Brazilian grammar - Basic Portuguese grammar

Portuguese grammar is basically the same as the English language but, there are of course differences. In this section of my site I will talk about some of the most important areas of this language that I think you should know about. Remember! this is all open source material & if you already have a good working knowledge of the Portuguese language then maybe it will be just reinforcement for you. Consider the content on this site simply a reference. Below is a list of the key subjects I will explain in this section:


Nouns

 

In the Portuguese language, most nouns / words are either Feminine or masculine. As in the Spanish language, there are rules in Portuguese which indicates when a word is feminine or masculine (and of course there are exceptions to the rules). The endings of the words usually tell you if it is feminine or masculine. The most common ones that you will find are O and A.

 

Example;

  1. Gato ( Cat ) = masculine
  2. Menina ( Girl ) = feminine

Here is a list of some more common feminine & masculine endings:

 

Feminine

  1. a
  2. ??o
  3. s?o
  4. ade
  5. gem
  6. z?o
  7. ss?o

Masculine

  1. o
  2. l
  3. r
  4. m
  5. ?

The Plural

 

To change some words to the plural, for the endings with example - o, a, ??o, ss?o, ade, just add an s, but there are some general rules to remember. Let me try to give you a few examples below.

 

Word (English) Letters ending with Subtract Add Results
animal (animal) L L is animais
homem (men) M M ns homens
computador (computer) R N/A es computadores
cora??o (heart) ?o ?o ?es cora??es

 

Here is a list of some articles:

  1. a = um / uma
  2. some = uns / umas
  3. the = o / a (plural = os / as)

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Personal Pronouns

 

Here are a few of the most common pronouns:

 

  1. I = Eu
  2. You = Voc?
  3. We = N?s
  4. They = Eles/Elas
  5. Senhor/Senhora (used when speaking with an elder or person of a respectful position)

Note: A lot of times in the spoken Portuguese of Brazil, the pronoun is omitted because the verb conjugation tells who is doing or did or will do the action.

 

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Reflexive Pronouns

 

In the Portuguese language, there are what are called "Reflexive Pronouns". These really are identifiers of self action.

 

Example;

  • I feel tired = