use the third person conjugation. For this reason, in this article, você is grouped with ele/ela. Similarly, vocês is grouped with eles/elas.

Regional Differences
Tu is also used in some parts of Brazil. In some places, it’s used with the “correct” conjugation, while in others, tu is conjugated as a third person singular pronoun (as você). For this reason, we suggest that you learn how to recognize it, but don’t worry too much about using it. Você will be understood regardless of the region of Brazil you’re in.
In Portugal, however, tu is widely used in informal situations, while você is formal but very rarely used.

2 – Mood

Another thing you need to know: Portuguese verbs are moody. What we mean is that verbs are divided into moods (also called modes). According to Portuguese verb conjugation rules, the verbs can be conjugated in each of the different modes, and hence, convey a different mood. The existing modes are:

  • The Indicative mode, which indicates a fact. 

Example: Eu comi. (“I ate.”) 

  • The Subjunctive mode, which expresses a possible action, a wish, or something that we’re not sure about. It always needs an adverb, another verb, or other particles that help make sense of it. 

Example: Talvez eu coma. (“Maybe I will eat.”)

Example: Fale com ele. (“[You] talk to him.”) 

  • The Conditional mode, which indicates what one could, would, or should do. Some grammar books classify the conditional as part of the indicative mode. 

Example: Eu falaria com ele. (“I would talk to him.”)

3 – Tenses

Tenses refer to the moment in time when the action conveyed by the verbs occur. Each of the modes we saw above has different tenses. 

In Portuguese, some tenses are simple and some are compound. Compound tenses use another verb, called an auxiliary, alongside the main verb. 

There are a lot of tenses to learn—and they often are nightmare topics for Brazilian children in school. But there is some good news! In day-to-day life, you’ll probably stick to just a handful of them. Another piece of good news is that there’s often more than one way to say what you want. That means you can use the tenses that you’re more comfortable with. 

For example, to talk about the future in the indicative mode, you can use the simple future or the compound future. The compound is much more common and, in our opinion, easier to learn. 

  • Simple future: Comeremos cedo hoje. (“We will eat early today.”)
  • Compound future: Nós vamos comer cedo hoje. (“We are going to eat early today.”)

The verb ir is the auxiliary verb in the compound future tense. It’s a verb that you will inevitably learn to conjugate, since it’s so commonly used. Then, by using the compound future form, you don’t have to learn the individual future conjugation for each action verb. Instead, pair the conjugated auxiliary verb with the infinitive form of the main verb. 

The same applies to the pluperfect tense. The compound pluperfect is formed with the auxiliary verb ter (“to have”), and you can use it instead of the simple pluperfect. The compound pluperfect is much more common than the simple form, which is extremely rare in Brazilian Portuguese.

  • Simple pluperfect: Ela vendera o carro. (“She had sold the car.”)
  • Compound pluperfect: Ela tinha vendido o carro. (“She had sold the car.”)

Here are all the basic tenses and moods:

IndicativePresente (“Simple Present”)
Pretérito Perfeito (“Simple Past”)
Pretérito Imperfeito (“Past Imperfect”)
Pretérito Mais-que-perfeito (“Past Pluperfect”)
Futuro do Presente (“Simple Future”)
Conditional
SubjunctivePresente (“Present Subjunctive”)
Pretérito Imperfeito (“Imperfect Subjunctive”)
Futuro (“Future Subjunctive”)
Imperative

In addition to the tenses above, we have some other verb forms that you should be familiar with:

  • The infinitive is the most basic form of a verb, without any conjugation. You might see it coupled with auxiliary verbs. 

Example: Eu vou dançar muito! (“I will dance a lot!”)

  • The past participle is a verb form that can be used with auxiliary verbs to form compound past tenses.

Example: ver → visto (“to see” → “seen”)

Você tem visto seu irmão? (“Have you seen your brother?”)

  • The gerund form, which is very common in Brazil, is the equivalent of the “-ing” ending in English.

Example: estudar → estudando (“to study” → “studying”)

Elas estão estudando inglês. (“They are studying English.”) [f.]

4 – Voices

Finally, conjugation in Portuguese also depends on the two voices that exist in Portuguese: active and passive. 

Use the active voice conjugation when the subject performs the action.

  • Ana serviu o jantar. (“Ana served dinner.”)

Use the passive voice conjugation when the action happens to the subject. In this case, we use the past participle.

  • O jantar foi servido pela Ana. (“Dinner was served by Ana.”)
woman giving a toast

A noiva fez um brinde. (“The bride made a toast.”)

3. Conjugation Charts

Take a deep breath, the theoretical part is behind us. Now, let’s make everything a bit more clear by looking at the actual conjugation and real-life examples. 

In this section, we’ll see the Portuguese verb conjugation for all of the simple tenses of the indicative and subjunctive, as well as for the imperative and conditional forms. By becoming familiar with the simple conjugations now, you’ll be able to conjugate the compound forms later on.

Also, remember what we said earlier: not all tenses and persons are as common in Brazilian Portuguese. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

  • Don’t worry too much about the conjugations for tu and vós.
  • Same applies to the pluperfect tense. 
  • The future tense can also be overlooked for now, if you prefer using the compound future tense.

Be aware that they exist, but you probably won’t need them in daily interactions!

To ease our way into the examples, we’ll begin with the regular verbs. Remember the main idea behind conjugating regular verbs: the stem remains the same, and the ending will be modified. Then, use the following examples to spot the repeating patterns.

1- AR verbs

The first verbal group includes verbs such as:

  • Cantar (“To sing”)
  • Falar (“To talk,” “To say”)
  • Andar (“To walk”)
  • Deitar (“To lay”)
  • Amar (“To love”)
  • Gostar (“To like”)

Falar (“To talk”)

EuTuVocê / Ele / ElaNósVósVocês / Eles / Elas
IndicativePresentfalofalasfalafalamosfalaisfalam
Simple Pastfaleifalastefaloufalamosfalastesfalaram
Imperfectfalavafalavasfalavafalávamosaláveisfalavam
Pluperfectfalarafalarasfalarafaláramosfaláreisfalaram
Futurefalareifalarásfalaráfalaremosfalareisfalarão
Conditionalfalariafalariasfalariafalaríamosfalaríeisfalariam
SubjunctivePresentfalefalesfalefalemosfaleisfalem
Imperfectfalassefalassesfalassefalássemosfalásseisfalassem
Futurefalarfalaresfalarfalarmosfalardesfalarem
Imperativefalafalefalemosfalaifalem
Past participlefalado
Gerundfalando

Examples:

  • Nós cantamos em uma banda de MPB. 

“We sing in a Popular Brazilian Music band.”

  • Os professores falaram que não podemos mudar o dia da aula. 

“The teachers said we couldn’t change the class day.”

  • Espero que minha namorada ame este presente. 

“I hope my girlfriend loves this gift.”

  • Seus primos acordariam muito tarde sem o despertador. 

“Your cousins would wake up very late without the alarm clock.”

  • Se eu andasse até o trabalho todos os dias, estaria em forma. 

“If I walked to work every day, I’d be in shape.”

  • As novas vizinhas estão gostando muito do bairro. 

“The new neighbors are liking the neighborhood a lot.”

Notice the way the adjective novo (“new”) has been modified in the last example. In order to agree with the noun vizinhas, which is plural and feminine, the adjective has to be plural and feminine as well. 
This vocabulary list is a great resource if you want to refresh your memory and practice how to pronounce the most common Portuguese adjectives.

2- ER verbs

The second Portuguese verbal group includes verbs like:

  • Beber (“To drink”)
  • Comer (“To eat”)
  • Viver (“To live”)
  • Correr (“To run”)
  • Escrever (“To write”)
  • Aprender (“To learn”)

Comer (“To eat”)

Examples:

  • Eu comeria todo este bolo delicioso, mas tenho que dividir. 

“I would eat all of this delicious cake, but I have to share it.”

  • Se eles bebessem mais água, não teríam este problema. 

“If they drank more water, they wouldn’t have this problem.” 

[In this case, “they” is in the masculine form.]

  • Corra para não perder o ônibus! 

“Run so you don’t miss the bus!”

  • Nós vamos escrever um livro juntos. / Nós escreveremos um livro juntos. 

“We are going to write a book together.”

  • Você aprendia inglês na escola? 

“Did you use to learn English in school?”

  • Quando ela viver sozinha, vai ver como é difícil! 

“When she lives by herself, she will see how hard it is!”

3- IR verbs

A few verbs in the third and final Portuguese verbal group are:

  • Partir (“To leave,” “To break”)
  • Abrir (“To open”)
  • Dormir (“To sleep”)
  • Assistir (“To watch”)
  • Decidir (“To decide”)
  • Confundir (“To confuse”)

Abrir (“To open”)

The past participle for this verb is irregular. If we take a couple of other examples from the third group, we can see how it differs:
Dormir → dormido (“Sleep” → “slept”)Partir → partido (“Break” → “broken”)Decidir → decidido (“Decide” → “decided”)

Here are some examples of sentences using the third group verbs:

  • Abram os presente pequenos primeiro! 

“Open the small gifts first!”

  • O bebê dormia muito pouco. 

“The baby slept too little.”

  • Vamos assistir esta série hoje. / Assistiremos esta série hoje. 

“We are going to watch this TV show today.”

  • Quando eles decidirem, vão nos ligar. 

“When they decide, they will call us.”

[masculine]

  • Se eu confundisse os nomes, perdia pontos no jogo. 

“If I confused the names, I lost points in the game.”

two old ladies celebrating a birthday together

Minhas avós comemoraram juntas. (“My grandmothers celebrated together.”)

4 – The Most Important Irregular Verbs

As much as we love the regular verbs, we have to devote some time to learning the irregular ones. They are everywhere in Portuguese—and they’re also very useful! 

Here are Portuguese conjugation charts for the four most important irregular verbs, which also act as auxiliary verbs: ser, estar, ir, and ter.

Ser (“To be,” permanent)

Ser is an auxiliary verb when a sentence is in the passive voice, as you can see in the last example.

Examples:

  • Eu serei a pessoa mais velha na festa. / Eu vou ser a pessoa mais velha na festa. 

“I will be the oldest person at the party.”

  • Vocês são engraçados! 

“You are funny!”

  • Sua mãe sempre foi a melhor professora. 

“Your mom was always the best teacher.”

  • Já sabe, se for no Brasil, me avisa. 

“You know already, if you go to Brazil, tell me.”

  • Mesmo que eles fossem mais rápidos, não chegariam a tempo. 

“Even if they were faster, they wouldn’t arrive in time.”

[“they” is masculine]

  • O ator foi reconhecido no supermercado. 

“The actor was recognized in the supermarket.”

Estar (“To be,” impermanent)

Estar is an auxiliary verb in all of the continuous tenses. In other words, when you want to say you “were doing” or “are doing” something, use estar as the auxiliary verb alongside the main verb.

Examples:

  • O policial estava dirigindo muito devagar

“The police officer was driving too slow.”

  • Meus pais estiveram aqui ontem. 

“My parents were here yesterday.”

  • Eu estaria na praia, se pudesse. 

“I would be at the beach, if I could.”

  • Espero que elas estejam em casa. 

“I hope they are home.”

[feminine]

  • Quando o médico estiver pronto, vai chamar vocês. 

“When the doctor is ready, he will call you all.”

Ir (“To go”)

As we mentioned before, ir is an auxiliary verb in the future tense, in the widely used compound future tense.

Examples:

  • Os convidados vão chegar mais cedo. 

“The guests will arrive earlier.”

  • Eu já vou! 

“I’m going!”

  • Talvez ele vá na viagem. 

“Maybe he will go on the trip.”

  • Elas foram para o Rio de Janeiro de férias? 

“They went to Rio de Janeiro for their vacation?”

[“they” is feminine]

  • Vamos logo, antes que chova! 

“Let’s go, before it rains!”

  • É verdade que ele ia pedir demissão? 

“Is it true that he was going to resign?”

Ter (“To have”)

Ter is used to form the perfect tenses. Take a look at the following sentences, as the last ones show some examples of ter as an auxiliary verb.

Examples:

  • Nós tivemos uma boa chance de ganhar. 

“We had a good chance of winning.”

  • Quando ela tiver uma bicicleta, vai se exercitar. 

“When she has a bike, she will exercise.”

  • Tenha paciência, criança! 

“Have patience, child!”

  • Se tivesse sobremesa, eles teriam comido mais. 

“If there was dessert, they would have eaten more.”

[“they” is masculine]

  • Eu tenho tido sorte nas minhas viagens. 

“I have had luck in my travels.”

  • Você tem dormido cedo? 

“Have you been sleeping early?”

a kitten mewling loudly

Nós temos um gatinho fofo. (“We have a cute kitten.”)

Good job! Now you’re familiar with the conjugation for regular verbs, as well as the most important irregular Portuguese verbs. You can put yourself to the test and try to conjugate the verbs in this vocabulary list. As a bonus, you’ll be able to practice their pronunciation!

4. Putting Conjugation to the Test

To keep you on your toes, it’s time to practice with this quick Portuguese verb conjugation quiz. 

Complete the sentence by filling in the gap with the correct conjugation of the verb (shown between parentheses). Afterwards, scroll down for the correct answers and an explanation. Try to fill it in before checking the answers!

  1. Minha filha (adorar) _____________ conhecer vocês.

(“My daughter would love to meet you.”) 

  1. Todos os dias, nós (beber) ______________ um copo de suco de laranja.

(“Everyday, we drink a glass of orange juice.”)

  1. Eles (sair) ______________ de casa quando o telefone tocou.

(“They were leaving the house when the telephone rang.”

[where “they” is masculine]

  1. A casa deve estar limpa quando sua avó (chegar) _____________.

(“The house must be clean when your grandmother arrives.”)

  1. Ele (ser) _____________ a estrela do show.

(“He was the star of the show.”)

Did you write your answers down? Let’s see what the correct conjugations are and why.

1. Minha filha adoraria conhecer vocês. (“My daughter would love to meet you.”) 

Since we’re talking about something that the daughter would love, it’s a possibility. Therefore, we use the conditional
Adorar is a regular verb of the -AR group, so we have to conjugate it in the same way as the verb falar (“to talk”). Another thing to note is that “my daughter” is a third person singular subject. You can see the entire conjugation for the verb adorar, but since it’s a regular verb, you can just substitute the stem of the verb:

Falariaadoraria

2. Todos os dias, nós bebemos um copo de suco de laranja. (“Everyday, we drink a glass of orange juice.”)

In this case, the action happens everyday. Hence, the verb should be in the present tense of the indicative. 

Beber is a regular verb of the second conjugation, and the person in the sentence is nós, the first person of the plural. Once again, you can use the same pattern from the conjugation of the verb comer (“to eat”), and just change the stem.

Comemos bebemos

3. Eles saíam de casa quando o telefone tocou. / Eles estavam saindo de casa quando o telefone tocou. (“They were leaving the house when the telephone rang.”) [masculine]

This is an interesting sentence because there are two ways you could say it. The fact is, the action of leaving the house was happening in the past when it was interrupted. 

In the first answer, we used the past imperfect tense, and the verb is conjugated in the third person plural. Sair is an irregular verb, but its conjugation is fairly similar to that of the -IR group. For effects of comparison, see how the regular verb abrir (“to open”) is conjugated for the same tense and person: 

Abriam saíam 

The second answer uses the past continuous tense, with the auxiliary verb estar (“to be”) and the gerund form of the main verb (sair). It conveys the idea that something was happening when another action occurred. Again, you can compare the gerund form below.

Abrindosaindo

You can listen to this lesson on PortuguesePod101.com for more examples on how to use the past imperfect tense.

4. A casa deve estar limpa quando sua avó chegar. (“The house must be clean when your grandmother arrives.”)

The verb chegar has to be conjugated in the future of the subjunctive, since it implies an action that will happen, but we’re not quite sure when. The presence of the adverb quando (“when”) serves as an indication that the subjunctive mood is used. 

Then, conjugate the verb in the third person singular, exactly as we did with the verb falar.

Falarchegar

5. Ele foi a estrela do show. / Ele era a estrela do show. (“He was the star of the show.”)

This is a tricky one! Depending on the context, the answer changes a bit.

If the show was a one-time event that is already over, we use the simple past tense. In this case, the verb refers to an action that already happened and is done with. 

  • Ele foi a estrela do show.  

“He was the star of the show.”

Now, if the action happened over an indefinite period of time (e.g. during this person’s whole adulthood), we use the imperfect past tense. Let’s say, for example, that the show was running for years, and the subject of the sentence was continuously the star of the show. In this case: 

  • Ele era a estrela do show. 

“He was the star of the show.”

If you want to dive a little bit deeper into the differences between foi and era, there’s a very interesting discussion here.

someone writing in a journal

Vamos continuar a praticar! (“Let’s continue to practice!”)

5. Continue Learning More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

Hopefully this guide provided the information you need to understand Portuguese conjugation and progress even further in your language-learning journey. Don’t forget to come back to this article, or the article about the 100 most common Portuguese verbs, whenever you need to practice. 

Ready to go out into the world and put all you learned into practice? Did the examples help you grasp the different ways to use the verbs? If we missed any aspect of Portuguese verb conjugation, tell us in the comments. 

Now, don’t stop learning! There are more free Portuguese resources and a variety of vocabulary lists available on PortuguesePod101.com. Go ahead and choose your favorite tools to expand your learning opportunities.
If you want to take your learning experience further, members of PortuguesePod101.com get access to the largest language lesson library in the world, with thousands of real lessons by real teachers. Perfect for anyone who wants to learn from anywhere, feel motivated, and be ready to speak Portuguese with confidence. And in the meantime, continue exploring PortuguesePod101!

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Your Starter Guide to Portuguese Verbs

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Oh, verbs. Crucially important for communication in any language, they can sometimes be a bit of a pain. There are so many of them, regular and irregular, that it’s easy to get lost. But worry not: we’re here to help you every step of the way! In no time, you’ll be best friends with Portuguese verbs. 

It’s definitely important to learn the most-used verbs early on in your journey to mastering a second language. The reason for this is simple: verbs provide key information in a sentence, indicating an action. Of course, you’ll also need to know the most popular adjectives and adverbs in Portuguese! This way, you’ll have all the tools you need to understand sentences and make your own.

The cool thing about learning the most common verbs in Portuguese is that you’ll start recognizing them when listening or reading. This is one of the best ways to understand the context of what’s being said, even if you don’t understand all the words in a sentence. And with just a few Portuguese verbs, you’ll be able to communicate much more.

Better yet, since in Portuguese it’s common to reply with a single verb instead of a whole sentence, you’ll really get the most bang for your buck!
If you’re ready to get familiarized with Portuguese irregular and regular verbs, great! We’ll make this as easy as possible for you! First, let’s have a quick look at the main characteristics of Portuguese verb conjugation. Then, we’ll explore 100 must-know Portuguese verbs that will really help you step up your language game.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. The Basics You Need to Know
  2. The Finest Exemplars of Portuguese Verbs
  3. Continue Learning More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

1. The Basics You Need to Know

Top verbs

1 – Verb Endings: Why They Matter

As in some other languages, Portuguese has three main verb groups, characterized by their different endings. In this case, the verb endings are  -AR, -ER, and -IR. Take the three verbs below as examples:

-AR-ER-IR
Andar (“To walk”)Comer (“To eat”)Abrir (“To open”)

There are also verbs that end in -OR, but since those are always irregular verbs, we don’t group them. 

It can be helpful to keep those endings in mind, because regular verbs in each group are conjugated in the same way. The stem of the verbs remain the same throughout the different conjugations, and the endings are predictable. 

In other words, by learning the Portuguese verb conjugation for just a few verbs in each group, you’ll already have a blueprint of how to deal with any other regular verb you come across! 
To see how regular verbs in the present tense behave, look at this Portuguese conjugation chart:

-AR verbs-ER verbs-IR verbs
EuStem + oAndoStem + oComoStem + oAbro
“I walk”“I eat”“I open”
TuStem + asAndasStem + esComesStem + esAbres
“You walk”“You eat”“You open”
Você/Ele/ElaStem + aAndaStem + eComeStem + eAbre
“You walk,” using você.
“He/She walks”
“You eat,” using você.
“He/She eats”
“You open,” using você.
“He/She opens”
NósStem + amosAndamosStem + emosComemosStem + imosAbrimos
“We walk”“We eat”“We open”
VósStem + aisAndaisStem + eisComeisStem + isAbris
“You walk”“You eat”“You open”
Vocês/Eles/ElasStem + amAndamStem + emComemStem + emAbrem
“They walk”“They eat”“They open”

It is indeed a happy moment when we encounter regular verbs. 

Group of people running on track field

2 – Making the Most of the Verbs 

An interesting thing about verbs is that they go beyond expressing an action. The verb conjugation in Portuguese tells you much more than what happened; it also tells you who is performing the action and/or the moment in time when that action happens. In some cases, it’s not even necessary to use the subject in the sentence, since the verb itself already implies the subject. 

Let’s look at an example to see if it makes sense.

  • Acordei agora. 

“I woke up now.”

In the example, we only have the verb acordei and the adverb agora (“now”). There’s no need to use the subject eu (“I”), because the verb in itself contains the information about who did the action (who woke up). In this example, the verb alone doesn’t tell us when the action took place, which is why we see the adverb agora

Let’s look at another example, this time an interaction between two people:

  • Acordou agora? 

“Did you wake up now?”

Acordei. 

“I did.”

This is a perfect example of how you can use a single verb to answer a question. So rejoice! Once you learn the rules for Portuguese verb conjugation and how verbs change depending on the person and time, your communication potential will increase exponentially!

3 – When Verbs Go Together

Now another word about Portuguese verb tenses.

In some cases, you’ll see more than one verb being used in a sentence. This happens in compound tenses. In Portuguese, we have simple tenses and compound tenses, similar to what happens in English. When only one verb expresses the action, we’re dealing with a simple tense, while compound tenses use two verbs to express the action.

For example, you can say:

  • Eu fiz a prova de matemática. 

“I took the math test.”

In the simple tense, only one verb expresses the action. Now, if you say:

  • Eu estava fazendo a prova de matemática quando… 

“I was taking the math test when…”

We have a compound tense, where the main verb needs an auxiliary verb to indicate the action. Like in the example above, it’s very common to use compound tenses when talking about getting to places

In this article, we won’t go into the details of Portuguese verb conjugation, but you will be able to recognize some of those auxiliary verbs after checking out our Portuguese verbs list.

Sometimes the verbs like to partner up.

4 – Where Does the Verb Go?

Lastly, something that’s very helpful is becoming familiarized with the basic sentence structure in Portuguese. This is very straightforward, since it’s similar to the English sentence structure.

SentenceEu andei com ele.“I walked with him.”
SubjectEu“I”
Verbandei“walked”
Objectcom ele“with him”

However, keep in mind that Portuguese is a language full of exceptions, so don’t rule out other possibilities.

I know, I know, that was a lot. Verbs can be intimidating because they’re in pretty much every sentence we read, write, or speak. But this is also a blessing in disguise since you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice. 

Remember that learning a foreign language is not a sprint, so let’s first work on becoming familiar with the most common Portuguese verbs. To know how to pronounce the verbs we’ll see, check out this handy video with the Top 25 Portuguese Verbs.

And a final tip: As you set out to learn Portuguese verbs, use your time wisely. When commuting or with free time on your hands, take a look at this article again. Review and reinforce what you learn with some more information about Portuguese verbs. Then, by combining them with adverbs and adjectives you’ve already learned, you can begin creating more sentences. You’ll be ready to go beyond the basic greetings and really start conversing in Portuguese!

2. The Finest Exemplars of Portuguese Verbs

More essential verbs

1 – The Verb “To Be” in Portuguese

The illustrious verb “to be” has to come first in this list of essential Portuguese verbs. After all, it’s one of the first verbs you’ll use when getting to know people. There’s a catch, however. Unlike in English, in Portuguese we have two verbs that translate to “to be.” These are the Portuguese verbs ser and estar.

Think of it in terms of permanence and impermanence:

  • You can be something permanently (or at least for a long time):
    •  You can be a certain nationality or profession.
  • You can be something for a small period of time (temporarily)
    • You can be cold, you can be sunblind, or you can be in school.

1.

Ser
“To be” – permanent
Ele é um homem muito alto.
“He is a very tall man.”

2.

Estar
“To be” – impermanent
Eles estão ansiosos.
“They are anxious.”

Both verbs also act as auxiliary verbs in specific compound tenses. 

Estar is an auxiliary verb in all of the continuous tenses. That means that when you want to say you “were doing” or “are doing” something, estar is the auxiliary verb you will use.

  • Present continuous: Eu estou correndo agora. (“I am running now.”)
  • Past continuous: Você estava lendo uma revista. (“You were reading a magazine.”)

Ser is an auxiliary verb only when a sentence is in the passive voice. In other words, when the action happens to someone, we use the verb ser alongside the main verb.

  • Passive voice: Nós fomos reconhecidos. (“We were recognized.”)

2 – Some Other Auxiliary Verbs

Besides the “to be” verbs, there are some other important Portuguese auxiliary verbs to learn. When they’re acting as helping verbs, they’re used before the action verb. As a result, they add information about possibility or time. 

In the examples below, the first sentence shows the verb acting as the main verb, in the simple tense. The second example shows how it’s used in the compound tense.

3.

Ir 
“To go”
“Will”
Eles estão indo para a praia.
“They are going to the beach.”
Eu vou dormir agora.
“I will sleep now.”

The verb ir is an auxiliary verb in the future tense, indicating the action that will happen. 

In Brazilian Portuguese, it’s very common to see the verb ir being used in the compound future tense instead of the simple future tense. For example, it’s more likely that you’ll hear:

  • Eu vou fazer um bolo. 

than

  • Eu farei um bolo.

Both sentences mean the same thing, but the compound form is more common in colloquial Portuguese. 

You’ll also encounter the verb ir paired with an action verb in the gerund form. This combination expresses a continuous action in the near future.

  • Eu vou dirigindo na frente. 

“I will be driving ahead.”

You can probably tell by the examples above that ir is a highly irregular verb.

4.

Ter 
“To have”
Nós temos dinheiro.
“We have money.”
Eu tenho comido bem.
“I have been eating well.”

Ter is used to form the perfect tenses:

  • Você tem acordado cedo. 

“You have been waking up early.”

  • Você teria acordado cedo se o despertador tivesse funcionado direito. 

“You would have woken up early if the alarm clock had worked properly.”

5.

Haver 
“Can” 
“May”
Há mais de 40 sapatos.
“There are more than 40 shoes.”
Eu haveria perdido.
“I would have lost.”

Haver is a special little verb. It’s used in a variety of ways. But the truth is that, at least in Brazilian Portuguese, it’s becoming less common to use it. 

Haver can mean “there is” or “there are”:

  • Há muita gente aqui. 

“There are a lot of people here.”

Note that the same sentence could have been written with the verb ter:

  • Tem muita gente aqui. 

“There are a lot of people here.”

These two words can be used interchangeably in the context of “there is” and “there are.” They’re also interchangeable in the compound perfect tenses. 

  • Ele havia conseguido. 

“He had succeeded.”

  • Ele tinha conseguido. 

“He had succeeded.”

Although grammatically correct, it’s rarer to see the verb haver used in those cases.

/! But attention! When ter conveys possession, then the verbs can’t be used interchangeably.

6.

Poder 
“Can” 
“May”
“To be able”
 “Might”
Podemos lutar.
“We can fight.”

Eu posso precisar de ajuda hoje a noite.
“I might need help tonight.”

7.

Dever
“Must”
“To have to”
“To owe”
Tu deves continuar.
“You must continue.”

Você me deve uma cerveja.
“You owe me a beer.”
Dever is also a noun in Portuguese. It can mean “duty” or “homework” in the expression dever de casa.
  • Já terminei meu dever de casa. (“I’m done with my homework.”)

There are many other verbs that, in some occasions, act as auxiliary verbs. As long as you know the ones we’ve just looked at, you’ll do very well!

Auxiliary verbs are like the friendly neighbors you can count on.

3 – The Most-Used Action Verbs in Portuguese

Negative verbs

Now that you already know the main auxiliary verbs, let’s continue seeing how to express actions with this Portuguese verbs chart. Remember to also get familiar with how they sound with this vocabulary list of the 50 Most Common Verbs. There are more listening exercises available on PortuguesePod101.

8.

Fazer
“To do”
“To make”
“To have” (when talking about events)
Você já fez seus exercícios hoje?
“Did you already do your exercises today?”

Eu faço o melhor bolo de chocolate.
“I make the best chocolate cake.”

Vamos fazer uma festa esse fim de semana?
“Let’s have a party this weekend?”
In Portuguese, we often use the verb fazer to talk about weather:
  • Fez muito sol. (“It was very sunny.”)

We can also use the verb estar in the same way:
  • Estava muito sol. (“It was very sunny.”)

Lastly, you’re also likely to see both verbs being used, in a compound tense:
  • Estava fazendo muito frio. (“It was very cold.”)

9.

Dizer
“To say”
“To tell”
Nós sempre dizemos isso.
“We always say that.”

10.

Falar
“To speak”
“To talk”
“To tell”
Minha mãe fala inglês.
“My mother speaks English.”

11.

Dar
“To give”
Eles nos deram muito apoio.
“They gave us a lot of support.”

12.

Gostar
“To like”
Ela gostava do mar.
“She liked the sea.”

13.

Amar
“To love”
Eu amo bolo de chocolate!
“I love chocolate cake!”

14.

Ver
“To see”
Vocês veem aquele pássaro?
“Do you see that bird?”

15.

Olhar
“To look”
Quando ele olhou pra mim, eu chorei.
“When he looked at me, I cried.”

16.

Ouvir
“To hear”
Você ouviu o trovão?
“Did you hear the thunder?”

17.

Escutar
“To listen to”
Ele escutou o discurso até o final.
“He listened to the speech until the end.”
Ouvir and escutar are used interchangeably very often, even though there’s a slight difference in meaning. Ouvir doesn’t necessarily imply paying attention. Escutar refers to making sense of what was heard or, in other words, hearing and paying attention to it. 

However, in most cases, you can use both. For example:
  • Eu ouvi um barulho estranho. 
  • Eu escutei um barulho estranho. 
Both sentences translate to “I heard a weird noise.”

18.

Tocar
“To touch”
“To make a sound”
Não toca na panela.
“Don’t touch the pan.”

O celular está tocando.
“The phone is ringing.”

A música parou de tocar.
“The music stopped playing.”
Tocar is a very versatile word that’s used in a couple of slang expressions. 

The first one is equivalent to saying “High five!”
  • Toca aqui! 
Another common use is the expression se toca! It’s used as a wakeup call:
  • Se toca! Tá achando que é quem? (“Wake up! Who do you think you are?”)
  • Cara, se toca, esse namoro já acabou. (“Dude, wake up, this relationship is over.”)

19.

Cheirar
“To smell”
Está cheirando mal aqui.
“It smells bad here.”
In Portuguese, there are several ways that you can talk about how something smells, besides using the verb cheirar. 

You can also use the verb sentir (“to feel,” see below) + the noun cheiro (“smell”): 
  • Eu sinto cheiro de café! (“I smell coffee!”)
Or you can use the verb estar (impermanent “to be”)
  • Está um cheiro bom aqui. (“It smells nice here.”)
Finally, you can opt for the verb ter (“to have”): 
  • Esta casa tem um cheiro ruim. (“This house has a bad smell.”)
In fact, if you do see the verb cheirar being used, it will probably be in a compound tense, with the verb estar.
  • Ele estava cheirando bem. (“He was smelling good.”)

20.

Sentir
“To feel”
Vocês estão se sentindo bem?
“Do you feel well?”

21.

Pensar
“To think”
Penso, logo existo.
“I think, therefore I am.”

22.

Achar
“To find”
“To think”
Achei a chave!
“I found the key!”

Eu não achei que importava.
“I didn’t think it mattered.”

23.

Saber
“To know”
Você saberá no momento certo.
“You will know at the right moment.”

24.

Querer
“To want”
Eles queriam tanto isto.
“They wanted it so bad.”

25.

Ficar
“To stay”
“To get”
“To be” (impermanent), when talking about location
Você vai ficar em casa hoje?
“Will you stay home today?”

Aqui fica frio rápido.
“It gets cold quickly here.”

O banheiro fica à esquerda.
“The bathroom is to the left.”
Ficar translates to “to get” when it’s followed by an adjective. For example:
  • Está ficando velhinha! (“You are getting a bit old!”)

26.

Precisar
“To need”
Eu preciso tanto de um banho.
“I need a shower so bad.”
Precisar acts as an auxiliary verb as well:
  • Ele precisa entender que não é fácil assim. (“He needs to understand it’s not that easy.”)

27.

Praticar
“To practice”
Eu estou praticando meu português com meu vizinho.
“I am practicing my Portuguese with my neighbor.”

28.

Pôr
“To put”
“To place”
Você sempre põe os outros em primeiro lugar.
“You always put others first.”

29.

Colocar
“To put”
“To place”
O paisagista colocou as flores exóticas no meio do jardim.
“The landscaper placed the exotic flowers in the middle of the garden.”
In Portuguese, some verbs can be transformed into another one by adding the prefix re- in front. By doing so, the new verb gains the meaning of doing the action again. 

For example, we have the verb colocar and the verb recolocar. Recolocar means “to replace.”
  • Você pode recolocar os livros na estante, por favor? (“Can you replace the books on the shelf, please?”)

30.

Passar
“To pass”
“To iron (clothes)”
Pode me passar o sal?
“Can you pass me the salt?”

Tenho que passar esta blusa primeiro.
“I have to iron this shirt first.”

31.

Chegar
“To arrive”
Meu pai chega tarde em casa.
“My dad arrives home late.”

32.

Entrar
“To enter”
Só podemos entrar até à meia-noite.
“We can only enter at midnight.”

33.

Chamar
“To call”
“To summon”
Ele me chamou super cedo hoje.
“He called me super-early today.”

Os alunos foram chamados ao escritório.
“The students were summoned to the office.”
Chamar can also mean “to draw” in the expression “to draw attention”:
  • O objetivo do protesto é chamar a atenção dos governantes. (“The protest’s goal is drawing the government’s attention.”)

34.

Mudar
“To change”
“To move”
Minha avó vai mudar as cortinas.
“My grandmother will change the curtains.”

35.

Vir
“To come (over)”
Vocês vieram jantar aqui no meu aniversário, lembram?
“You came over for dinner on my birthday, remember?”

36.

Voltar
“To come back”
“To return”
Mocinho, volte aqui!
“Young man, come back here!”

37.

Sair
“To leave”
“To go out”
Adoro sair com minhas amigas.
“I love to go out with my friends.”

38.

Partir
“To leave”
“To depart”
“To break”
“To cut (into pieces)”
Desde que você partiu, estou tão só.
“Since you left, I feel so alone.”

Quem vai partir o bolo?
“Who will cut the cake?”

39.

Deixar
“To leave (something)”
“To let”
Ela deixou a carteira aqui.
“She left the wallet here.”

Não vou deixar isso me magoar.
“I won’t let that hurt me.”

40.

Encontrar
“To meet”
“To find”
E vocês dois vão se encontrar?
“And you two are going to meet?”

Não encontro as minhas chaves.
“I can’t find my keys.”
Once again, by adding the prefix re- in front of the verb encontrar, we have another verb: reencontrar, meaning “to meet again.”
  • Meus tios finalmente se reencontraram. (“My uncles finally met again.”)

41.

Levar
“To take”
Vocês sempre esquecem de levar os presentes.
“You always forget to take the gifts with you.”

42.

Começar
“To start”
“To begin”
Meus pais começaram as aulas de dança.
“My parents started their dance lessons.”

43.

Terminar
“To finish”
“To end”
O jogo terminou empatado.
“The match ended in a tie.”

44.

Apresentar
“To present”
“To introduce”
“To perform”
O clube de teatro apresenta a nova peça.
“The theater club presents the new play.”

Gostaria de te apresentar ao meu namorado.
“I’d like to introduce you to my boyfriend.”

Minha filha se apresentou sozinha.
“My daughter performed by herself.”

45.

Conhecer
“To know”
“To meet”
“To discover”
O motorista não conhecia aquela estrada.
“The driver didn’t know that highway.”

Eu quero conhecer seu irmão.
“I want to meet your brother.”

Ela ama conhecer novas culturas.
“She loves to discover new cultures.”
Note that conhecer only means “to know” when referring to something familiar. 

For example, you can use conhecer if you know a certain street or a certain person: 
  • Você conhece a prima Luisa? (“Do you know cousin Luisa?”)
But you can’t use conhecer if referring to something you know how to do. In this case, use saber.
  • Eu sei cozinhar. (“I know how to cook.”)

46.

Conseguir
“To get” 
“To achieve (something)”
Eu não sei se ele vai conseguir o trabalho.
“I don’t know if he will get the job.”

47.

Existir
“To exist”
O futuro ainda não existe.
“The future still does not exist.”
Existir can be translated as “there is” or “there are”:
  • Nunca existiu alguém como você na minha vida. (“There was never someone like you in my life.”)

48.

Considerar
“To consider”
É uma boa ideia considerar a oferta.
“It’s a good idea to consider the offer.”

49.

Continuar
“To continue”
Os peregrinos continuaram andando por mais dois dias.
“The pilgrims continued walking for two more days.”

50.

Viver
“To live”
Queria ter vivido na Renascença.
“I wish I had lived during the Renaissance.”
In Portuguese, we use the verb viver to convey the idea of always doing something. For example:
Eu vivo dizendo isso pra ele. (“I’m always telling him that.”)
Ele vivia cantando esta música. (“He was always singing this song.”)

51.

Morrer
“To die”
Todos vamos morrer um dia.
“We will all die one day.”

52.

Tomar
“To take”
“To have (a drink)”
Você tomou seu remédio?
“Did you take your medicine?”

Vamos tomar uma cerveja!
“Let’s go have a beer!”
Tomar can be used interchangeably with beber (“to drink”).

Levar and tomar both mean “to take.” The difference is that levar implies taking something/someone somewhere:
  • Leva este vestido na viagem. (“Take this dress on your trip.”)
Tomar does not imply this concept of location:
  • Vou tomar um banho. (“I’ll take a shower.”)

53.

Acabar
“To end”
“To finish”
Acabei meu projeto ontem.
“I finished my project yesterday.”
Acabar is also used in some different situations. It can mean “is over” or “run out of”: 
  • A comida já acabou. (“We’ve run out of food.”)
It’s also very commonly used to express that something just happened: 
  • Ele acabou de começar a pintura. (“He just started the painting.”)

54.

Pegar
“To catch”
“To grasp”
Tenta pegar a bola antes que ela caia no chão.
“Try to catch the ball before it hits the floor.”

55.

Receber
“To receive”
“To get”
Meu irmão recebeu uma promoção no trabalho.
“My brother received a promotion at work.”

56.

Andar
“To walk”
Para de andar tão rápido.
“Stop walking so fast.”
It’s common to see this verb being used to express something that one has been doing or feeling: 
  • Eu ando lendo muito. (“I have been reading a lot.”)

57.

Trabalhar
“To work”
Nosso vizinho trabalha até tarde.
“Our neighbor works until late.”

58.

Criar
“To create”
“To make”
“To raise”
O designer criou um pôster lindo.
“The designer made a beautiful poster.”

Minha mãe me criou sozinha.
“My mom raised me by herself.”

59.

Pedir
“To ask”
Minha amiga pediu um favor.
“My friend asked for a favor.”

60.

Seguir
“To follow”
“To go”
O cachorro me seguiu o caminho todo.
“The dog followed me all the way.”

Pra chegar no mercado, é só seguir em frente.
“To get to the market, just go straight ahead.”
Used in the expression seguir em frente (“to move on”):
  • Quando eles terminaram, ela seguiu em frente. (“When they broke up, she moved on.”)

61.

Contar
“To count”
“To tell”
A professora contou os alunos.
“The teacher counted the students.”

A jornalista me contou que ninguém estava lá.
“The journalist told me that nobody was there.”

62.

Acontecer
“To happen”
Aconteceu exatamente assim.
“It happened exactly like that.”

63.

Afirmar
“To claim”
“To affirm”
“To state”
O diretor afirmou que tudo está funcionando bem.
“The director stated that everything is working well.”

64.

Tratar
“To treat”
O médico tratou o paciente.
“The doctor treated the patient.”

65.

Esperar
“To wait”
Eu esperei por muito tempo.
“I waited for a long time.”

66.

Usar
“To use”
Nós não usamos couro.
“We don’t use leather.”

67.

Manter
“To keep”
“To maintain”
Vou manter a esperança acesa.
“I’ll keep hope alive.”

68.

Realizar
“To accomplish”
Finalmente ele realizou seu sonho.
“He finally accomplished his dream.”

69.

Abrir
“To open”
Só pode abrir a encomenda quando eu chegar!
“Only open the package once I arrive!”

70.

Fechar
“To close”
Quase que fecham a porta na nossa cara!
“They almost closed the door right in our face!”
As in English, we also have the expression “to close a deal” using this verb:
  • Fico feliz de fechar este negócio com você. (“I am happy to close this deal with you.”)

71.

Escrever
“To write”
Eu irei escrever uma página todos os dias.
“I will write a page everyday.”

72.

Permitir
“To allow”
Seu pai jamais permitiria isso.
“Your father would never allow that.”

73.

Acreditar
“To believe”
Eu só acredito vendo.
“I only believe it when I see it.”

74.

Mostrar
“To show”
Será que pode me mostrar o carro?
“Any chance you can show me the car?”

75.

Lembrar
“To remember”
“To remind”
Ele me lembrou de comprar.
“He reminded me to buy it.”

Eu lembrarei da nossa música.
“I will remember our song.”
As in the other examples we already saw, we also have the verb relembrar, which means “to remember again.” It’s also used when talking about nostalgia and thinking about old times, as in the example:
  • Este filme me faz relembrar minha infância. (“This movie makes me remember my childhood.”)

76.

Trazer
“To bring”
Você trouxe o meu pote?
“Did you bring my tupperware?”

77.

Procurar
“To look for”
Era isso que eu procurava!
“That’s what I was looking for!”

78.

Tentar
“To try”
Não importa o quanto a gente falhe, vamos tentar de novo.
“Doesn’t matter how much we fail, we will try again.”

79.

Formar
“To form”
Formem uma fila, por favor.
“Form a line, please.”

80.

Aparecer
“To appear”
“To show up”
Ele sempre aparece descalço.
“He always shows up barefooted.”

81.

Comprar
“To buy”
Comprou o liquidificador?
“Did you buy the blender?”

82.

Cair
“To fall”
Vocês quase caíram, eu vi.
“You almost fell, I saw it.”

83.

Correr
“To run”
Eu corri pra nada.
“I ran for nothing.”

84.

Ganhar
“To win”
“To receive”
“To get”
Nós sempre ganhamos a competição da escola.
“We always win the school competition.”

Vocês ganharam um presente!
“You got a present!”

85.

Perder
“To lose”
“To miss”
Elas não vão perder.
“They won’t lose.”

Eu perdi meu vôo.
“I missed my flight.”

86.

Vencer
“To win”
Eles venceram aquele jogo.
“They won that game.”

87.

Chover
“To rain”
Ontem choveu o dia todo.
“It rained all day yesterday.”

88.

Pagar
“To pay”
Eles saíram sem pagar.
“They left without paying.”

89.

Entender
“To understand”
Eu não entendi nada.
“I didn’t understand any of it.”

90.

Parecer
“Seem”
“Look (like)”
Ele não parecia muito feliz.
“He didn’t seem very happy.”

91.

Ler
“To read”
Você leu todos esses livros?
“Did you read all these books?”

92.

Tirar
“To take away”
“To remove”
“To get” (only with grades)
Vamos tirar isto daqui.
“We will remove this from here.”

Ele tirou 10 no teste.
“He got an A on the test.”

93.

Responder
“To answer”
“To reply”
Eles nunca mais me responderam.
“They never answered me again.”

94.

Explicar
“To explain”
Vamos lá, me explica o que aconteceu.
“C’mon, explain to me what happened.”

95.

Ensinar
“To teach”
Nós ensinávamos muito bem. 
“We used to teach very well.”

96.

Descobrir
“To discover”
“To find out”
Você não sabe o que eu descobri!
“You don’t know what I found out!”

97.

Levantar
“To lift”
“To raise”
“To get up”
Levantem as mãos.
“Raise your hands.”

98.

Deitar
“To lay down”
Só vou deitar um pouco.
“I’ll just lay down a little.”

99.

Comer
“To eat”
Ela comeu uma pizza de chocolate.
“She ate a chocolate pizza.”

100.

Beber
“To drink”
Eles bebem muito café.
“They drink a lot of coffee.”
Man practicing his pronunciation of verbs

3. Continue Learning More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

This article had a lot of information about Portuguese language verbs, and we hope that the examples and explanations were helpful to you. This list will be here for you to review and refresh your memory whenever necessary. 

Did you like learning about common Portuguese verbs and conjugations? Are there any important ones we missed? Let us know in the comments. 

And now, it’s time to put it into practice. To start, you can compare the most common verbs in any language with their Portuguese translation. Or go ahead and choose your own vocabulary list or another free resource on PortuguesePod101.

If you want to take your learning experience further, members of PortuguesePod101.com get access to the largest language lesson library in the world, with thousands of real lessons by real teachers. Perfect for anyone who wants to learn from anywhere, feel motivated, and be ready to speak Portuguese with confidence.

Happy Portuguese learning!

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Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning

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Do you remember the moment you fell in love with languages?

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For native English-speakers who want to learn Asian languages, for example, timelines provided by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute can appear discouraging. However, defeating these odds is not unheard of. If you want to beat the odds yourself, one of the best learning options is a subscription to Premium PLUS from Innovative Language.

As an active Premium PLUS member of JapanesePod101.com and KoreanClass101.com myself, I have an enjoyable experience learning at an accelerated pace with at least thirty minutes of study daily. The following Premium PLUS features contribute to my success:

  • Access to thousands of lessons
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As someone who decided to make Japanese her second language one year ago, I am extremely grateful for Premium PLUS.

Allow me to emphasize on how these Premium PLUS features strengthen my language studies.

Gain Unlimited Access to Audio and Video Lessons!

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As a Premium PLUS member, I have full access to the lesson library and other Premium features. Best of all, I’m not limited to one level; I can learn to my heart’s content with upper-level courses.

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Because of the abundance of lessons, I’ve found pathways in the lesson library to help me prepare for certain events. Thanks to the “Speaking Perfect Japanese at a Restaurant” pathway, I spoke fully in Japanese while dining in Japan. Additionally, I participated in conversations at language exchange meetups in South Korea after completing the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway.

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As someone who’s constantly on-the-go, I heavily benefit from mobile access to lessons. Podcasts and lesson notes are available on the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS.

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Practice Speaking with the Voice Recording Tool!

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Pronunciation is an essential ingredient in language-learning. Proper pronunciation prompts clear understanding during conversations with native speakers.

Prior to learning full Korean sentences, my online Korean language tutor assigned the “Hana Hana Hangul” pathway to me. It demonstrated the writing and pronunciation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Throughout this pathway, I submitted recordings of my Hangul character pronunciations to my language teacher for review.

I was given a similar task on JapanesePod101.com with the “Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide” pathway. My Japanese language teacher tested my pronunciation of the Japanese characters kana. My completion of the two pathways boosted my confidence in speaking.

Speaking is one of the more challenging components of learning a language. The voice recording tool in particular was a great way for me to improve my speaking skills. Further, because the lesson dialogues are spoken by native speakers, I’m able to practice speaking naturally.

This feature is also available for vocabulary words and sample sentences. Being able to hear these recordings improves my pronunciation skills for languages like Japanese, where intonation can change the meaning of a word entirely. The voice recorder examines my speed and tone. I also follow up by sending a recording to my online language tutor for feedback.

A great way to boost one’s speaking confidence is to shadow native speakers. During the vocabulary reviews, it’s helpful for me to hear the breakdown of each word; doing so makes a word that was originally difficult to even read a breeze to say!

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Example Scenario:

The host asks the following question:

어디에 살고 있습니까?

eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

If you live in Tokyo, you would readily say the following:

도쿄에 살고 있습니다.

Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

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Imagine having a conversation with a native speaker and hesitating because you lack a solid vocabulary base.

