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Asking and Answering the Top 10 Questions in Portuguese

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Asking interesting questions is one of the secrets to a good conversation. Regardless of the language, questions are an essential tool in your conversation toolbox. They can help you learn basic information about the person you’ve just met or dive deep into what makes them unique! Pretty cool, huh?

That’s why knowing how to ask and answer a question in Portuguese will take you a long way toward mastering the language. By practicing the sentences and patterns you’ll see in this article, you’ll begin to feel comfortable during interactions with native speakers. Simply ask interesting questions every now and again, and see how smoothly your conversation will flow.

To help you navigate the world of questions in Portuguese, we’ll introduce you to the top ten questions you can ask, alongside the translation of each word used in the sentences. You’ll also see how to answer them, broken down by the pattern so you can create your own answers. And of course, there will be plenty of examples along the way, to make sure you really grasp the concepts. Ready?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. The Building Blocks
  2. The Top 10 Portuguese Questions and Answers to Learn
  3. Learn More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

Man Giving a Speech

Get ready to ask and answer questions like a pro!

1. The Building Blocks

Before we see how to ask questions in Portuguese, let’s take a quick look at the building blocks to do so: the question patterns and the Portuguese question words. By learning these elements, you’ll better understand the sentences in this article, and you’ll also be able to create your own questions in the future.

1 – Portuguese Question Words

These are the most common question words in Portuguese that you can use to form direct questions.

“What”O que
O quê
(if it’s at the end of the sentence)
O que você quer comer? (“What do you want to eat?”)
Você quer comer o quê?
(“What do you want to eat?”)
“Why”Por que
Por quê (if it’s at the end of the sentence)
Por que vamos sair? (“Why are we leaving?”)
Vamos sair por quê? (“Why are we leaving?”)
“Where”Onde (used if the subject is not moving)
Aonde (used if the subject is moving)
Onde está meu remédio? (“Where is my medicine?”)
Aonde você vai? (“Where are you going?”)
“When”QuandoQuando é a festa? (“When is the party?”)
“Who”QuemQuem era aquele homem? (“Who was that man?”)
“How”ComoComo elas chegaram aqui? (“How did they get here?”)
“Which” Qual
Quais (plural)
Qual é o seu sabor de sorvete favorito? (“What is your favorite ice cream flavor?”)
Quais são os seus livros? (“Which ones are your books?”)
“How much” / “How many”Quanto (male singular form)
Quanta (female singular form)
Quantos (male plural form)
Quantas (female plural form)
Quanto custa esse livro? (“How much does this book cost?”)
Quanta água você tem? (“How much water do you have?”)
Quantos bebês nasceram hoje? (“How many babies were born today?”)
Quantas pessoas vieram? (“How many people came?”)
“Whose”De quemDe quem é esse carro? (“Whose car is this?”)

2 – Portuguese Question Patterns

There are two main patterns for asking questions in Portuguese that you need to be familiar with.

Question word + subject + verb + complement

Using this pattern, you can ask a huge variety of questions. It follows the same word order as a declarative sentence does. The difference is that you add a question word to the beginning and a question mark at the end. Most of the sample Portuguese questions we saw in the previous table feature this sentence pattern.

Examples:

  • Quando vocês chegam? (“When do you arrive?”) – plural
  • Onde posso deixar minha mala? (“Where can I leave my luggage?”)

In some cases, you can also see the question word at the end of the sentence, instead of at the beginning. For example:

  • A festa é quando? (“The party is when?”)

Subject + verb + complement

This sentence pattern is basically a statement followed by a question mark. Intonation is an essential aspect of asking questions with this pattern, since it’s the only thing differentiating it from a declarative statement. 

The intonation is fairly similar to the one used to ask questions in English. Simply raise your voice slightly at the end of the sentence.

Examples:

  • Você vai sair hoje? (“Are you going out today?”)
  • Podemos começar? (“May we begin?”)

Regardless of the question pattern, keep in mind that, sometimes, the subject is implicit. This happens fairly often in Portuguese, and you might see question examples in which the subject doesn’t appear. In cases like this, the subject can be inferred by looking at the verb. Take this sentence, for example:

  • Vamos sair agora? (“Are we leaving now?”)

The subject in this sentence is nós (“we”), as the conjugation of the verb indicates. You can opt to include the word nós in the sentence or leave it out.

Group of Students Studying on Lawn

Vamos estudar? (“Let’s study?”)

2. The Top 10 Portuguese Questions and Answers to Learn

From the more basic Portuguese questions you can ask during a first meeting to questions that can take the conversation to the next level, you’ll see it all in this article. Pay attention to how the answers normally use elements from the questions—this can help you get your bearings when you’re asked a brand-new question!

1 – What’s your name?

First Encounter

This is probably the first question you’ll hear or ask a Portuguese-speaker. Take your time to learn this question by heart. 

Question

  • Qual é o seu nome? 
Qualéo seunome?
What (in this case, qual translates to “what,” and not “which”)isyourname?
  • Como você se chama?
Comovocêse chama?
Howdo youcall yourself?

Answer

  • Meu nome é [nome].
Meunomeé[nome].
Mynameis[name].

You can use this same structure to answer what your nickname or family name is.

  • Meu apelido é [apelido]. (“My nickname is [nickname].”)
  • Meu sobrenome é [sobrenome]. (“My family name is [family name].”)
  • Eu me chamo [nome].
Eume chamo[nome].
Icall myself[name].

Putting it all together

  • Q: Qual é o seu nome? (“What is your name?”) 
  • A: Meu nome é Maria. (“My name is Maria.”)
  • Q: Como você se chama? (“What are you called?”)
  • A: Eu me chamo Gustavo. (“I’m called Gustavo.”)

2 – Where are you from?

Here’s another great icebreaker question for getting to know people!

Question

  • De onde você é?
Deondevocêé?
Fromwhereyouare?
  • De onde você vem?
Deondevocêvem?
Fromwhereyoucome?

Answer

  • Eu sou de [local].
Eusoude[local].
Iamfrom[place].
  • Eu venho de [local].
Euvenhode[local].
Icomefrom[place].

Note that, in both cases, the preposition de (“of” / “from”) should agree with the following word in gender and number. Check it out:

  • Eu sou de Portugal. (“I am from Portugal.”)
  • Eu venho da África do Sul. (“I come from South Africa.”)
  • Eu sou dos Estados Unidos. (“I am from the United States.”)

You can also answer the question by stating your nationality:

  • Eu sou brasileiro. (“I am Brazilian.”)

Putting it all together

  • Q: De onde você é? (“Where are you from?”)
  • A: Eu sou do Rio de Janeiro. (“I’m from Rio de Janeiro.”) 
  • Q: De onde você vem? (“Where do you come from?”) 
  • A: Eu venho da Índia. (“I come from India.”)

3 – Do you speak Portuguese?

People in Brazil will likely be very curious to know more about your Portuguese-learning experience. Expect to hear some questions about it!

Question

  • Você fala [idioma]?
Vocêfala[idioma]?
YouspeakPortuguese?

You can also add more details to your question at the end of the sentence. For example:

  • Você fala inglês fluentemente? (“Do you speak English fluently?”)
  • Você fala francês há muito tempo? (“Have you spoken French long?”)

Answer

  • Eu falo [idioma].
Eufalo[idioma].
IspeakPortuguese.

You can begin the sentence with sim (“yes”) or não (“no”), and then complete your answer with the pattern above.

  • Sim, eu falo Português. (“Yes, I speak Portuguese.”)
  • Não, eu não falo Espanhol. (“No, I don’t speak Spanish.”)

And, just like before, you can add more details to your answer using adverbs and adjectives.

  • Eu falo um pouco de Português. (“I speak a bit of Portuguese.”)
  • Eu falo Espanhol muito bem. (“I speak Spanish very well.”)

Putting it all together

  • Q: Você fala Italiano? (“Do you speak Italian?”)
  • A: Sim, eu falo Italiano. (“Yes, I speak Italian.”)
  • Q: Ela fala português? (“Does she speak Portuguese?”)
  • A: Não, ela não fala português. (“No, she doesn’t speak Portuguese.”)
Different Language-learning Books

Você fala todas essas línguas? (“Do you speak all of those languages?”)

4 – How long have you been studying Portuguese?

After successfully explaining what languages you speak, it’s time to show off your skills. After all, it takes a while to master a new language, and you deserve to brag a little!

Question

  • Você estuda [idioma] há quanto tempo?
Vocêestuda[idioma]quanto tempo?
YoustudyPortuguesehave beenhow long?

The translation you see above might confuse you a bit, so let’s unpack it. When we use the verb haver (“to have”) with another verb in the present tense (like estuda), it describes an action that started in the past and continues in the present.

The verb haver can be substituted by the verb fazer (“to make”), which in this case, will have the same meaning as haver:

  • Você estuda [idioma] faz quanto tempo?

It’s also common to see this question pattern inverted:

  • Há quanto tempo que você estuda [idioma]?
  • Faz quanto tempo que você estuda [idioma]?

Answer

You can answer this Portuguese question in a more complete way by repeating part of the question, or in a more direct way, just using the verb and the amount of time.

  • Eu estudo [idioma] faz / há [tempo].
Euestudo[idioma]faz / há[tempo].
IstudyPortuguesefor[time].
  • Faz / há [tempo].
Faz / há[tempo].
For[time].

Note that, regardless of the number of years or months you answer with, the verb is always in the singular form. That happens because, when referring to actions that started in the past and continue in the present, the verb doesn’t vary in number.

  • Faz um ano. (“For one year.”)
  • Eu estudo inglês faz dez anos. (“I have been studying English for ten years.”)
  • Eu estudo japonês há um ano. (“I have been studying Japanese for one year.”)
  • Há dez anos. (“For ten years.”)

Putting it all together

  • Q: Você estuda coreano faz quanto tempo? (“How long have you been studying Korean?”)
  • A: Faz três anos. (“For three years.”)
  • Q: Você estuda português faz quanto tempo? (“How long have you been studying Portuguese?”)
  • A: Eu estudo português há dois meses. (“I have been studying Portuguese for two months.”)
Introducing Yourself

5 – Have you been to [place]?

Traveling is always an interesting topic for conversation, and some of the most common Portuguese questions for foreigners are related to this topic.

Question

  • Você já foi para [lugar]?
Vocêfoipara[lugar]?
Youalreadyhave beento[place]?

After the preposition para (“to”), it might be necessary to add articles that agree with the gender and number of the place.

  • Você já foi para São Paulo? (“Have you been to São Paulo?”)
  • Você já foi para o Rio de Janeiro? (“Have you been to Rio de Janeiro?”)
  • Você já foi para a China? (“Have you been to China?”)
  • Você já foi para os Países Baixos? (“Have you been to the Netherlands?”)

Answer

This question can be answered with a simple sim (“yes”) or não (“no”). However, to really make it count, you can add information about how many times you’ve been or when you went there. You can add this information at the end of the sentence.

Sim / Não,eu(não) fui[complemento].
Yes / No,Ihave (not) been[complement].
  • Sim, eu fui uma vez. (“Yes, I’ve been once.”)
  • Não, eu nunca fui. (“No, I’ve never been.”)
  • Sim, eu fui lá ano passado. (“Yes, I went there last year.”)

Putting it all together

  • Q: Você já foi para Roma? (“Have you already been to Rome?”) 
  • A: Sim, eu fui para Roma várias vezes. (“Yes, I’ve been to Rome several times.”)
  • Q: Ele já foi para o nordeste? (“Has he already been to the northeast [of Brazil]?”) 
  • A: Não, ele não foi. (“No, he has not.”)

→ Explore more travel-related vocabulary and essential phrases with PortuguesePod101!

Woman Taking Photo of Something in Paris

Você já foi para Paris? Sim, já fui! (“Have you been to Paris? Yes, I’ve been!”)

6 – Do you like [country’s] food?

You can’t talk about traveling without bringing up all of the delicious local cuisine! And you can bet that Brazilians will ask you about your thoughts on Brazilian food

Question

  • Você gosta da comida de [país]?
Vocêgosta dacomidade[país]?
Do youlikefoodofBrazil?

Once again, the preposition de (“of”) has to agree with the country or place. 

  • Você gosta da comida do Brasil? (“Do you like Brazil’s food?”)
  • Você gosta da comida da França? (“Do you like France’s food?”)

Instead of using “de + country,” you can also use the adjective that refers to that country. For example:

  • Você gosta da comida brasileira? (“Do you like Brazilian food?”)
  • Você gosta da comida francesa? (“Do you like French food?”)

If you want to make the question more specific, you can add adjectives after the word comida (“food”):

  • Ela gosta da comida tradicional japonesa? (“Do you like traditional Japanese food?”)
  • Você gosta da comida vegetariana da Índia? (“Do you like vegetarian Indian food?”)

Answer

The answer pattern here is very similar to the one we saw for the previous question. You can start with sim (“yes”) or não (“no”), and then add more information to make your answer complete.

Sim / Não,eu(não) gosto[complemento].
Yes / No,I(don’t) like[complement].
  • Sim, eu gosto. (“Yes, I like it.”)
  • Sim, eu gosto da comida peruana. (“Yes, I like Peruvian food.”)
  • Não, eu não gosto muito. (“No, I don’t like it very much.”)
  • Não, eu não gosto da comida daqui. (“No, I don’t like the food from here.”) 

To emphasize how much you like (or don’t like) the local food, you can use stronger verbs than gostar (“to like”).

  • Sim, eu adoro. (“Yes, I adore it.”)
  • Sim, eu amo a comida da Colômbia. (“Yes, I love Colombian food.”)
  • Não, eu odeio a comida alemã. (“No, I hate German food.”)

Putting it all together

  • Q: Você gosta da comida da Tailândia? (“Do you like Thailand’s food?”) 
  • A: Sim, eu gosto da comida tailandesa. (“Yes, I like Thai food.”)
  • Q: Você gosta da comida do Chile? (“Do you like Chile’s food?”)
  • A: Não, eu odeio. (“No, I hate it.”)

7 – How is ___?

This is a versatile question pattern for you to learn. Let’s say you just made a delicious batch of cookies and offered some to your brand-new acquaintances. Now, you want to know what they think about them. What do you say?

Another scenario: You’re going to visit a friend in another city, but before packing, you want to know what the weather is like there. How can you ask? 

In both cases, the question is about how something is at the moment. For this reason, you should use the temporary form of the verb “to be” in Portuguese: estar.

  • Como está o / a [complemento]? 
Comoestáo / a[complemento]?
Howisthe[complement]?

Use this question pattern to ask how a singular thing or event is. The articles will change depending on the gender of the thing or event. Take a look at the examples:

  • Como está o bolo? (“How is the cake?”)
  • Como está a comida? (“How is the food?”)
  • Como está o clima aí? (“How is the weather there?”)
  • Como está a festa? (“How is the party?”)
  • Como estão os / as [complemento]?
Comoestãoos / as[complemento]?
Howarethe[complement]?

Use this second pattern to talk about plural things or events. Once again, make sure the article agrees with the thing or event.

  • Como estão os biscoitos? (“How are the cookies?”)
  • Como estão as férias? (“How is the vacation?”)

But what about asking a question about the essence or a permanent characteristic of something? In this case, you should use the permanent “to be” verb, which is ser

  • Como é o/a [complemento]?
Comoéo / a[complemento]?
Howisthe[complement]?
  • Como é a casa nova? (“How is the new house?”)
  • Como é a sua vizinha/ o seu vizinho? (“How is your neighbor?”)
  • Como é o gato? (“How is the cat?”)
  • Como são os/as [complemento]?
Comosãoos / as[complemento]?
Howarethe[complement]?
  • Como são as pessoas da cidade? (“How are the people of the city?”)
  • Como são os móveis novos? (“How is the new furniture?”)

If you need to refresh your memory, check the conjugation for the verbs ser and estar.

Answer

It’s fairly simple to answer these types of questions. Use the same verb that was used in the question (paying attention to the conjugation), and add the adjectives and/or adverbs you want. To make it more complete, you could also add the subject before the verb.

Sujeitoverbocomplemento.
Subjectverbcomplement.
  • Está boa. (“It’s good.”)
  • A comida está boa. (“The food is good.”)
  • Estão gostosos. (“They’re tasty.”)
  • Os biscoitos estão gostosos. (“The cookies are tasty.”)
  • É fofo. (“It’s cute.”)
  • O gato é fofo. (“The cat is cute.”)
  • São simpáticas. (“They’re friendly.”) 
  • As pessoas são simpáticas. (“The people are friendly.”)

Putting it all together

  • Q: Como está o namoro? (“How is the relationship?”)
  • A: Está muito bem, obrigado! (“It is very well, thank you!”)
  • Q: Como são os novos colegas? (“How are the new colleagues?”)
  • A: São muito simpáticos. (“They’re very friendly.”)
  • Q: Como está a sopa? (“How is the soup?”)
  • A: A sopa está muito salgada. (“The soup is very salty.”)
Child Eating Ice Cream

Como está o sorvete? (“How is the ice cream?”)

8 – What are you doing?

Here’s another versatile Portuguese question that, with just a few tweaks, can be used in a variety of situations.

Question

  • O que você está fazendo?
O quevocêestáfazendo?
Whatyouaredoing?

By adding more information at the end of the sentence, you can ask more-specific questions. 

  • O que você está fazendo agora? (“What are you doing now?”)
  • O que você está fazendo hoje? (“What are you doing today?”)
  • O que você está fazendo sozinho aqui? (“What are you doing alone here?”)
  • O que você está fazendo na sala? (“What are you doing in the living room?”)

In Portuguese, you can use this exact pattern to ask what someone is making in the kitchen:

  • O que você está fazendo para o almoço? (“What are you making for lunch?”)
  • O que você está fazendo no forno? (“What are you making in the oven?”)

You don’t need to be stuck with the verb fazer (“to do” / “to make”). By using other verbs in the gerund form, you open up many more possibilities:

  • O que você está assistindo? (“What are you watching?”)
  • O que você está cortando? (“What are you cutting?”)
  • O que você está ouvindo? (“What are you listening to?”)
  • O que você está assando? (“What are you baking?”)

Answer

To answer, you’ll need to describe the action you’re doing in the gerund form.

Euestou[verbo no gerúndio][complemento].
Iam[verb in gerund form][complement].
  • Eu estou lendo um livro. (“I am reading a book.”)
  • Eu estou limpando o quarto. (“I am cleaning the room.”)
  • Eu estou assando um bolo. (“I am baking a cake.”)
  • Eu estou tomando banho. (“I am taking a shower.”)
  • Eu estou correndo. (“I am running.”)

Putting it all together

  • Q: O que você está fazendo? (“What are you doing?”) 
  • A: Estou arrumando a garagem. (“I am organizing the garage.”)
  • Q: O que você está fazendo no quarto? (“What are you doing in the bedroom?”) 
  • A: Estou estudando. (“I am studying.”)
  • Q: O que vocês estão fazendo? (“What are you doing?”) – plural
  • A: Estamos assistindo um filme. (“We are watching a movie.”)
Group of Guys Watching a Soccer Game on TV

Estamos assistindo futebol. (“We are watching soccer.”)

9 – Are you all right?

This is certainly an essential question in our daily interactions with friends, colleagues, loved ones, and relatives!

  • Você está bem?
Vocêestábem?
Youarealright?

If you want to ask this question about somebody else, it’s easy: simply use the name or the pronoun instead of você (“you”).

  • Ela está bem? (“Is she alright?”)
  • Luís está bem? (“Is Luís alright?”)

You may also hear a simple: Tudo bem? (“Alright?”). It means the same thing!

Alternatively, there’s another question you can ask to discover how a person is. The pattern might look familiar to you.

  • Como você está?
Comovocêestá?
Howyouare?

Once again, you can ask the same question using other subjects:

  • Como ele está? (“How is he?”)

Answer

Euestou[complemento].
Iam[complement].

It’s common to see these sentences without the subject, as well.

  • Estou bem. (“I’m alright.”)
  • Eu estou muito bem. (“I am very well.”)
  • Ela está bem. (“She is alright.”)
  • Eu estou triste. (“I am sad.”)
  • Eu estou meio doente. (“I’m a bit sick.”)

If the question was Você está bem? (“Are you alright?”), you can also add sim (“yes”) or não (“no”) before the rest of the sentence.

  • Sim, estou bem. (“Yes, I am well.”)
  • Não, eu estou mal. (“No, I’m not well.”)

Putting it all together

  • Q: Você está bem? (“Are you alright?”) 
  • A: Sim, eu estou muito bem! (“Yes, I am very well!”)
  • Q: Tudo bem? (“Alright?”)
  • A: Não, não estou muito bem. (“No, I’m not very well.”)
  • Q: Como você está? (“How are you?”)
  • A: Estou preocupada. (“I’m worried.”)

10 – How much is it?

When shopping, eating out, or hiring a service, this is a must-ask question.

Question

  • Quanto custa?
Quantocusta?
How muchdoes it cost?
  • Quanto é?
Quantoé?
How muchis it?

These are very simple Portuguese questions for asking how much something costs. If you’re holding an item and showing it as you ask, it’s clear enough what you’re referring to. But if you need to make it more specific, add the name of the product or service at the end of the sentence.

  • Quanto custa esse livro? (“How much does this book cost?”)
  • Quanto é a massagem? (“How much is the massage?”)
  • Quanto custa a fatia de bolo? (“How much does the slice of cake cost?”)
  • Quanto é esse anel? (“How much is this ring?”)

Answer

To answer, you can simply state the value, or start the sentence with one of the verbs used in the question:

Custa / é[valor].
It costs / it is[value].

Remember that, in Brazil, the currency is the Real (R$). So when you’re talking about monetary values, you have to use the word reais and centavos (“cents”).

  • Custa cinco reais e cinquenta centavos. (“It costs R$5,50.”)
  • É vinte reais. (“It’s R$20,00.”)
  • Custa um real. (“It costs R$1,00.”)

Putting it all together

  • Q: Quanto custa o quadro? (“How much does the painting cost?”) 
  • A: Custa 150 reais. (“It costs R$150,00.”)
  • Q: Quanto é a mensalidade da academia? (“How much is the gym monthly fee?”) 
  • A: É 80 reais. (“It’s R$80,00.”)
Couple Grocery Shopping Together

Quanto custa esse iogurte? (“How much is this yogurt?”)

→ Want to practice your pronunciation? Listen to the Top 25 Portuguese Questions on PortuguesePod101!

3. Learn More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

This was a long lesson, but hopefully it gave you everything you need to know about asking Portuguese questions. Before you know it, you’ll be spouting them left and right! So take your chances and satisfy your curiosity by putting these questions into practice. Remember, they can be of great help when you’re feeling stuck in a conversation.

Did you like the way the questions and answers were presented? Did we leave out any questions you were hoping to see? Tell us what you think in the comments below! And feel free to come back to this article whenever you feel like it.

Now is the time to continue on your language-learning journey! 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.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese

Ace the Celpe-Bras Brazilian Portuguese Proficiency Test!

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Have you ever heard about Celpe-Bras? The name isn’t very clear, I know. But if you’re serious about your Portuguese learning, it’s good to be familiar with it! After all, Celpe-Bras is the official Brazilian Portuguese proficiency test, and the one exam you need to take if you have plans to study or work in Brazil.

Don’t be scared by words like “test” and “exam,” though! We’ll walk you through everything you need to know about this Portuguese test for foreigners, answering the most important questions. In this article, we’ll take a look at how the test is organized, how it measures one’s proficiency in Portuguese, how to register, and how to best prepare for it.

Even if you’ve never heard about Celpe-Bras before today, you’ll know everything about it by the end of this article. If you’ve already decided you’re going to take the exam, this article will be helpful for your preparation so you can achieve the results you want. Sound good? Let’s dive right in!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Study Strategies in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. What You Need to Know About Celpe-Bras
  2. What’s in the Celpe-Bras Exam?
  3. After the Test
  4. Tips on Preparing for Celpe-Bras
  5. Learn More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

1. What You Need to Know About Celpe-Bras

Celpe-Bras stands for Certificado de Proficiência em Língua Portuguesa para Estrangeiros (“Certificate of Portuguese Language Proficiency for Foreigners”). It’s the official certificate of proficiency in Brazilian Portuguese as a second language, and the only one recognized and issued by the Brazilian Ministry of Education. It’s also recognized internationally!

Officially, the Celpe-Bras certification is valid for life, although different institutions might specify how long ago the test should have been taken. 

The four levels of proficiency indicated by the test are:

  • Intermediate
  • Upper-intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Highly advanced

There isn’t a different test for each level, which means that every candidate takes the same test and their Celpe-Bras results indicate their proficiency level. 

Celpe-Bras is divided into two parts: a written section and an oral section. In total, the test takes 3 hours and 20 minutes to complete. During the exam, your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills will be evaluated. We’ll take an in-depth look at how exactly each section is organized later on.

A- Why Take the Test?

You might be wondering why taking the Portuguese proficiency test is important. Well, if you’re considering any of the following scenarios, the test might be for you:

  • Planning to enroll in a Brazilian university
  • Looking for a job in Brazil
  • Need to register in professional bodies, like the Medical Board
  • Need to otherwise prove your ability to communicate in Portuguese 

Taking the test is an investment of time and money, so make sure it’s the right option for you, depending on your situation. If you’re only looking to find out your proficiency level, but don’t need to prove it to any institution, consider taking the Assessment Test by signing up for PortuguesePod101.com’s Premium PLUS program.

A Pile of Books

Want to study in Brazil? Then you need to take the Celpe-Bras test!

B- Celpe-Bras Registration

Celpe-Bras takes place two times every year: once in the first semester and another time in the second semester. There are currently more than 120 places in Brazil and abroad with permission to administer the test. When you’re ready to register, you can search for Celpe-Bras test centers on this page (in Portuguese). 

Registration is done online, through the official website. Candidates need to create an account by giving their telephone number and email address. After that, they need to fill in all of the necessary information, as well as details about when and where the test will be taken. 

They also ask some personal questions, which will be used in the oral section of the test. Finally, candidates have to upload a document to register successfully. After receiving a confirmation, all that’s left is to pay the registration fee.

Each place can charge its own fee, but there is a maximum value defined by the Brazilian Ministry of Education. The maximum fee for exams taken in Brazil is R$200 and for exams taken abroad it’s US$100. 

After they get the payment confirmation, candidates receive a proof of registration, which should be kept in a safe place. Candidates need to present this document on the day of the exam and, later on, will need it to retrieve the test results. On the day of the test, candidates should also take a valid ID document with a picture.

C- Assessment and Score

Basically, what Celpe-Bras wants to evaluate is your capacity for understanding and adapting context, your vocabulary, and your logic in constructing sentences. 

To get the certification, a candidate has to score at the intermediate level (or higher). The oral section and the written section are graded separately. If each section has a different mark, your final grade will be equal to the lowest score.

Your score will determine your proficiency level as follows:

LevelGradeDescription
No certification0,00 to 1,99
Intermediate2,00 to 2,75Capable of comprehending, as well as producing, spoken and written text about limited themes, in known contexts and everyday situations.
Mistakes are not severe enough to compromise communication.
Upper-intermediate2,76 to 3,50Same as the previous level, but mistakes in pronunciation and written text are less frequent. 
Advanced3,51 to 4,25Capable of comprehending, as well as producing, spoken and written text in a fluent manner, about various themes in both known and unknown contexts. 
Some mistakes might be made when talking about unknown contexts, but not enough to compromise communication.
Highly advanced4,26 to 5,00Same as the previous level, but mistakes in pronunciation and written text are less frequent. 

You can find more information about Celpe-Bras on the official website, in Portuguese. 

2. What’s in the Celpe-Bras Exam?

Now that you know all the details about registering and grading, it’s time to learn what you’ll face when taking the Portuguese proficiency exam!

A- Written Section

This section has 4 tasks, and you might take up to 3 hours to complete it. 

TaskContentAbilities testedTime
1VideoOral comprehension and writing abilities30 minutes
2AudioOral comprehension and writing abilities
3Written textReading and writing abilities2 hours and 30 minutes
4Written textReading and writing abilities

Celpe-Bras is not a multiple-choice test, which means that you’ll have to answer the questions in essay form. The questions might ask you to give your personal opinion about the topics discussed, or to back up your answer with information taken directly from the content presented to you. 

Remember that their objective in this section is to test two things: how well you can make sense of the information given to you, and how well you can explain your point of view in writing

A few tips to keep in mind:

  • Before this section begins, you’ll be given some time to ask questions. Be sure to ask about anything that’s unclear to you at that point. 
  • The audio and video components will be repeated, so don’t panic if it’s not crystal-clear at first. Take a deep breath and pay attention the second time it comes around! 
  • Read the written text first. Then, after reading the prompt questions, go back to the text and underline whatever information you think is relevant. Taking notes at this point is also a good idea.
  • Take a few minutes to structure your answer. Think about what your main points will be before starting to write.
  • After you’re done, don’t be in a hurry to hand it in! Re-read all of your answers and make any necessary corrections.
A Woman Writing

Start practicing now: write your next journal entry in Portuguese.

B- Oral Section

The oral section takes 20 minutes, and during this time, the candidate will have a conversation with the evaluator. Another evaluator is also present, taking notes, and will not participate in the conversation. The objective of this section is to test your oral comprehension and speaking abilities.

The first 5 minutes of this section will focus on the candidate’s personal information. Remember when we said you would have to complete some personal information when registering? They’ll use that to begin the conversation. That’s why it’s a good idea to give as much detail as possible when filling out the registration form.

After that, the following 15 minutes will focus on three topics to be discussed between you and the evaluator. He or she will use different visual props, like magazine covers, photos, and other images or messages. The evaluator will ask questions about how they make you feel, your opinion, or what the images are trying to communicate. They might also ask about a specific word used in it and its meaning. 

Some tips to help you ace the oral section of Celpe-Bras:

  • Take a screenshot of the information you fill in when registering and print it out. This way, you can read it while preparing for the exam. This will give you an idea of the first questions they’ll ask you.
  • Remember that the evaluators are not there to make you fail! Most of the time, they’ll try to make you feel at ease, so the evaluation can flow more like a conversation.
  • Take your time to really listen to what’s being asked. Avoid being in your head all the time, thinking on how to answer even before they’re done asking. 
  • Avoid using excess slang or colloquial language.
A Woman and Man Having a Conversation

The oral section is like a conversation.

3. After the Test

Congratulations! After all the preparation and taking the test itself, all that’s left is the waiting part. It takes around two months for the results to become available. Results will be published online, and after that, you can ask for the certificate. Remember that you’ll need the proof of registration to do that, so keep it in a safe place! 

It’s not possible to ask for a revision of the score. But you should know that the grading process takes the input of two separate evaluators, in both the written and oral sections. In case the grades are very different, a third evaluator is called in to assess it. 

4. Tips on Preparing for Celpe-Bras

Now that you know how to successfully register for and take this Brazilian Portuguese proficiency test, it’s time to get down to business—in this case, to your studies. After all, preparation is the word of order when it comes to proficiency tests. 

Here are our top tips for your Celpe-Bras preparation and to help you achieve the results you want!

A- Reading

  • Keep up with Brazilian Portuguese news. There are several channels and websites available. From a sports-only website to the most popular national newspaper, you can read about anything that interests you. 
  • Read opinion articles and movie reviews from quality sources.
  • Reading blogs, magazines, and books will introduce you to different writing styles and expand your vocabulary.
  • Beware of using social media to prepare: normally, the language used in everyday comments and posts is not 100% correct. 

B- Listening

  • Try to listen to Portuguese every day. Even if you don’t have much time, don’t go one day without Portuguese listening practice. PortuguesePod101 has a huge lesson library with many listening exercises you can use!
  • Watch TV shows or news to get used to normal conversation speed.

C- Speaking

  • Try to express your feelings and opinions out loud. Talk to Portuguese-speakers, asking and answering questions about different topics. 
  • Record yourself and listen to your recording afterwards to catch where you can improve. This will also help you feel more comfortable with speaking Portuguese overall.

D- Writing

  • Start writing in Portuguese every day. You can write a journal entry, your to-do list, a message to a Portuguese-speaking friend…whatever it takes to get comfortable with it!
  • Ask native speakers to read your writing and give you feedback. If you don’t know anyone you could ask in person, reach out online.

In addition, you should definitely reserve some time to take the past editions of Celpe-Bras at home. Take them as if they were the real deal, in a quiet place and timing yourself

You can also benefit from one-on-one tutoring through MyTeacher, an exclusive service by PortuguesePod101. You can get detailed reviews on your written answers, and improve your pronunciation and listening skills.

Language Skills

5. Learn More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

Whether you were familiar with Celpe-Bras or had never heard about it before, we hope this guide gave you the information you need! When it comes time for you to get your Portuguese proficiency certification, you’ll be prepared to do amazingly well.

Do you think we forgot to cover something about Celpe-Bras? Or maybe you took the exam before and want to share your experience? Let us know in the comments!

Don’t forget to look for the past Celpe-Bras tests and practice with the real thing. Now is the perfect time to take your Portuguese studies up a notch. To help you along the way, there are lots of 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. Having a membership with us is especially useful if you’re planning to take a Portuguese proficiency test, as you can get quality feedback and training.

Good luck, and happy Portuguese learning!

Top 10 Portuguese Sentence Patterns You Will Actually Use

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Learning a language is a never-ending journey. Even our own mother tongue can be surprising at times! But let’s be honest: the language we use in the majority of our daily interactions tends to repeat itself. That’s why one of the smartest things to do when learning a new language is to cut to the chase and pick up the most common sentences.

No need to waste lots of time with grammar rules or perfecting each little sound. Instead, practice these common Portuguese sentence patterns and boost your communication skills! Once you have them down, each of your interactions with a native speaker or a fellow language-learner will fill you with more confidence and expand your vocabulary. All it takes to begin is getting comfortable with these straight-to-the-point sentence patterns in Portuguese.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover some easy Portuguese sentence patterns, as well as more complex and detailed ones; these will give you the flexibility to build your own Portuguese phrases. The examples we provide will help you understand the context in which each one is used. Practice these sentence patterns until they become second-nature to you. We guarantee that it will give you a big advantage in your language-learning journey as you continue improving!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese Table of Contents
  1. A is B
  2. The Current Moment
  3. I Want
  4. I Need
  5. I Like and I Love
  6. Asking Someone for Something: Please
  7. Asking for Permission
  8. Asking for Information
  9. Asking About the Time
  10. Asking About Location
  11. Learn More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

1. A is B

Sentence Patterns

This Portuguese sentence pattern is extremely versatile! Whether you want to link two nouns or a noun and an adjective, this is the structure you’ll use. This makes it handy for talking about, or describing, people and objects. 

The foundation for this type of sentence in Portuguese is the verb ser (“to be”). If you need a quick refresher, check the conjugation of the verb.

  • Eu sou alta. (“I am tall.”) [female]
  • João é simpático. (“João is nice.”)
  • Marta é minha esposa. (“Marta is my wife.”)
  • O médico é muito experiente. (“The doctor is very experienced.”)
  • Minha mãe era professora. (“My mother was a teacher.”)
  • O churrasco é amanhã. (“The barbecue is tomorrow.”)
  • Esta universidade era a melhor do país. (“This university was the best in the country.”)

As you can see, by using the different conjugations of the verb ser, you can add information about the subject. Following the verb, you can use a noun, an adjective, or an adverb.


2. The Current Moment

While in English, we use the verb “to be” to talk about both permanent and temporary characteristics, in Portuguese, there’s a difference. In the previous Portuguese sentence pattern, we already saw the verb ser being used. Now, let’s see the sentence structure used to talk about things in the current moment.

For this, let’s invite the verb estar (“to be,” impermanent). Estar is another one of those useful little verbs that appear all the time. It might be used to talk about something we are temporarily:

  • Eu estou confusa. (“I am confused.”)
  • Meu filho está com fome. (“My son is hungry.”)
  • O dia está nublado. (“The day is cloudy.”)
  • Nós estamos muito atrasados. (“We are very late.”)
  • O jantar estava uma delícia! (“The dinner was delicious!”)
  • Nós estamos no shopping. (“We are at the mall.”)

But it doesn’t stop there. The verb estar is also used to talk about things we are doing or the weather.

  • Nós estamos limpando a casa. (“We are cleaning the house.”)
  • Estou chegando. (“I’m arriving.”)
  • Está chovendo. (“It’s raining.”)
  • Você estará em casa amanhã? (“Will you be home tomorrow?”)
  • Ele estava correndo quando você ligou. (“He was running when you called.”)

When talking about actions that are happening in this moment, or that were happening in the moment you’re referring to, the gerund form is commonly used.

Someone Sitting on a Dock with an Umbrella

Está nublado. (“It’s cloudy.”)

3. I Want

Let’s say you’re walking around a famous city in Brazil, under the hot sun, and you see a juice stand with mouthwatering fruit juices. You want to get one ASAP! How can you let them know you want an ice-cold glass of juice?

The verb querer (“to want”) is used to express something you want. If you need to, you can check the conjugation of the verb querer.

  • Eu quero um suco de laranja gelado, por favor. (“I want a cold orange juice, please.”)
  • Eu quero comprar um (par de) sapato(s). (“I want to buy a pair of shoes.”)
  • Você quer ir no show? (“Do you want to go to the concert?”)
  • Meu pai quer ir no jogo de futebol. (“My dad wants to go to the soccer match.”)

There are also a couple of ways to express something similar: “I would like.” For that, use the verb gostar (“to like”) in the subjunctive mode.

  • Eu gostaria de um copo de água. (“I would like a glass of water.”)
  • Ela gostaria de te ver. (“I would like to see you.”)
  • Você gostaria de vir? (“Would you like to come?”)

That’s great, but what if you have to make sure the people at the juice stand don’t put sugar in your juice? For situations like this, you need to learn how to say you don’t want something. It’s very easy: simply put the word não (“no”) before your verb.

  • Eu não quero açúcar. (“I don’t want sugar.”)
  • Meu pai não quer ir ao jogo de futebol. (“My dad doesn’t want to go to the soccer match.”)

4. I Need

When things go up a notch, you might prefer making it clear that you need something! For this, you’ll use the verb precisar (“to need”). Regardless of what your needs are—food, drinks, shade on a hot day, a friend to go to the beach with—this verb has got you covered!

Notice that, when the verb precisar is followed by another verb, you don’t need any preposition in between them. Also, the verb that follows precisar is used in the infinitive form. For example:

  • Eu preciso dormir. (“I need to sleep.”)
  • Precisamos conversar. (“We need to talk.”) – the pronoun “we” is implicit in the sentence
  • Eu preciso voltar para a academia. (“I need to go back to the gym.”)

Now, you can also use the verb precisar with a nominal phrase, or in other words, a phrase without a verb. In these cases, you’ll need the preposition de (“of”). Here are a few examples of this Portuguese sentence construction:

  • Você precisa de algo? (“Do you need something?”)
  • Ela precisou de remédio. (“She needed medicine.”)
  • Vocês vão precisar de um carro. (“You will need a car.”)
A Little Girl Hugging Her Dog

Preciso de um abraço! (“I need a hug!”)

5. I Like and I Love

There are a couple of different ways to express the things you like, adore, and love in Portuguese. Some people would argue that there should be more words to cover the entire spectrum of love we feel, but for now, there are only three Portuguese sentence patterns you need to learn! 

The first is the sentence using gostar (“to like”):

  • Eu gosto de você. (“I like you.”) 
  • Ela gostava de fazer compras. (“She liked shopping.”)
  • Nós gostamos de gatos. (“We like cats.”)
  • Gosto muito de dançar. (“I like to dance very much.”)
  • Vocês gostam muito dessa cidade! (“You like this city a lot!”)

Two things to notice: 

1) The verb gostar is followed by a preposition. In most cases, the preposition is de (“of”).

2) As you can see in the last two examples, you can add the adverb muito (“very” or “a lot”) after the verb to amplify the intensity! This way, you can say that you like something a lot.

Now, if you really like something, you might use the verb adorar (“to adore”). It’s commonly perceived as being a bit more intense than gostar. Although the literal translation is “to adore,” unless you’re talking about a religious setting, it’s more correct to translate it to “like very much” or even “love.”

  • Ela adora comida italiana! (“She loves Italian food!”)
  • Nós adoramos a sua casa. (“We like your house very much.”)
  • Eu adoraria ir à festa. (“I would love to go to the party.”)
  • Eles adoram cozinhar. (“They love to cook.”)

Lastly, to express love or fondness for just about anything, use the verb amar (“to love”). But know that Brazilians are intense, and the verb amar is used very often. Saw a movie you liked? You can say you loved it. Your friend sent you a relatable meme? You can reply with amei (“loved it”)! Want to tell your best friend you love them? Yep, you would use the same verb.

  • Amo muito meus pais. (“I love my parents a lot.”)
  • Minha mãe ama meus amigos. (“My mother loves my friends.”)
  • Eles amavam comida mexicana. (“They loved Mexican food.”)
  • Eu te amo. (“I love you.”)

The last example is an interesting case: although in Brazil, the pronoun você (“you”) is most commonly used in speech, eu te amo is actually conjugated in the second person of the speech (tu). Don’t worry about it, though! Do as most Brazilians do, and say Eu te amo to that special person.

Note that in Portuguese, there’s another verb to express being in love: apaixonar.

  • Estou apaixonado por você. (“I’m in love with you.”)
  • Maria está apaixonada por João. (“Maria is in love with João.”)
A Woman Biting into a Chocolate Bar

Eu amo chocolate. (“I love chocolate.”)

6. Asking Someone for Something: Please

Por favor (“please”) is your go-to expression for asking for something politely. There are two places where you can place it: at the beginning or at the end of the sentence. 

When asking, place por favor at the end. When politely reminding someone of a favor or something you asked, it can go at the beginning or the end. Let’s take a look at some examples of possible Portuguese sentence structures:

  • Você pode pegar a caixa, por favor? (“Can you get the box, please?”)
  • Por favor, não esquece do bolo! (“Please, don’t forget the cake!”)
  • Mãe, por favor, bata na porta antes de entrar. (“Mom, please, knock on the door before coming in.”)
  • Me ajuda, por favor? (“Help me, please?”)
  • Fecha a porta, por favor. (“Close the door, please.”)

7. Asking for Permission

Use the verb poder (“can” or “may”) to talk about permission, both to ask for it and to grant it.

  • Eu posso entrar? (“May I come in?”)
  • Pode me dar um copo de água? (“Can you give me a glass of water?”)
  • Com licença, pode me ajudar? (“Excuse me, can you help me?”)
  • Posso pedir uma sobremesa? (“Can I order a dessert?”)
  • Podem entrar! (“You may come in!”)

An important expression is com licença, which translates to “excuse me.” If you need to stop somebody in the street to ask for directions, use the expression at the beginning. For example:

  • Com licença, pode me dar uma informação? (“Excuse me, can you give me some information?”)
Sentence Components

8. Asking for Information

Let’s go back to our imaginary juice stand on a hot day in Brazil. Very likely, you’ll find some different fruits, maybe even one you’ve never seen before. How can you ask for information about the fruit, or for its name? Let’s take a look at the various ways to ask “What is…?”

  • O que é isso? (“What is this?”)
  • O que temos para jantar? (“What do we have for dinner?”)
  • O que está acontecendo? (“What is happening?”)
  • Que fruta é essa? (“What fruit is this?”)
  • Qual é o seu nome? (“What is your name?”)
  • Quais são as regras do jogo? (“What are the rules of the game?”)

As you can see, there are some different words you can use to express “what.” Here are some tips to make it easier for you.

O queUse it before verbs or pronouns.O que é aquilo? (“What is that?”)O que você faz? (“What do you do?”)
QueUse it before nouns.Que cheiro é esse? (“What smell is this?”)
QualUse it when the answer is something other than an explanation or definition.It’s also used as “which.”Qual é seu número de telefone? (“What is your phone number?”)Qual é o seu carro? (“Which one is your car?”)
QuaisIt’s the plural form of qual.Quais eram as opções? (“What were the options?”)Quais são as suas caixas? (“Which ones are your boxes?”)

Once again, you can add com licença to the beginning of the sentence to be polite when approaching others!

  • Com licença, que horas são? (“Excuse me, what time is it?”)

9. Asking About the Time

To make sure you get to your appointments on time, you need to get comfortable with the question “When is…?” The Portuguese sentence pattern for asking about time is pretty straightforward. You only need the word quando, which can be used at the beginning or end of the sentence. Here are some practical Portuguese sentence examples:

  • Quando é seu aniversário? (“When is your birthday?”)
  • Quando começou a festa? (“When did the party begin?”)
  • Quando são as suas férias? (“When are your vacations?”)
  • Quando o avião chega? (“When does the airplane arrive?”)
  • Seus pais chegam quando? (“Your parents arrive when?”)

You can also use another sentence pattern: Que + unit of time + verb.

  • Que horas são? (“What time is it?”)
  • Que dia você viaja? (“What day will you travel?”)

10. Asking About Location

Another important set of Portuguese sentences to learn, especially when you’re in a foreign country, are questions for asking where something is. When talking about location, the words onde and aonde will be your best friends. 

  • Onde estamos? (“Where are we?”)
  • Onde fica o supermercado? (“Where is the supermarket?”)
  • Aonde vamos? (“Where are we going?”)
  • Onde você nasceu? (“Where were you born?”)
  • De onde você é? (“Where are you from?”)
  • Onde está minha chave? (“Where is my key?”)

Sometimes, even Brazilians have trouble differentiating between onde and aonde. Think of it like this: If you’re talking about “where to,” as in being in movement and going to a place, you can use aonde

  • Aonde você vai? (“Where are you going?”)
  • Onde você está? (“Where are you?”)
A Woman Checking Her Watch

Com licença, que horas são? (“Excuse me, what time is it?”)

11. Learn More Portuguese with PortuguesePod101

With this guide to the most useful Portuguese sentence patterns, you’ll be ready to start conversations in Portuguese in a bunch of different contexts. Enrich your vocabulary and add details to your sentences and, in no time, you’ll be telling stories and making jokes in a foreign language!

Feeling more confident about speaking in Portuguese? Did we miss any useful patterns you want to learn? Let us know if the sentence patterns explained in this article are helpful to you! Don’t forget to come back to this article whenever you need to refresh your memory. 

Now is the time to continue your language-learning journey! 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!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese

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!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in Portuguese

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.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Portuguese

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 Brazilian 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.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Around Town in Portuguese Table of Contents
  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 Brazilian 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 Brazilian-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 Brazilian 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 Brazilian 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:

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  • 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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