Premium PLUS offers various features to expand learners’ vocabulary, including Free Gifts of the Month. PortuguesePod101’s free gifts for April 2020 included an e-book with “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners,” and the content is updated every month. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

An effective way to learn vocabulary is with SRS flashcards. SRS is a system designed for learning a new word and reviewing it in varying time intervals.

You can create and study flashcard decks, whether it’s your Word Bank or a certain vocabulary list. For example, if you need to visit a post office, the “Post Office” vocabulary list for your target language would be beneficial to study prior to your visit.

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With the SRS flashcards, you can change the settings to your liking. The settings range from different card types to number of new cards per deck. Personally, I give myself vocabulary tests by changing the settings.

After studying a number of flashcards, I change the card types to listening comprehension and/or production. Then I test myself by writing the translation of the word or the spoken word or phrase.

The change in settings allow me to remember vocabulary and learn how to identify the words. This is especially helpful with Japanese kanji!

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Homework assignments are advantageous to my language studies. There are homework assignments auto-generated weekly. They range from multiple-choice quizzes to writing assignments.

Language tutors are readily available for homework help. Some writing assignments, for instance, require use of unfamiliar vocabulary. In such cases, my language teachers assist me by forwarding related lessons or vocabulary lists.

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Your language tutors also provide assignments upon requests. When I wanted to review grammar, my Korean teacher sent related quizzes and assignments. Thus, you are not only limited to the auto-generated assignments.

Every weekend, I review by re-reading those written sentences. It helps me remember sentence structures, grammar points, and vocabulary to apply in real-world contexts.

Furthermore, I can track my progress with language portfolios every trimester. It’s like a midterm exam that tests my listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

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My language teachers cater to my goals with personalized and achievable learning programs. The tangible support of my online language teachers makes it evident that we share common goals.

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Your language tutor is available for outside help as well. When I bought drama CDs in Japan, I had difficulty transliterating the dialogue. My Japanese teacher forwarded me the script to read along as I listened.

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A remarkable thing happened to me in South Korea. I was stressed about opening a bank account with limited Korean. I sought help from my Korean teacher. She forwarded me a script of a bank conversation.

After two days, I visited the local bank. It all started with my opening sentence:

은행 계좌를 만들고 싶어요

eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

Everything went smoothly, and I exited the bank with a new account!

The MyTeacher Messenger allows me to share visuals with my teachers for regular interaction, including videos to critique my pronunciation mechanisms. I improve my listening and speaking skills by exchanging audio with my teachers. In addition to my written homework assignments, I exchange messages with my language teachers in my target language. This connection with my teachers enables me to experience the culture as well as the language.

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It’s impossible for me to imagine my continuous progress with Japanese and Korean without Premium PLUS. Everything—from the SRS flashcards to my language teachers—makes learning languages enjoyable and clear-cut.

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Subscribe to Posted by PortuguesePod101.com in Feature Spotlight, Learn Portuguese, Portuguese Language, Portuguese Online, Site Features, Speak Portuguese, Team PortuguesePod101

Master Portuguese Word Order & Sentence Structure for Good

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Whether you loved playing with building blocks as a kid or not, constructing sentences in Portuguese will be just like child’s play! With this handy guide, you’ll be ready to form your sentences seamlessly, and impress any locals with how natural you sound. 

If you already know the most popular verbs in Portuguese, have learned the best adjectives to use, and are ready to make your own sentences, there’s just one thing you need to do…put all the parts together! This is where you need to make a decision: In which order do you put the words? Luckily, the Portuguese sentence structure is pretty straightforward. 

Even though we’re dealing with a language filled with exceptions and complicated rules, when it comes to Portuguese word order, things are much simpler! French and English have lots of inversions and scary things like that, but Portuguese doesn’t have those problems. In this article, we take a step-by-step approach that will make learning proper word order in Brazilian Portuguese as easy as possible. 

So get your verbs ready, brush up on the adverbs and adjectives, and come along for the ride. You’ll master the Brazilian Portuguese word order in no time!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. The Building Blocks
  2. Making the Basics Crystal-Clear
  3. Make it Juicy: Adding Information
  4. No Way: Negative Sentences
  5. Ask and You Shall Get: Asking Questions
  6. The Final Brick: Prepositional Phrases
  7. Exercise It
  8. Next Stop: Learn More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

1. The Building Blocks

Improve Pronunciation

1 – The Foundation

Let’s start with more good news, shall we? As in many other languages, including English, word order in Portuguese follows the SVO structure

What does that mean? Simply put, the basic Portuguese sentence structure is:

1. Subject

2. Verb

3. Object

Take the following examples:

  • Elas comem batatas. (“They eat potatoes.”)
  • Eu saí do parque. (“I left the park.”)
A Group of People Eating French Fries from a Basket

Try not to get hungry with all the potato examples!

2 – Getting Ahead of the Competition

Step aside, complicated languages (at least this once)! Portuguese word order has some advantages over English. After all, in Portuguese, you won’t need to make complex inversions or add particles to ask questions.

Another difference is that, in Portuguese, subjects can be implicit. Many sentences might not include the subject, but people know who the subject is. If you need to brush up on this, hop up to the Portuguese Verbs article. 

Lastly, while in English the adjective comes before the noun, the opposite happens in Portuguese. But don’t worry, we’ll talk more about adjectives and other modifiers later on.

2. Making the Basics Crystal-Clear

We already saw that the basic Portuguese word order is SVO. But if that didn’t make things very clear for you, it’s recap time! The three basic elements in a sentence are:

  • Subject: indicates who or what performs the action in the sentence
  • Verb: describes an action, state, or natural phenomena
  • Object: noun or noun phrase acted upon by the subject

Let’s go back to the basic sentences we used before:

  • Elas comem batatas. (“They eat potatoes.”)
  • Eu saí do parque. (“I left the park.”)

To phrase a question, the same order applies. Isn’t that great? Basically, you’ll say the same thing, only changing the intonation to indicate that it’s a question:

  • Elas comem batatas? (“Do they eat potatoes?”)
  • Eu saí do parque? (“Did I leave the park?”)

What about sentences with compound tenses, or in other words, more than one verb? You’ll still use the exact same order!

  • Eu estou saindo do parque. (“I am leaving the park.”)

Lastly, remember that the subject can be implicit sometimes. Since the verb indicates the person already, you can drop the subject in most cases.
Saí do parque. (“I left the park.”)

Sometimes, we don’t use the implicit subject because it wouldn’t be clear who the verb is referring to. For example, if you said: 
  • Comem batatas? (“Eat potatoes?”)
It wouldn’t be clear if you were talking about eles (“they,” masculine), elas (“they,” feminine), or vocês (plural “you”).

3. Make it Juicy: Adding Information

Time to add a little more detail to those sentences. Modifiers are elements like adjectives, adverbs, and numerals. They’re essential “building blocks” in the Portuguese sentence structure, adding context and important information. Let’s get to it!

A Group of Girls Talking and Laughing

The best stories need details.

1 – Adjectives

Adjectives are attributes of nouns. In Portuguese, the adjective usually follows the noun it refers to:

  • Vinho tinto (“Red wine”)
  • Bola pesada (“Heavy ball”)
  • Parque grande (“Big park”)
  • Computador velho (“Old computer”)

Going back to our example:

  • Elas comem batatas cozidas. (“They eat boiled potatoes.”)

In some cases, the adjective can also come before the noun. There isn’t a very defined rule for this, but the placement of the adjective might subtly impact the connotation of what’s being said. You can think of it this way:

  • When the adjective is adding an objective, direct attribute to the noun, place it afterwards:

Escrevi um texto grande. (“I wrote a big [long] text.”) 

  • When the adjective is adding a more subjective, connotative, or even poetic attribute to the noun, place it beforehand:

Escrevi um grande texto. (“I wrote a great text.”)

Here’s another set of examples where the position of the adjective impacts the meaning:

  • Meus vizinhos velhos. (“My old neighbors.”) — my neighbors who are of old age
  • Meus velhos vizinhos. (“My old neighbors.”) — people who have been my neighbors for a long time

Of course, sometimes you can place an adjective before or after the noun and retain the same meaning. With practice and lots of listening, this will become more natural to you!

  • Eu ganhei lindas flores. (“I got beautiful flowers.”)
  • Eu ganhei flores lindas. (“I got beautiful flowers.”)

2 – Adverbs

Adverbs are words or phrases that modify or add information to other elements in the sentence. They can go at the beginning or end of a sentence.

  • Hoje, elas comem batatas. (“Today, they eat potatoes.”)
  • Elas comem batatas hoje. (“They eat potatoes today.”)
  • Elas comem batatas cuidadosamente. (“They eat potatoes carefully.”)
  • Cuidadosamente, elas comem batatas. (“Carefully, they eat potatoes.”)
  • Lentamente, eu saí do parque. (“Slowly, I left the park.”)
  • Eu saí do parque lentamente. (“I left the park slowly.”)

3 – Numerals, articles, quantifiers, and pronouns

In Brazilian Portuguese word order, all of these elements go before the noun they refer to, but after the verb. 

  • Elas comem duas batatas. (“They eat two potatoes.”)
  • Elas comem as batatas. (“They eat the potatoes.”)
  • Elas comem muitas batatas. (“They eat lots of potatoes.”)
  • Elas comem aquelas batatas. (“They eat those potatoes.”)
  • Elas comem as minhas batatas. (“They eat my potatoes.”)

Notice that, if you want to specify how many people are performing the action, the numeral will appear after the subject but before the verb. For example:
Elas três comem seis batatas. (“The three of them eat six potatoes.”)

A Man Deciding between an Apple or Cake for Dessert

Ele quer as duas sobremesas. (“He wants both desserts.”)

4 – Multiple modifiers

Want to spice things up and add a lot of information to your Portuguese sentences? When using more than one modifier, just follow the same rules we discussed above. 

  • Hoje, elas comem aquelas duas batatas grandes. (“Today, they eat those two big potatoes.”)

Why does aquelas go before duas? Well, the other way around wouldn’t make sense in Portuguese, just like it wouldn’t make sense to say “They eat two those big potatoes.” As a rule of thumb, keep the numeral closer to the noun.

Let’s take a look at another example:

  • Eu saí daquele parque cedo. (“I left that park early.”)

→ Practice your listening skills with this Portuguese lesson available on PortuguesePod101.com. It has great examples of sentences with multiple modifiers! 

4. No Way: Negative Sentences

Improve Listening

When it comes to constructing a negative sentence in Portuguese, the easiest way to do it is by adding the word não (“no”). You can also use words like nunca (“never”) or nem (“nor”). 

The sentence structure won’t change much. Add those negative words before the verb:

  • Elas não comem batatas. (“They don’t eat potatoes.”)
  • Eu nunca vou ao parque. (“I never go to the park.”)

You can also double down to add emphasis, and add another não at the end of the sentence:

  • Elas não comem batatas, não. (“They don’t eat potatoes.”)

Eu nunca vou ao parque, não. (“I never go to the park.”)

/!


When using the verb ir to express “going somewhere,” the grammatically correct preposition to use is a. For example: 
  • Você foi à escola? (“Did you go to school?”)
    • In this case, the preposition a is followed by the definite article a, resulting in à
  • .
  • Eu nunca vou ao parque. (“I never go to the park.”)
    • In this case, the preposition a is followed by the definite article o, resulting in ao.
However, chances are you’ll hear it differently in colloquial conversations. 
  • Você foi na escola? (“Did you go to school?”)
    • In this case, the preposition em is followed by the definite article a, resulting in na.
  • Eu nunca vou no parque. (“I never go to the park.”)
    • In this case, the preposition em is followed by the definite article o, resulting in no.
Grammatically speaking, using the preposition em in these cases is incorrect, but is widely done in Brazil.
A Girl Sticking Her Tongue Out in Disgust while Eating Peas

Eu nunca vou gostar de ervilha! (“I’ll never like peas!”)

5. Ask and You Shall Get: Asking Questions

We already saw that the Portuguese word order stays the same when asking questions. Using the same word order, all you have to do is change the intonation. 

But what if you want to be more specific when asking questions? No problem! The Portuguese sentence structure continues to be very straightforward even if you need to add words like “when,” “where,” “how,” and “why.” Simply place those words at the beginning of the sentence. 

  • Como elas comem batatas? (“How do they eat potatoes?”)
  • Quando elas comem batatas? (“When do they eat potatoes?”)
  • Por que elas comem batatas? (“Why do they eat potatoes?”)
  • Onde elas comem batatas? (“Where do they eat potatoes?”)

Colloquially, it’s also common to use—and even more so, to hear—those words being put at the end of the sentence:

  • Elas comem batatas onde? (“Where do they eat potatoes?”)

Elas comem batatas, por quê? (“Why do they eat potatoes?”)

/!


Notice that, when placed at the end of the sentence, por quê (“why”) has to be accentuated. This is true only when por que is used to ask a question. 

When it comes to porque, written as a single word, the rule is a bit different. When porque means “because,” it’s not accentuated. Porquê is only accentuated when it becomes a noun, in which case it means “the reason why.”

To recap, these are the four forms you might encounter:
  • Por que
    • Por que ele não veio? (“Why didn’t he come?”)
  • Por quê
    • Mas por quê? (“But why?”)
  • Porque
    • Porque ele não gosta de festas. (“Because he doesn’t like parties.”)
  • Porquê 
    • O porquê eu não sei. (“The reason why, I don’t know.”)

6. The Final Brick: Prepositional Phrases

Let’s say you don’t want to wait for questions using “where,” “when,” and “how.” Rather, you want to create a sentence that already includes the answer to those questions, with all the details you want. Well, in these cases, we need prepositional phrases. 

Prepositional phrases are phrases that modify a verb or a noun, adding context and information. Most importantly, they show how the words in a sentence relate to each other. 

  • Elas comem batatas no restaurante. (“They eat potatoes at the restaurant.”)
  • Elas comem batatas antes da academia. (“They eat potatoes before the gym.”) 
  • Elas comem batatas com casca. (“They eat potatoes with skin.”)

Most of the time, prepositional phrases go after the main SVO part of the sentence, as in the examples above. In some cases, it also makes sense and is considered correct to invert the order.

  • Antes da academia, elas comem batatas. (“Before the gym, they eat potatoes.”)

Again, there isn’t a hard rule about when you can place the prepositional phrase before the main sentence, as it has a lot to do with the meaning (or lack of) in each case. For example, it wouldn’t make sense to say:

  • Com casca, elas comem batatas. (“With skin, they eat potatoes.”)

Working with more than one prepositional phrase? The same logic applies: you can always place the prepositional phrase at the end. Some prepositional phrases, especially the ones relating to time, can go at the beginning of the sentence. For example:

  • Antes de treinar, elas comem batatas no carro. (“Before training, they eat potatoes in the car.”)
  • Na sexta, vou ao parque longe de casa com minha irmã. (“On Friday, I go to the park that’s far from my home with my sister.”)
  • Você comprou o prato na loja cara com seu pai. (“You bought the plate in the expensive store with your father.”)

7. Exercise It

After learning where all the individual parts go, it’s time for you to put the complete picture together! Put your knowledge of the Portuguese word order to the test. Let’s take it slow and build a complex sentence together, adding each part separately.

Write each of the sentences below in Portuguese. Once you’re done, scroll down to see the answers. No peeking before finishing! If you need to double-check something, feel free to go back to the explanations given before. Ready?

  • Maria cooked. ______________________________________________________________________
  • Maria cooked dinner. _________________________________________________________________
  • Maria cooked a big dinner. ____________________________________________________________
  • Maria cooked a big dinner quickly. ______________________________________________________
  • Maria cooked a big dinner quickly with her dad. ____________________________________________
  • Maria cooked a big dinner quickly with her dad today. _______________________________________
  • __________________________________________________________________________________
  • Maria cooked a big dinner quickly with her dad today, at his house. ____________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________
  • Maria didn’t cook with her dad today. ____________________________________________________
  • Who cooked dinner today? ____________________________________________________________
Someone Whisking Eggs in a Bowl

Maria fez uma omelete deliciosa! (“Maria made a delicious omelette!”)

Got it? Take a look at the answers below.

  • Maria cozinhou. (“Maria cooked.”)
  • Maria cozinhou o jantar. (“Maria cooked dinner.”)
  • Maria cozinhou um grande jantar. (“Maria cooked a big dinner.”)
  • Maria cozinhou um grande jantar rapidamente. (“Maria cooked a big dinner quickly.”) 
  • Maria cozinhou um grande jantar rapidamente com seu pai. (“Maria cooked a big dinner quickly with her dad.”)
  • Maria cozinhou um grande jantar com seu pai hoje. OR Hoje, Maria cozinhou um grande jantar com seu pai. (“Maria cooked a big dinner quickly with her dad today.”)
  • Hoje, Maria cozinhou rapidamente um grande jantar com seu pai na casa dele. (“Maria cooked a big dinner quickly with her dad today, at his house.”)
  • Maria não cozinhou com seu pai hoje. (“Maria didn’t cook with her dad today.”)
  • Quem cozinhou o jantar hoje? (“Who cooked dinner today?”)

Next Stop: Learn More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

Feeling comfortable with the Portuguese sentence structure, and ready to put each word where it belongs? We hope this guide was the resource you needed to continue on your language-learning journey! Come back to this article whenever you need to refresh your memory.

Are you ready to build your own sentences with our explanation of Portuguese word order? Do you think we forgot an important aspect? Tell us in the comments!

The best way to really grasp the concepts we saw today is to practice them in real-life situations. Write a note to yourself or a friend, all in Portuguese. Or try more translation exercises.

To take your skills to the next level, continue exploring PortuguesePod101! We have lots of free Portuguese resources and vocabulary lists for all situations. Go ahead and choose your favorite tools to expand your learning opportunities.
If you want to take your learning experience further, members of PortuguesePod101.com get access to the largest language lesson library in the world, with thousands of real lessons by real teachers. Perfect for anyone who wants to learn from anywhere, feel motivated, and be ready to speak Portuguese with confidence.

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Telling Time in Portuguese – Everything You Need to Know

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What’s your relationship with the clock like? Does it run your day from a morning alarm to a cut-off chime for bed, or are you more of a go-with-the-flow type, letting your mood and emotions decide how much you fall in line with time?

Understanding time in Portuguese is an important part of your studies. As humans, our lives are filled with habits and schedules. From waking up and going to work or gym, to missing rush hour traffic on our way home, we’re always aware of time. We have routines around coffee breaks, meetings, soccer games and vacations. In fact, time can seem rather capricious – going slowly, going fast, sometimes against us, other times on our side – like a force that has a life of its own.

In science, time is often referred to as a fourth dimension and many physicists and philosophers think that if we understood the physics of the universe, we would see that time is an illusion. We sense an ‘arrow’ or direction of time because we have memories, but really time is just a construct that humans have created to help make sense of the world. 

On the other hand, poets through the ages have written impassioned thoughts about time, depicting it as both a relentless thief and an immensely precious resource, not to be wasted at any cost.

Well, poets and scientists may have their views, but in our everyday lives there’s the question of practicality, isn’t there? I mean, if you have plans and want things to happen your way, there’s a certain amount of conforming to the human rules of time that you can’t avoid. 

In ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, the prince has a rose that he falls in love with, and he tenderly protects it with a windscreen and places it under a glass dome on his tiny planet.  I love this quote from the book:  “It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”  If we truly love something, we spend time with it and not a second of that time could ever be seen as wasted. I feel that way about horses, my children, travel and learning languages

With that in mind, I’d like to take you on a journey into ‘time’ from a Portuguese perspective. It’s fun, it’s informative and it’s a basic necessity if you’re learning the language – especially if you plan to travel. PortuguesePod101 has all the vocab you need to fall in love with telling time in Portuguese, and not a minute will be wasted.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. Talking about Time in Portuguese
  2. How to Tell the Time in Portuguese
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about Time in Portuguese

As a traveler, your primary need for knowing how to read the hour in Portuguese will be for transportation schedules: the bus, train, airplane, ferry, taxi… whatever you plan to use to get from A to B, it won’t wait for you! Fortunately, it’s really not complicated. You already have a firm grasp of time in English and you know you’ll need to reset your watch and phone to the local time. Great – that means you’ll have the correct time on your person. 

We’re so used to just looking at our phones for the time, that it’s easy to take this convenience for granted and forget some travel basics: in a foreign country, times won’t always be written digitally. If you see the time written in words, it’ll be the same challenge to you as hearing it spoken: you’ll need to be familiar with the language. 

You may be surprised at how often ‘time’ comes into conversation. Learning the Portuguese terms for time will help you when you have to call a taxi, ask about opening and closing times of events and tourist attractions, restaurants and bars and even late-night food cafes.

My biggest annoyance when traveling is not being able to get coffee and amazingly, even at nice hotels this has happened more times than I care to think about. I’ll be up late planning something, writing my blog or chatting and when I go looking for coffee downstairs, I’m told the kitchen is closed or the ‘coffee lady’ has gone to sleep. Frustrating!

If you’re doing a homestay or at a youth hostel or backpackers, there will probably also be a limited timeframe for when you can grab dinner. Do you know how to ask when it’s time to eat in Portuguese? I’ve learned that it’s vital to know how to make my queries clearly understood to accommodation staff and for me to clearly understand their answers. Perfect your ‘time in Portuguese’ translations early on – you’ll thank me. 

At PortuguesePod101, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of Portuguese time words and phrases to get you going. 

Pedestrians in a city

1- Morning – manhã

Morning is the time when we wake up from our dreamworld, hopefully fully rested and restored; we brew the first delicious cup of coffee for the day and watch the sunrise as we prepare for another glorious twelve hours of life. No matter what happened the day before, a new morning is a chance to make everything right. 

I like these quiet hours for language practice, as my mind is clear and receptive to learning new things. I start by writing the Portuguese time, date and word of the day on my whiteboard, then get back under the covers for an engrossing lesson.

Time in the morning is written as AM or A.M., which stands for ante meridiem – meaning ‘before midday’ in Latin.

Person typing with coffee next to them

2- Evening – noite

Evening is the part of night when we’re still awake and doing things, winding down from the day. Whether you enjoy a tasty international dinner with friends, go out to see a show, or curl up on the couch with a Portuguese snack and your favorite TV series, evening is a good time to forget your worries and do something that relaxes you. If you’re checking in with your Facebook friends, say hi to us, too!  

Evening is also an ideal time to catch up on your Portuguese studies. The neighbourhood outside is likely to be quieter and time is yours, so grab a glass of wine or a delicious local tea, and see what’s new on your Mac App or Kindle

3- Daytime – dia

Daytime is defined as the period from early morning to early evening when the sun is visible outside. In other words: from sunrise to sunset.  Where you are in the world, as well as the season, will determine how many daylight hours you get. 

Interestingly, in locations north of the Arctic Circle and south of the Antarctic Circle, in summertime the sun does not sink below the horizon within a 24-hour period, bringing the natural phenomenon of the midnight sun.  You could only experience this in the north, though, because there aren’t any permanent human settlements south of the Antarctic Circle.

4- Nighttime – noite

Nighttime is all the hours from sunset to sunrise and depending on where in the country you are, people may be partying all night, or asleep from full-dark. 

In the same northernmost and southernmost regions where you can experience a midnight sun, winter brings the opposite phenomenon: the polar night. Can you imagine a night that lasts for more than 24 hours? 

Girl sleeping; moon and starry sky

5- Hour – hora

An hour is a unit of time made up of 60 minutes and is a variable measure of one-24th of a day – also defined by geeks as 3 600 atomic seconds. Of all the ‘time’ words we use on a daily basis, the hour is the most important, as time of day is typically expressed in terms of hours. 

One of the interesting methods of keeping time that people have come up with is the hourglass. Although the origins are unclear, there’s evidence pointing to the hourglass being invented around 1000 – 1100 AD and one of the ways we know this, is from hourglasses being depicted in very old murals. These days, with clocks and watches in every direction we look, they’re really only used symbolically to represent the passage of time. Still – a powerful reminder of our mortality and to seize the day. In his private journal, the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, wrote: “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”

An hourglass with falling sand

6- Minute – minuto

Use this word when you want to say a more precise time and express minutes in Portuguese. A minute is a unit of time equal to one sixtieth of an hour, or 60 seconds. A lot can happen in the next 60 seconds. For example, your blood will circulate three times through your entire vascular system and your heart will pump about 2.273 litres of blood. 

7- O’clock – hora

We use “o’clock” when there are no minutes and we’re saying the exact hour, as in “It’s two o’clock.” In Portuguese, this is essentially the same as saying “hour.”

The term “o’clock” is a contraction of the term “of the clock”. It comes from 15th-century references to medieval mechanical clocks. At the time, sundials were also common timekeepers. Therefore, to make clear one was referencing a clock’s time, they would say something like, “It is six of the clock” – now shortened to “six o’clock”.

We only use this term when talking about the 12 hour clock, though, not the 24 hour clock (more on that later!) The 12-hour clock can be traced back as far as Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt. Both an Egyptian sundial for daytime use and an Egyptian water clock for nighttime use were found in the tomb of Pharaoh Amenhotep I. Dating to c.1500 BC, these clocks divided their respective times of use into 12 hours each. The Romans also used a 12-hour clock. Daylight was divided into 12 equal hours and the night was divided into four watches. 

These days, the internet has made it very easy to know what the time is in any part of the world.  Speaking of which, why not add the Portuguese time zone clock to your laptop?

Many different clocks

8- Half past – e meia

When the time is thirty minutes past the hour, in English we say “half past”. Just like the hour, the half-hour is universally used as an orientation point; some languages speak of 30 minutes before the hour (subtraction), whereas others speak of 30 minutes after the hour (addition). 

9- AM – da manhã

As mentioned earlier, AM is the abbreviation of the Latin ante meridiem and means before midday. Using ‘AM’ as a tag on your time simply tells people you’re speaking about a time in the morning. In some countries, morning is abbreviated to “AM” and you’ll see this on shop signs everywhere, announcing the opening hour. A typical shop sign might read something like this:

“Business hours are from 7AM to 6PM.” 

Woman in a shop, adjusting the shop sign

10- PM – da noite

PM is the abbreviation of the Latin post meridiem and means after midday. Along with ‘AM’, you’ll usually find ‘PM’ on store signs and businesses, indicating the closing hours. It’s advisable to learn the difference between the two, since some establishments might only have one or the other on the sign. For example, a night club sign might say: 

“Open from 10 PM until late.” 

11- What time is it now? – Que horas são agora?

Here’s a very handy question you should memorize, as you can use it in any situation where you don’t have your watch or phone on you. This could be on the beach, in a club, or if you’re stuck anywhere with a flat phone battery. It happens at home, so it can happen when you’re traveling! 

Woman on the phone, looking at her watch

12- One o’clock – uma hora

One o’clock, or 1 PM, is the average lunch time for many people around the world – at least, we try to get a meal in at some point between midday and 2 PM.  In terms of duration, the nations vary: Brazililans reportedly take the longest lunch breaks, averaging 48 minutes, whereas Greece reports an average break of only 19 minutes. Historically, Greeks were known for their very leisurely lunch breaks, so it just goes to show how fast the world is changing. If you’re curious about what to expect in Brazil, try asking our online community about lunch time in Portuguese.

13- Two o’clock – duas horas

In his last days, Napoleon Bonaparte famously spoke of “Two o’clock in the morning courage” – meaning unprepared, spontaneous  courage. He was talking about soldiers who are brave enough to tumble out of bed in an instant, straight into action, without time to think or strategize. Do you think you have what it takes? I’m pretty sure all mothers know this feeling!

14- Three o’clock – três horas

3 AM can be perceived as the coldest time of day and is not an hour we want to wake up, but meteorologists will tell you that the coldest time is actually half an hour after sunrise. Even though the sun is peeking over the horizon, the solar radiation is still weaker than the earth’s infrared cooling to space.

Clock pointing to 3 o'clock

15- Four o’clock – quatro horas

Do you know anyone who purposely gets up at 4 o’clock in the morning? As crazy as it sounds, there is something to be said for rising at 4 AM while the rest of the world sleeps. If you live on a farm, it might even be normal for you. I know that whenever I’m staying in the countryside, rising early is a lot easier, because there’s a satisfying reason to do so: watching a sunrise from a rooftop, with uninterrupted views, can’t be beat! It’s also likely that you’ll be woken by a cock crowing, or other animals waking to graze in the fresh pre-dawn air. 

In the world of business, you’ll find a small group of ambitious individuals – many entrepreneurs – who swear by the 4 o’clock in the morning rise. I’m not sure I like that idea, but I’d wake up at 4 AM if it was summer and I had my car packed for a vacation!

16- Five o’clock – cinco horas

What better way to signal the transition between work and play than the clock hands striking 5 o’clock? It’s the hour most working people look forward to each day – at least, those who get to stop working at 5 PM.  Meanwhile, millions of retired folks are taking out the wine glasses, as 5 PM is widely accepted as an appropriate time to pour the first glass. I don’t know how traditional your families are, but for as long as I’ve been alive, my grandparents have counted down the milliseconds to five o’clock, and the hour is announced with glee.

A sunset

17- Six o’clock – seis horas

This is the time many working people and school kids wake up in the morning. In many parts of the world, 6 o’clock is also a good time to watch the sunrise, go for a run or hit the hiking trails. 

18- Seven o’clock – sete horas

Health gurus will tell you that 7 o’clock in the morning is the best time to eat your first meal of the day, and 7 o’clock in the evening is the time you should eat your last meal. I’ve tried that and I agree, but it’s not always easy!

19- Eight o’clock – oito horas

8 o’clock in the morning is the time that most businesses open around the world, and the time most kids are in their first lesson at school – still full of energy and willing to participate. Interestingly, it’s also the time most babies are born in the world!  In the evening, 8 o’clock is many young children’s bedtime and the time for parents to watch the evening news. 

Smiling boy in school with his hand up

20- Nine o’clock – nove horas

It’s good to occasionally sleep late on a weekend and for me, this means waking up at 9 AM. If you’re traveling in Brazil and staying at a hotel, planning to sleep late means politely requesting to not be woken up by room service.

21- Ten o’clock – dez horas

10 o’clock in the morning is a popular time to conduct business meetings, and for first break time at schools. We’re usually wide awake and well into our day by then.  But what about the same hour at night? Modern people are often still awake and watching TV at 10 PM, but this isn’t exactly good for us. Experts say that the deepest and most regenerative sleep occurs between 10 PM and 2 AM, so we should already be sound asleep by ten o’clock. 

In advertising, have you ever noticed that the hands of the clock usually point to 10:10? Have a look next time you see a watch on a billboard or magazine. The reason? Aesthetics. Somehow, the human brain finds the symmetry pleasing. When the clock hands are at ten and two, they create a ‘smiley’ face and don’t cover any key details, like a logo, on the clock face. 

22- Eleven o’clock – onze horas

When I see this time written in words, it makes me think of the hilarious Academy Award-winning very short film, “The Eleven O’Clock”, in which the delusional patient of a psychiatrist believes that he is actually the doctor. 

Then there’s the tradition of ‘elevenses’ – tea time at eleven o’clock in the morning. Strongly ingrained in British culture, elevenses is typically a serving of hot tea or coffee with scones or pastries on the side. It’s a great way to stave off hunger pangs before lunch time arrives. In fact, if you were a hobbit, ‘Elevenses’ would be your third meal of the day!

23- Twelve o’clock – doze horas

Twelve o’clock in the daytime is considered midday, when the sun is at its zenith and the temperature reaches its highest for that day; it’s written as 12 noon or 12 PM. In most parts of the world, though, this doesn’t happen at precisely 12 PM. ‘Solar noon’ is the time when the sun is actually at its highest point in the sky. The local or clock time of solar noon depends on the longitude and date. If it’s summertime, it’s advisable to stay in the shade during this hour – or at least wear good quality sunblock.

Midnight is the other ‘twelve o’clock’, of course. Midnight is written as 12 AM and is technically the first minute of the morning. On the 24-hour clock, midnight is written as 00:00. 

Sun at noon in a blue cloudy sky

2. How to Tell the Time in Portuguese

Telling the time

Using a clock to read the time in Brazil is going to be the same as in your own country, since you’re dealing with numbers and not words. You’ll know the time in your head and be able to say it in English, but will you be able to say it out loud in Portuguese? 

The first step to saying the time in Portuguese is knowing your numbers. How are you doing with that? If you can count to twelve in Portuguese, you’re halfway there! We’ve already covered the phrases you’ll need to say the exact hour, as in “five o’clock”, as well as how to say “half past”. What remains is the more specific phrases to describe what the minute hand is doing.

In everyday speech, it’s common to say the minutes past or before the hour. Often we round the minutes off to the nearest five. 

Then, there’s the 24-hour clock. Also known as ‘military time’, the 24-hour clock is used in most countries and, as such, is useful to understand. You’ll find that even in places where the 12-hour clock is standard, certain people will speak in military time or use a combination of the two.  No doubt you’ve also noticed that in written time, the 24-hour clock is commonly used.  One of the most prominent places you’ll have seen this is on airport flight schedules.

Airport flight schedule

Knowing how to tell military time in Portuguese is really not complicated if you know your numbers up to twenty-four. One advantage of using the 24-hour clock in Portuguese, is there’s no chance of confusing AM and PM.

Once you know how to say the time, it will be pretty easy to also write the time in Portuguese. You’re already learning what the different hours and minutes look and sound like, so give yourself some writing practice of the same. 

3. Conclusion

Now that you understand the vocabulary for telling time in Portuguese, the best thing you can do to really lock it down is to just practice saying Portuguese time daily. Start by replacing English with Portuguese whenever you need to say the time; in fact, do this whenever you look at your watch. Say the time to yourself in Portuguese and it will become a habit. When learning a new language, the phrases you use habitually are the ones your brain will acquire. It feels amazing when that turning point comes!

To help yourself gain confidence, why don’t you make use of our various apps, downloadable for iPhone and iPad, as well as Android? Choose what works best for you. In addition, we have so many free resources available to supplement your learning, that you simply can’t go wrong. Some of these are:

If you prefer watching your lessons on video, check out our YouTube channel – there are hundreds of videos to browse. For those of you with Roku, we also have a TV channel you can watch.

Well, it’s time for me to say goodbye and for you to practice saying the time in Portuguese. Look at the nearest clock and try to say the exact time, down to the seconds. See you again soon at PortuguesePod101!

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Essential Vocabulary for Directions in Portuguese

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Do you know your left from your right in Portuguese? Asking for directions can mean the difference between a heavenly day on the beach and a horrible day on your feet, hot and bothered and wondering how to even get back to the hotel. Believe me – I know! On my earlier travels, I didn’t even know simple terms like ‘go straight ahead’ or ‘go west,’ and I was always too shy to ask locals for directions. It wasn’t my ego, but rather the language barrier that held me back. I’ve ended up in some pretty dodgy situations for my lack of directional word skills.

This never needs to happen! When traveling in Brazil, you should step out in confidence, ready to work your Portuguese magic and have a full day of exploring. It’s about knowing a few basic phrases and then tailoring them with the right directional words for each situation. Do you need to be pointed south in Portuguese? Just ask! Believe me, people are more willing to help than you might think. It’s when you ask in English that locals might feel too uncertain to answer you. After all, they don’t want to get you lost. For this reason, it also makes sense that you learn how to understand people’s responses. 

Asking directions in Brazil is inevitable. So, learn to love it! Our job here at PortuguesePod101 is to give you the confidence you need to fully immerse and be the intrepid adventurer you are.

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  1. Talking about position and direction in Portuguese
  2. Getting directions in Portuguese
  3. Conclusion

1. Talking about position and direction in Portuguese

Have you ever tried saying the compass directions of north, south, east and west in Portuguese? These words are good to know, being the most natural and ancient method of finding direction. In the days before GPS – before the invention of the compass, even – knowing the cardinal directions was critical to finding the way. Certainly, if you were lost somewhere in the mountain regions now and using a map to navigate, you’d find them useful. Even more so if you and a Portuguese friend were adrift at sea, following the stars!

In most situations, though, we rely on body relative directions – your basic up, down, left and right, forward and backwards. Most cultures use relative directions for reference and Portuguese is no exception. Interestingly, in a few old languages there are no words for left and right and people still rely on cardinal directions every day. Can you imagine having such a compass brain?

A black compass on a colored map

Well, scientists say that all mammals have an innate sense of direction, so getting good at finding your way is just a matter of practice. It’s pretty cool to think that we were born already pre-wired to grasp directions; the descriptive words we invented are mere labels to communicate these directions to others! Thus, the need to learn some Portuguese positional vocabulary. So, without further ado… let’s dive in.

1- Top – topo

If planting a flag at the top of the highest mountain in Brazil is a goal you’d rather leave for  adrenaline junkies, how about making it to the top of the highest building? Your view of the city will be one you’ll never forget, and you can take a selfie  for Twitter with your head in the clouds. 

man on the top rung of a ladder in the sky, about to topple off

2- Bottom – fundo

The ‘bottom’ can refer to the lower end of a road, the foot of a mountain, or the ground floor of a building. It’s the place you head for after you’ve been to the top!

What are your favorite ‘bottoms’? I love the first rung of a ladder, the base of a huge tree or the bottom of a jungle-covered hill. What can I say? I’m a climber. Divers like the bottom of the ocean and foxes like the bottom of a hole. Since you’re learning Portuguese, hopefully you’ll travel from the top to the bottom of Brazil.

3- Up – cima

This is a very common and useful word to know when seeking directions. You can go up the street, up an elevator, up a cableway, up a mountain… even up into the sky in a hot air balloon. It all depends on how far up you like to be!

Hot air balloons in a blue cloudy sky

4- Down – baixo

What goes up, must surely come down. This is true of airplanes, flaming arrows and grasshoppers – either aeronautics or gravity will take care of that. In the case of traveling humans who don’t wish to go down at terminal velocity, it’s useful to know phrases such as, “Excuse me, where is the path leading back down this mountain?”

5- Middle – meio

In Lord of the Rings, Tolkien’s characters live in Middle-earth, which is just an ancient word for the inhabited world of men; it referred to the physical world, as opposed to the unseen worlds above and below it. The ancients also thought of the human world as vaguely in the middle of the encircling seas.

When we talk about the ‘middle’, we’re referring to a point that’s roughly between two horizontal lines – like the middle of the road or the middle of a river. While you’re unlikely to ask for directions to the ‘middle’ of anything, you might hear it as a response. For example, “You’re looking for the castle ruins? But they’re in the middle of the forest!”

Castle ruins in a forest

6- Center – centro

Although similar in meaning to ‘middle’, this word is more specific. Technically, it means the exact central point of a circular area, equally distant from every point on the circumference.  When asking for directions to the center of town, though, we don’t mean to find a mathematically-accurate pinpoint!

Bull’s eye on a dartboard

7- Front – frente

The front is the place or position that is seen first; it’s the most forward part of something.  In the case of a hotel, the front is going to be easy to recognize, so if you call a taxi and are told to wait “in front of the hotel”, you won’t have a problem. It’s pretty cool how just knowing the main Portuguese directional words can help you locate something if there’s a good landmark nearby.

8- Back – atrás

I once rented a house in a charming little street that was tucked away at the back of a popular mall. It was so easy to find, but my boss took three hours to locate it from 300 meters away. Why? Well, because she spoke no English and I had no clue what the word for ‘back’ was. All she heard, no matter which way I said it, was “mall, mall, mall”.  As a result, she hunted in front of and next to the mall until she was frazzled. 

Knowing how to describe the location of your own residence is probably the first Portuguese ‘directions’ you should practice. This skill will certainly come in handy if you’re lost and looking for your way home. 

9- Side – lado

If the place you’re looking for is at the ‘side’ of something, it will be located to the left or the right of that landmark. That could mean you’re looking for an alleyway beside a building, or a second entrance (as opposed to the main entrance). 

As an example, you might be told that your tour bus will be waiting at the right side of the building, not in front. Of course, then you’ll also need to understand “It’s on the right” in Portuguese.

Jeepney taxi parked at the side of a building

10- East – leste

If you’re facing north, then east is the direction of your right hand. It’s the direction toward which the Earth rotates about its axis, and therefore the general direction from which the sun appears to rise. If you want to go east using a compass for navigation, you should set a bearing of 90°. 

We think of Asia as the ‘East’. Geographically, this part of the world lies in the eastern hemisphere, but there’s so much more that we’ve come to associate with this word. The East signifies ancient knowledge and is symbolic of enlightenment in many cultures.

Monks reading on a boulder in front of a Buddha statue

11- West – oeste

West is the opposite to east and it’s the direction in which the sun sets. To go west using a compass, you’ll set a bearing of 270 degrees. 

If you were on the planet Venus, which rotates in the opposite direction from the Earth (retrograde rotation), the Sun would rise in the west and set in the east… not that you’d be able to see the sun through Venus’s opaque clouds. 

Culturally, the West refers mainly to the Americas and Europe, but also to Australia and New Zealand, which are geographically in the East. The Western way of thinking is very different to that of the East. One of the most striking differences is individualism versus collectivism. In the West, we grew up with philosophies of freedom and independence, whereas in the East concepts of unity are more important. 

Food for thought: as a traveler who’s invested in learning the languages and cultures of places you visit, you have an opportunity to become a wonderfully balanced thinker – something the world needs more of.

12- North – norte

North is the top point of a map and when navigating, you’d set a compass bearing of 360 degrees if you want to go that way. Globes of the earth have the north pole at the top, and we use north as the direction by which we define all other directions.

If you look into the night sky, the North Star (Polaris) marks the way due north. It’s an amazing star, in that it holds nearly still in our sky while the entire northern sky moves around it. That’s because it’s located nearly at the north celestial pole – the point around which the entire northern sky turns. Definitely a boon for lost travelers!

The North Star with the Big Dipper in a night sky

13- South – sul

South is the opposite of north, and it’s perpendicular to the east and west. You can find it with a compass if you set your bearings to 180 degrees. 

The south celestial pole is the point around which the entire southern sky appears to turn. In the night sky of the southern hemisphere, the Southern Cross is a very easy to find constellation with four points in the shape of a diamond. If you come from the southern hemisphere, chances are your dad or mum pointed it out to you when you were a kid. You can use the Southern Cross to find south if traveling by night, so it’s well worth figuring it out!

14- Outside – fora

This word refers to any place that is not under a roof. Perhaps you’ve heard talk about some amazing local bands that will be playing in a nearby town on the weekend. If it’s all happening outside, you’ll be looking for a venue in a park, a stadium or some other big open space. Come rain or shine, outside definitely works for me!

A young woman on someone’s shoulders at an outdoor concert

15- Inside – dentro

I can tolerate being inside if all the windows are open, or if I’m watching the latest Homeland episode. How about you? I suppose going shopping for Portuguese-style accessories would be pretty fun, too, and that will (mostly) be an inside affair. 

16- Opposite – oposto

This is a great word to use as a reference point for locating a place. It’s right opposite that other place! In other words, if you stand with your back to the given landmark, your destination will be right in front of you. 

17- Adjacent – próximo

So, the adorable old man from next door, who looks about ninety-nine, explains in Portuguese that the food market where he works is adjacent to the community hall on the main road. ‘Adjacent’ just means next to or adjoining something else, so… head for the hall! 

While you’re marveling at the wondrous and colorful displays of Portuguese food, think about how all of these delicious stalls lie adjacent to one another. Having a happy visual association with a new word is a proven way to remember it!

Outdoor food market fruit display

18- Toward – em direção a

To go toward something is to go in its direction and get closer to it. This word can often appear in a sentence with ‘straight ahead’, as in:

“Go straight ahead, toward the park.”

If you’ve come to Brazil to teach English, you might have to ask someone how to find your new school. Depending on what town you’re in, you could simply head toward the residential area at lunch time. You’ll see (and probably hear) the primary school soon enough – it will be the big fenced building with all the kids running around the yard!

19- Facing – de frente para

If you look at yourself in a mirror, you’ll be facing your reflection. In other words: you and your reflection look directly at each other.  Many plush hotels are ocean-facing or river-facing, meaning the main entrance is pointed directly at the water, and the beach out front faces the hotel. 

20- Beside – ao lado

I know of a special little place where there’s a gym right beside a river. You can watch the sun go down over the water while working out – it’s amazing. What’s more, you can park your scooter beside the building and it will still be there when you come out.

21- Corner – esquina

I love a corner when it comes to directions. A street corner is where two roads meet at an angle – often 90 degrees – making it easier to find than a location on a straight plane. 

“Which building is the piano teacher in, sir?”

“Oh, that’s easy – it’s the one on the corner.”

The key to a corner is that it leads in two directions. It could form a crossroads, a huge intersection, or it could be the start of a tiny one-way cobblestone street with hidden treasures waiting in the shadow of the buildings.

A white and yellow building on the corner of two streets

22- Distant – distante

When a location is distant, it’s in an outlying area. This Portuguese word refers to the remoteness of the site, not to how long it takes to get there. For that reason, it’s a very good idea to write the directions down, rather than try to memorize them in Portuguese. Even better, get a Portuguese person to write them down for you. This may seem obvious, but always include the location of your starting point! Any directions you’re given will be relative to the exact place you’re starting from.

Man lost on a dusty road, looking at a road map and scratching his head

23- Far – longe

This word has a similar meaning to the previous one, but it speaks more about the fact that it will take some time to get there. If you’re told that your destination is “far”,  you’ll no doubt want to go by public transport if you don’t have your own vehicle. Get your hands on a road map and have the directions explained to you using this map. Don’t hesitate to bring out the highlighters. 

24- Close – perto

This word is always a good one to hear when you have your heart set on a very relaxing day in the sun. It means there’s only a short distance to travel, so you can get there in a heartbeat and let the tanning commence. Remember to grab your Nook Book – learning is enhanced when you’re feeling happy and unencumbered. Being close to ‘home’ also means you can safely steal maximum lazy hours and leave the short return trip for sunset! 

A smiling woman lying in a hammock on the beach

25- By – por

This word identifies the position of a physical object beside another object or a place. A Bed and Breakfast can be ‘by the sea’ if it’s in close proximity to the sea. 

‘By’ can also be used to describe the best mode of transport for your route, as in:

“You can get there by bus.”

26- Surrounding – rodeado

If something is surrounding you, it is on every side and you are enclosed by it – kind of like being in a boat. Of course, we’re not talking about deep water here, unless you’re planning on going fishing. Directions that include this word are more likely to refer to the surrounding countryside, or any other features that are all around the place you’re looking for.

A polar bear stuck on a block of ice, completely surrounded by water.

27- All sides – todos os lados

Another useful descriptive Portuguese term to know is ‘all sides’. It simply means that from a particular point, you will be able to see the same features to the front, back and sides of you. It doesn’t necessarily imply you’ll be completely surrounded, just more-or-less so. Say, for example, you’re visiting the winelands for the day. When you get there, you’ll see vineyards on all sides of you. How stunning! Don’t neglect to sample the local wines – obviously. 

28- Next to – perto de

The person giving you directions is probably standing next to you. The place being described as ‘next to’ something is in a position immediately to one side of it. It could refer to adjoining buildings, neighbouring stores, or the one-legged beggar who sits next to the beautiful flower vendor on weekdays. ‘Next to’ is a great positional term, as everything is next to something! 

“Excuse me, Ma’am.  Where is the train station?”

“It’s that way – next to the tourist market.”

29- Above – acima

This is the direction you’ll be looking at if you turn your head upwards. Relative to where your body is, it’s a point higher than your head. If you’re looking for the location of a place that’s ‘above’ something, it’s likely to be on at least the first floor of a building; in other words, above another floor.

‘Above’ could also refer to something that will be visible overhead when you get to the right place. For example, the road you’re looking for might have holiday decorations strung up from pole to pole above it. In the cities, this is very likely if there’s any kind of festival going on.

View from below of a carnival swing, with riders directly above the viewer

30- Under – embaixo

Under is the opposite of above, and refers to a place that lies beneath something else. In the case of directions in Portuguese, it could refer to going under a bridge – always a great landmark – or perhaps through a subway. In some parts of the world, you can even travel through a tunnel that’s under the sea!

Of course, you might just be missing your home brew and looking for an awesome coffee shop that happens to be under the very cool local gym you were also looking for. Nice find!

2. Getting directions in Portuguese

The quickest and easiest way to find out how to get where you’re going is simply to ask someone. Most people on the streets of Brazil won’t mind being asked at all and will actually appreciate your attempt to ask directions in Portuguese. After all, most tourists are more inclined to ask in their own language and hope for the best. How pedestrian is that, though?

Asking directions

I know, I know – you normally prefer to find your own way without asking. Well, think of it like this: you obviously need to practice asking questions in Portuguese as much as you need to practice small talk, counting, or ordering a beer. Since you can’t very well ask a complete stranger if they would please help you count to five hundred, you’ll have to stick with asking directions!

We spoke earlier about body relative directions and these tend to be the ones we use most. For example:

“Turn left.”

“Go straight.”

“Turn right.” 

Remember, too, that your approach is important. Many people are wary of strangers and you don’t want to scare them off. It’s best to be friendly, direct and get to the point quickly.  A simple ‘Hi, can you help me?” or “Excuse me, I’m a bit lost,” will suffice. If you have a map in your hand, even better, as your intentions will be clear. 

The bottom line is that if you want to find your way around Brazil with ease, it’s a good idea to master these basic phrases. With a little practice, you can also learn how to say directions in Portuguese. Before you know it, you’ll be the one explaining the way!

3. Conclusion

Now that you have over thirty new directional phrases you can learn in Portuguese, there’s no need to fear losing your way when you hit the streets of Brazil. All you need is a polite approach and your own amazing smile, and the locals will be excited to help you. It’s a chance for them to get better at explaining things to a foreigner, too. Most will enjoy that!

I advise keeping a few things handy in your day pack: a street map, a highlighter, a small notebook and pen, and your Portuguese phrasebook. It would be useful to also have the Portuguese WordPower app installed on your phone – available for both iPhone and Android

Here’s a quick challenge to get you using the new terms right away. Can you translate these directions into Portuguese?

“It’s close. Go straight ahead to the top of the hill and turn left at the corner. The building is on the right, opposite a small bus stop.”

You’re doing amazingly well to have come this far! Well done on tackling the essential topic of ‘directions’ – it’s a brave challenge that will be immensely rewarding. Trust me, when you’re standing at a beautiful location that you found just by knowing what to ask in Portuguese, you’re going to feel pretty darn good.

If you’re as excited as I am about taking Portuguese to an even deeper level, we have so much more to offer you. Did you know that we’ve already had over 1 billion lesson downloads? I know – we’re blown away by that, too. It’s amazing to be bringing the world’s languages to people who are so hungry for learning. Let me share some of our best options for you:

  • If you haven’t done so already, grab your free lifetime account as a start. You’ll get audio and video lessons, plus vocabulary building tools. 
  • My favorite freebie is the word of the day, which will arrive in your inbox every morning. Those are the words I remember best!
  • Start listening to Portuguese music. I’m serious – it really works to make the resistant parts of the brain relax and accept the new language. Read about it here for some tips.
  • If you enjoy reading, we have some great iBooks for your daily commute.
  • If you have a Kindle and prefer to do your reading on a picnic blanket,  there are over 6 hours of unique lessons in Portuguese for you right there.

That’s it for today! Join PortuguesePod101 to discover many more ways that we can offer you a truly fun and enriching language learning experience. Happy travels!

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Você Merece Até a Lua: A Guide to Compliments in Portuguese

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Você merece até a lua. (“You’re so great, you deserve everything.” Literally: “You deserve the moon.”)

Few things can help your Portuguese thrive like bonding with native speakers. So what’s the first step in successfully expanding your communication with others? Learning compliments in Portuguese.

One doesn’t need to be “fake” to observe someone and identify personal traits worth mentioning. Compliments are not only a gateway to others’ attention, but also to their culture and habits—you need to formulate them correctly according to the context and local use.

In this article, we’ll introduce you to a compilation of European Portuguese compliments and compliments in Brazilian Portuguese. If you practice them enough, they may make the Portuguese more open to dialogue and the Brazilian more prone to cooperate.

Hopefully, the 20+ options in this article will provide you with a good initial reference as a beginner- or intermediate-level speaker. We’ll cover how to value someone’s work, how to compliment a girl in Portuguese, some other European and Brazilian Portuguese compliments, and the best way to deliver compliments in a Portuguese-speaking country.

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Table of Contents

  1. Complimenting Someone’s Look
  2. Complimenting Someone’s Work
  3. Complimenting Someone’s Skills
  4. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere
  5. What to Expect After Giving Compliments
  6. A raspa do tacho

1. Complimenting Someone’s Look

Before either person opens their mouth, one’s appearance can say a lot about them. In this vein, both girls and boys have a hard time resisting a good compliment in Portuguese! Looks aren’t everything, but they surely are something.

So how do you compliment someone in Portuguese about their looks? Here are some phrases you can remember:

  • Você é linda/lindo. (“You are beautiful/handsome.”)
  • Que bonita(o) está hoje. (“You look good today.”)
  • Você tem um sorriso lindo. (“You have a beautiful smile.”)
  • Você é muito charmoso(a). (“You’re very charming.”)
  • Você é estiloso(a). (“You’re stylish.”)
  • Que gatinho(a)! (“What a beauty!” Literally: “What a kitty!”)

A Black-and-white Cat against a White Background

(Que gatinha! [“What a kitty!”])

Many people struggle to come up with appropriate compliments for women in Portuguese. Pretty girls often get bored of being called pretty, for instance. Neither do people like to be judged only by their looks. So here are some more original ways to compliment a girl in Portuguese:

  • Seu ____ é muito giro. (“You’re wearing a very fine _______.”) — Portugal only.
  • Que elegância! (“You look elegant!”)
  • Você tem um ótimo senso de humor! (“You have a great sense of humor!”)
  • Adoro suas manias. (“I love your ways.” Literally: “I love your mania.”)
  • Você me inspira. (“You inspire me.”)
  • Você tem um coração lindo. (“You have a beautiful heart.”)

The following compliments aren’t strictly related to looks, but are examples of more original ways to compliment a girl in Portuguese.

You are the sunshine of my life.

Here’s a little selection for those who are madly in love. In any other context, these would sound cheesy. But in a moment of extreme intimacy and chemistry, just go for it.

  • Você me faz querer ser uma pessoa melhor. (“You make me want to be a better person.”)
  • Eu só tenho olhos para você. (“I only have eyes for you.”)
  • Sua beleza é enigmática. (“You have an enigmatic beauty.”)
  • Não existe nada que soe mal na sua voz. (“Nothing that is spoken in your voice sounds bad.”)

2. Complimenting Someone’s Work

Compliments in Portuguese are desirable in workplaces. Any manual on “how to be a boss” will recommend the reasonable use of compliments or the regular mentioning of employees’ best characteristics to motivate a team.

Not only is giving compliments a good management maneuver, but is there anything more flattering than receiving appreciation for a job well-done? That’s a very useful way to employ a compliment in Portuguese!

One Woman Supervising Another Woman on the Job

(Foi trabalho muito bem-feito! [“That was a very well-done job!”])

Giving a compliment in Portuguese about someone’s professional abilities is easier than flirting: the language is plain and the speaker only needs to worry about not sounding too informal.

  • Bom trabalho! (“Good job!”)
  • Matou dois coelhos com uma cajadada só! (“You were very efficient!” Literally: “You’ve killed two rabbits with only one stroke.” Equivalent to “kill two birds with one stone.”) — Less formal & Brazil only.
  • Meus parabéns! (“Congratulations!”)
  • Foi trabalho muito bem-feito! (“That was a very well-done job!”)
  • O seu currículo é impressionante! (“You have an impressive resumé!”)
  • Mandou bem! (“Good one!”) — Less formal

3. Complimenting Someone’s Skills

Compliments

Friendship is a rich source of compliments in Portuguese. Here are some Portuguese compliments to express your confidence in someone:

  • Você é um(a) ótimo(a) amiga(o)! (“You’re a great friend!”)
  • Estou contigo e não abro! (“You can count on me.” Literally: “I’m with you and won’t open.”) — Brazil only.
  • Você me faz feliz. (“You make me happy.”)
  • És muito fixe. (“You’re very nice.”) — Portugal only.

In more general situations, here are some common ways to compliment someone’s skills:

  • Você _______ muito bem! (“You are very good at ______!”)
  • Você é muito ________! (“You are very ______!”)

The blank in the second sentence can be filled with adjectives, such as:

  • Interessante (“Interesting”)
  • Forte (“Strong”)
  • Engraçado(a) (“Funny”)
  • Divertido(a) (“Fun”)
  • Sincero(a) (“Sincere”)
  • Atlético(a) (“Athletic”)
  • Alto astral (“Joyful”) — Informal.

Also, there are some types of compliments in Portuguese you can direct to people you’re not very close to in a social context. For instance, compliments to the chef in Portuguese:

  • Meus cumprimentos ao chefe! (“I send my compliments to the chef!”)
  • A comida estava excelente! (“The food was excellent!”)
  • Você cozinha como um profissional! (“You cook like a professional!”)

A Chef Chopping Vegetables

(Meus cumprimentos ao chefe! [“I send my compliments to the chef!”])

4. How to Make Your Compliments Sound More Sincere

Positive Feelings

This section relates more to the delivery of compliments in Portuguese than to the vocabulary itself. Here are some tips on how to compliment in Portuguese in a way that’s believable and meaningful:

  • Don’t be afraid to compliment too much, as long as your compliments are honest.
  • Only say what you truly mean—or at least what you can support rationally.
  • Don’t trade an interesting talk for cheap compliments.
  • Match the emotion of your voice with the message you’re sending.
  • Use proper posture. Look people in the eye while you give them compliments.

5. What to Expect After Giving Compliments

People in Brazil react differently to compliments in Portuguese than people in Portugal do. Apart from silly stereotypes, there are some cultural trends involved in this matter. Compliments in Portuguese culture are very interesting to get an initial reaction to, since the people here are more socially closed or shy than Brazilian people.

One might expect both Portuguese and Brazilian people to show appreciation for the compliment:

  • Obrigadinho! (“Thank you very much!”) — Portugal only.
  • São os seus olhos… (“It’s in your eyes…”)
  • Muito amável! (“Thanks!” Literally: “Very lovely!”)
  • Obrigado(a)! (“Thank you!”)
  • Valeu! (“Thanks!”) — Informal & Brazil only.

Then, the target of the compliment might respond with a reciprocal compliment.

Considering that compliments in Portuguese culture are a way of bonding, the reception of the compliment tends to be different in Portugal and Brazil.

For example, a stranger who offers too many compliments in a first conversation is more likely to make a Portuguese person feel uptight, while a Brazilian person would feel more comfortable. The Portuguese tend to be a little “colder,” while Brazilians might create a type of “instant intimacy.”

This intimacy is often fake, but it’s a common cultural trait to treat a friendly stranger nominally as a member of the family. That is, to make someone feel comfortable in social environments and make the conversation more interesting (or at least more bearable, in bad cases).

A Group of Women Surrounding an Older Man at a Picnic

(An apparent intimacy is sometimes only momentary…)

This might send the wrong message to a foreigner. For instance: a Brazilian who, in the first conversation, shares information that sounds too personal to a foreigner can be interpreted as real interest or flirting. Often, it means nothing, though.

Brazilian Portuguese compliments sometimes focus on things that Europeans would never mention. This piece of information is especially useful for flirty guys looking to compliment a girl in Portuguese. When getting in touch with the foreign culture, pay equal attention to the social dynamics and the compliments in Brazilian Portuguese.

Having said that, Portuguese people won’t usually react badly to compliments. They only take more time to establish confidence and are more literal in their approach. Compliments that are more specific will communicate better than broad ones.

6. A raspa do tacho

So, we’ve achieved a raspa do tacho—the end. This article has presented some of the most common and effective ways to give compliments in Portuguese.

Most of these are Brazilian Portuguese compliments, but can also be used in Portugal, Angola, and other Portuguese-speaking countries. This little guide will direct your steps toward success as you communicate with people from these countries.

Always remember that practice makes perfect, so you can always broaden your knowledge with new lessons, articles, audio files, and videos at PortuguesePod101.com.

Compliments in Brazilian Portuguese are a quick step to shorten distances between people. The most fascinating information about them actually shows up when the vocabulary is applied to real-life situations. The real dynamics with other cultures are very rich, and it’s where at least half of the interest in language use is.

What are common compliments in your language? Share them with us in the comments below!

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Beyond Portuguese Curse Words – Getting Angry in Portuguese

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Not everything will be hunky-dory during your visit to Brazil. When the time comes for you to express yourself, knowing a few angry phrases in Portuguese will be immensely helpful for you, especially if things get heated. Knowing these phrases will help you vocalize your anger or understand what’s being told to you in a not-so-happy fashion. But hey, there’s no need to shower anyone with Portuguese curse words!

While you can learn how to curse in Portuguese, the best way to express yourself in those heated moments is to have some milder angry phrases up your sleeve. Let’s help you with that!

It’s worth noting that some dirty words can be used in common sentences and be “stripped” of the profanity. But for now, let’s keep it simple. In our list below, we’ll only give one example of such a word.

With that, keep reading to learn how to let others know you’re angry in Brazilian Portuguese!

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Table of Contents

  1. Angry Imperatives
  2. Angry Warnings
  3. Describing How You Feel
  4. Conclusion: How to Calm Yourself Down When You’re Angry

1. Angry Imperatives

1- “Shut your mouth!”

It’s almost comical that in many languages, Portuguese included, one of the first angry phrases to come out always involves telling someone to zip it. It can be a little rude, sure, but sometimes it’s necessary to let it fly and not hide your feelings. To tell someone to shut up, you can say Cala a Boca!

It’s a literal translation, word per word. Simple and straightforward, and it leaves no need for Portuguese swearing. However, you still have to be really careful about when and how you use this phrase. Because if you let it slip at the wrong time or in the wrong way, it’s time to say sorry.

2- “Enough!”

You’ve had enough. To tell someone to stop what they’re doing in Portuguese, just say Chega!

You can use this phrase in many different scenarios. For example, when somebody is complaining a lot and you can’t take it anymore. All of us have a friend who won’t stop complaining about the night out, the bar, the music, the food. Or maybe you’ve had to travel or deal with kids who won’t stop running, crying, and screaming. When that happens, all you can say is… CHEGA!

Man Screaming

3- “Leave me in peace.”

This angry phrase is kind of like “Leave me alone,” but after saying this one, someone is more likely to just go and talk to someone else. To say this in Portuguese, it’s Me deixa em paz!

You’re infuriated with someone, and you really want them to know this. Paz is “peace,” and it can mean a lot of things in this case: being alone, continuing to do what you were doing, or even going to talk with somebody else.

4- “Get lost!”

The translation of vazamento is “leak,” but when you use vaza in an angry phrase, you’re telling someone to scram, get out, or disappear. It’s a colloquial expression to make it clear that you can’t stand that person and you want them to get lost.

2. Angry Warnings

Angry outbursts in Portuguese wouldn’t be complete without a few warning phrases to get started. Let’s see a few of the most common ones:

1- “Don’t be on top of me!”

You’re trying to establish some ground in an argument or discussion, and you don’t want anybody to mess with you. That’s when you say: Não vem para cima de mim!

The literal translation above gives a sense of what this phrase means in Portuguese, but the threatening tone is more like “Don’t mess with me.” If you say this, you’ll make it clear that this is your turf no matter what anyone else says.

You can mix some Portuguese curse words in here, and maybe you’ll hear that version. But trust me: keep it classy and the message will be the same.

2- “This is the last time I’ll say it!”

Mother Scolding Child

Every mom and dad in the world can relate to this sentence. In Portuguese, it’s the same structure: Esta é a última vez que eu vou falar!

After that, the only thing the kid can do is stop whatever he or she is doing.

3- “Not here!”

You’re explicitly saying that a certain action is forbidden in a determined place: Aqui não!

You can say or hear this Portuguese angry phrase in many situations. For example, a traffic officer warning you that you can’t park in a driveway; that’s a clear scenario. But you can also hear this phrase other times.

For example, when two teams are playing in a stadium and the home team wins, you can see a player telling the fans aqui não, meaning “not in our home.”

4- “I don’t want to see you even if you are painted in gold.”

In English, this one seems weird. But when you want to be crystal-clear about not wanting to see that person, you can say in Portuguese: Não quero te ver nem pintado de ouro!

It’s harsh, but it fits if you’ve had a bad breakup with your partner, a bad encounter with your boss, or any other very negative experience with a person who gets on your nerves.

5- “Where was your head at?”

Here’s another universal expression that’s so real when you’re talking to a friend who seems to have lost it. In Portuguese, you can say: Onde você estava com a cabeça?

This phrase can serve as a warning, or simply as an exclamation after you hear a surprising story your friend told you. “Onde você estava com a cabeça when you went on a date with that guy?” Or: “Are you crazy? Onde você estava com a cabeça?

6- “Who do you think you are?”

Another classic. If someone says this phrase has never crossed his/her mind, you can call that person out for blatantly lying! In Portuguese, you say it like this: Quem você pensa que é?

You can use this phrase when you think somebody is thinking too highly of himself/herself. For example, people who are likely to use this phrase include a parent trying to put some sense into his sons, or a meddling coworker stepping where he/she shouldn’t be.

If you’re thinking about adding a “You think you’re better than me?” afterward, this, unfortunately, isn’t very common in Portuguese. A bunch of Portuguese swear words can follow, or not. It’s up to you.

7- “You screwed everything up!”

Woman Blaming Man for Something

A project, a relationship, anything that wasn’t done properly by the other people involved. To voice your blame toward them, you can say Você ferrou com tudo!

You can use this phrase when you’re speaking to a coworker who didn’t manage a situation how he/she should have. I know that the word “screwed” is a little bit ugly, but rest assured that ferrar is not counted among the Portuguese swear words.

8- “It was.”

Yes, it seems weird, but Brazilians say “It was,” a lot. You have to understand what they mean by that and why it can be an angry phrase. First of all, in Portuguese, it’s: Já era.

Basically, you say this when something has reached a point of no return. For example:

  • A: “Can we catch the bus that leaves at one p.m. (it’s already 1:03 p.m.) to Cristo Redentor?”
  • B: “That bus já era.”

In the example above, the phrase isn’t used angrily. But try telling a client an insensitive joke and see him/her leave the room.

  • You: “Can I try to win him back and still have a job?”
  • Your boss: “Você (you) já era!”

9- “None of your business.”

When someone asks you about something that’s very personal or that you can’t really share with them, you can tell them loud and clear: Não é da sua conta.

For example, if somebody asks how much you make per month and you don’t feel like answering, this phrase is perfect.

10- “That goes on your tab.”

No, that’s not a phrase only a waiter can say. Essa vai para a sua conta can also be a direct way to point your finger at someone for messing something up. For example, when you’re playing soccer and your goalie doesn’t make an easy save. Let it rip!

11- “You don’t listen to me.”

Ahh, nothing tops a classic. If you’ve ever been in a serious relationship, you know this one is the bread-and-butter that starts, ends, or just brings all the flair in the middle of a fight. In Portuguese, it’s Você não me escuta.

But hey, Você não me escuta is not a monopoly for couples. You can say it to a friend who’s giving the wrong directions on a trip and not listening to what you’re saying about going the other way. That’s called versatility.

3. Describing How You Feel

Complaints

Now, let’s learn how to actually describe your emotions. In this section, we’ll outline how to say “I am angry” in Portuguese a few different (and creative) ways.

1- “I’m pissed off.”

Yes, it seems like we’re resorting to Portuguese swear words. Not so fast, cowboy!

When you’re really pissed off, puta/puto (“prostitute,” both genders) transforms from a curse word into a description of when someone is really angry. In Portuguese, a common phrase is Estou muito puto/puta.

For example, something went wrong at work and the blame fell on you. Because you’re angry, you say Estou muito puto(a), and people understand that you’re mad, not that you’re exploring other ventures.

2- “My balls are full.”

Very Frustrated Man

Again, this one seems really rude, but Estou de saco cheio is a really common expression, and even Presidents use it. It means that you have no patience for anything.

You want a classic example that will make you understand?

Let me paint you a picture: Monday has arrived, it’s early, you have to work, and now you’re facing a really full subway. Done: Your saco cheio is at a record high.

3- “I’m without a head for it.”

This is similar to saco cheio, but more polished: Estou sem cabeça para isso.

Instead of lacking patience, you simply can’t do a specific task right that moment because it requires something that you don’t have.

  • A: “Can you run those numbers and deliver a report?”
  • B: “Estou sem cabeça para isso.

4- “It can’t be done anymore.” / “I can’t do it anymore.”

When you can’t take it anymore or something isn’t possible, you say: Não dá mais.

This phrase is considerably more polished than Já era. For example, when your boss is saying that grammar errors on presentations can’t be accepted anymore:

Não dá mais, the clients will leave if they see Brasil with a Z again!”

Negative Verbs

4. Conclusion: How to Calm Yourself Down When You’re Angry

Of course, it’s best that you don’t use any of these Portuguese angry phrases, but that’s not realistic. So before you start looking for articles about how to curse in Brazilian Portuguese, the best thing to do is to keep those words in mind, but when you’re on the verge of saying them, try to calm yourself.

There are many ways to do this.

First of all, a classic: Take a deep breath, close your eyes, and count to five. Try to forget about everything during those five seconds and then think of a good, positive solution. You can think of the other person’s point of view, try to reach a middle point, or just forget it. Let it go.

If that exercise isn’t doing much, get out and run, walk, bike, exercise, or just stare at the sun and smell the roses. That will leave you more time to think about things and relax to make a better-informed decision.

Last, but not least, do something you like if you feel burned or stressed out. Go to the movies, listen to your favorite artist, read a book, write in your journal, or even take a trip if you have more time.

The main thing is not to explode and worsen a situation, only to later regret the way you acted. Take your time to digest everything, and then find the best solution. This can be applied to anything: relationships, work, family… Use your Portuguese for the best!

With PortuguesePod101, you can learn vocabulary applicable to everyday situations, study the pronunciation of common words, and discover what words or phrases to use in specific situations. That way, you can learn faster and use your knowledge right away!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you calm yourself down when angry or frustrated. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Essential Vocabulary for Life Events in Portuguese

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What is the most defining moment you will face this year? From memories that you immortalize in a million photographs, to days you never wish to remember, one thing’s for certain: big life events change you. The great poet, Bukowski, said, “We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well, that death will tremble to take us.” The older I get, the more I agree with him!

Talking about significant events in our lives is part of every person’s journey, regardless of creed or culture. If you’re planning to stay in Brazil for more than a quick visit, you’re sure to need at least a few ‘life events’ phrases that you can use. After all, many of these are shared experiences, and it’s generally expected that we will show up with good manners and warm wishes.

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Table of Contents

  1. Life Events
  2. Marriage Proposal Lines
  3. Talking About Age
  4. Conclusion

1. Life Events

Do you know how to say “Happy New Year” in Portuguese? Well, the New Year is a pretty big deal that the whole world is in on! We celebrate until midnight, make mindful resolutions, and fill the night sky with the same happy words in hundreds of languages. No doubt, then, that you’ll want to know how to say it like a local!

Big life events are not all about fun times, though. Real life happens even when you’re traveling, and certain terminology will be very helpful to know. From talking about your new job to wishing your neighbors “Merry Christmas” in Portuguese, here at PortuguesePod101, we’ve put together just the right vocabulary and phrases for you.

1- Birthday – aniversário

If you’re like me, any excuse to bring out a pen and scribble a note is a good one. When there’s a birthday, even better: hello, handwriting!

Your Portuguese friend will love hearing you wish them a “Happy birthday” in Portuguese, but how much more will they appreciate a thoughtful written message? Whether you write it on their Facebook wall or buy a cute card, your effort in Portuguese is sure to get them smiling! Write it like this:

Feliz Aniversário

Older Woman Blowing Out Candles on a Birthday Cake Surrounded by Friends.

Now that you know the words, I challenge you to put them to music and sing your own “Happy birthday” song in Portuguese! It’s not impossible to figure out even more lyrics, once you start discovering the language from scratch.

2- Buy – comprar

If there’s a special occasion, you might want to buy somebody a gift. As long as you’ve checked out Portuguese etiquette on gift-giving (do a Google search for this!), it will be a lovely gesture. If you’re not sure what to buy, how about the awesome and universally-appealing gift of language? That’s a gift that won’t stop giving!

Two Women at a Counter in a Bookstore, One Buying a Book

3- Retire – aposentar-se

If you’re planning to expand your mind and retire in Brazil, you can use this word to tell people why you seem to be on a perpetual vacation!

Retirement is also a great time to learn a new language, don’t you think? And you don’t have to do it alone! These days it’s possible to connect to a vibrant learning community at the click of a button. The added benefit of a Daily Dose of Language is that it keeps your brain cells alive and curious about the world. After all, it’s never too late to realize those long-ignored dreams of traveling the globe…

4- Graduation – formatura

When attending a graduation ceremony in Brazil, be prepared for a lot of formal language! It will be a great opportunity to listen carefully and see if you can pick up differences from the everyday Portuguese you hear.

Lecturer or University Dean Congratulating and Handing Over Graduation Certificate to a Young Man on Graduation Day.

5- Promotion – promoção

Next to vacation time, receiving a promotion is the one career highlight almost everyone looks forward to. And why wouldn’t you? Sure, it means more responsibility, but it also means more money and benefits and – the part I love most – a change of scenery! Even something as simple as looking out a new office window would boost my mood.

6- Anniversary – aniversário

Some anniversaries we anticipate with excitement, others with apprehension. They are days marking significant events in our lives that can be shared with just one person, or with a whole nation. Whether it’s a special day for you and a loved one, or for someone else you know, this word is crucial to know if you want to wish them a happy anniversary in Portuguese.

7- Funeral – funeral

We tend to be uncomfortable talking about funerals in the west, but it’s an important conversation for families to have. Around the world, there are many different customs and rituals for saying goodbye to deceased loved ones – some vastly different to our own. When traveling in Brazil, if you happen to find yourself the unwitting observer of a funeral, take a quiet moment to appreciate the cultural ethos; even this can be an enriching experience for you.

8- Travel – viajar

Travel – my favorite thing to do! Everything about the experience is thrilling and the best cure for boredom, depression, and uncertainty about your future. You will surely be forever changed, fellow traveler! But you already know this, don’t you? Well, now that you’re on the road to total Portuguese immersion, I hope you’ve downloaded our IOS apps and have your Nook Book handy to keep yourself entertained on those long bus rides.

Young Female Tourist with a Backpack Taking a Photo of the Arc de Triomphe

9- Graduate – formar-se

If you have yet to graduate from university, will you be job-hunting in Brazil afterward? Forward-looking companies sometimes recruit talented students who are still in their final year. Of course, you could also do your final year abroad as an international student – an amazing experience if you’d love to be intellectually challenged and make a rainbow of foreign friends!

10- Wedding – casamento

One of the most-loved traditions that humans have thought up, which you’ll encounter anywhere in the world, is a wedding. With all that romance in the air and months spent on preparations, a wedding is typically a feel-good affair. Two people pledge their eternal love to each other, ladies cry, single men look around for potential partners, and everybody has a happy day of merrymaking.

Ah, but how diverse we are in our expression of love! You will find more wedding traditions around the world than you can possibly imagine. From reciting love quotes to marrying a tree, the options leave no excuse to be boring!

Married Couple During Reception, Sitting at Their Table While a Young Man Gives a Wedding Speech

11- Move – mudar-se

I love Brazil, but I’m a nomad and tend to move around a lot, even within one country. What are the biggest emotions you typically feel when moving house? The experts say moving is a highly stressful event, but I think that depends on the circumstances. Transitional periods in our lives are physically and mentally demanding, but changing your environment is also an exciting adventure that promises new tomorrows!

12- Be born – nascer

I was not born in 1993, nor was I born in Asia. I was born in the same year as Aishwarya Rai, Akon, and Monica Lewinsky, and on the same continent as Freddy Mercury. When and where were you born? More importantly – can you say it in Portuguese?

13- Get a job – conseguir um emprego

The thought of looking for a job in a new country can be daunting, but English speakers are in great demand in Brazil – you just have to do some research, make a few friends and get out there! Also, arming yourself with a few Portuguese introductions that you can both say and write will give you a confidence boost. For example, can you write your name in Portuguese?

Group of People in Gear that Represent a Number of Occupations.

14- Die – morrer

Death is a universal experience and the final curtain on all other life events. How important is it, then, to fully live before we die? If all you have is a passport, a bucket list, and a willingness to learn some lingo, you can manifest those dreams!

15- Home – casa

If home is where the heart is, then my home is on a jungle island completely surrounded by the turquoise ocean. Right now, though, home is an isolation room with a view of half a dry palm tree and a tangle of telephone wires.

If you’re traveling to Brazil for an extended stay, you’ll soon be moving into a new home quite unlike anything you’ve experienced before!

Large, Double-Story House with Lit Windows.

16- Job – trabalho

What job do you do? Does it allow you much time for travel, or for working on this fascinating language that has (so rightfully) grabbed your attention? Whatever your job, you are no doubt contributing to society in a unique way. If you’re doing what you love, you’re already on the road to your dream. If not, just remember that every single task is one more skill to add to your arsenal. With that attitude, your dream job is coming!

17- Birth – nascimento

Random question: do you know the birth rate of Brazil?

If you’re lucky enough to be invited to see a friend’s baby just after they are born, you’ll have all my respect and all my envy. There is nothing cuter! Depending on which part of the country you’re in, you may find yourself bearing witness to some pretty unexpected birth customs. Enjoy this privilege!

Crying Newborn Baby Held By a Doctor or Nurse in a Hospital Theatre

18- Engaged – comprometer-se

EE Cummings said, “Lovers alone wear sunlight,” and I think that’s most true at the moment she says “yes.” Getting engaged is something young girls dream of with stars in their eyes, and it truly is a magical experience – from the proposal, to wearing an engagement ring, to the big reveal!

In the world of Instagram, there’s no end to the antics as imaginative couples try more and more outrageous ways to share their engagement with the world. I love an airport flashmob, myself, but I’d rather be proposed to on a secluded beach – salt, sand, and all!

Engagement customs around the world vary greatly, and Brazil is no exception when it comes to interesting traditions. Learning their unique romantic ways will inspire you for when your turn comes.

Speaking of romance, do you know how to say “Happy Valentine’s Day” in Portuguese?

19- Marry – casar-se

The one you marry will be the gem on a shore full of pebbles. They will be the one who truly mirrors your affection, shares your visions for the future, and wants all of you – the good, the bad and the inexplicable.

From thinking up a one-of-a-kind wedding, to having children, to growing old together, finding a twin flame to share life with is quite an accomplishment! Speaking of which…

2. Marriage Proposal Lines

Marriage Proposal Lines

Ah, that heart-stopping moment when your true love gets down on one knee to ask for your hand in marriage, breathlessly hoping that you’ll say “Yes!” If you haven’t experienced that – well, it feels pretty darn good, is all I can say! If you’re the one doing the asking, though, you’ve probably had weeks of insomnia agonizing over the perfect time, location and words to use.

Man on His Knee Proposing to a Woman on a Bridge.

How much more care should be taken if your love is from a different culture to yours? Well, by now you know her so well, that most of it should be easy to figure out. As long as you’ve considered her personal commitment to tradition, all you really need is a few words from the heart. Are you brave enough to say them in Portuguese?

3. Talking About Age

Talking about Age

Part of the wonder of learning a new language is having the ability to strike up simple conversations with strangers. Asking about age in this context feels natural, as your intention is to practice friendly phrases – just be mindful of their point of view!

When I was 22, I loved being asked my age. Nowadays, if someone asks, I say, “Well, I’ve just started my fifth cat life.” Let them ponder that for a while.

In Brazil, it’s generally not desirable to ask an older woman her age for no good reason, but chatting about age with your peers is perfectly normal. Besides, you have to mention your birthday if you want to be thrown a birthday party!

4. Conclusion

Well, there you have it! With so many great new Portuguese phrases to wish people with, can you think of someone who has a big event coming up? If you want to get even more creative, PortuguesePod101 has much to inspire you with – come and check it out! Here’s just some of what we have on offer at PortuguesePod101:

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Learning a new language can only enrich your life, and could even open doors towards great opportunities! So don’t wonder if you’ll regret enrolling in PortuguesePod101. It’s the most fun, easy way to learn Portuguese.

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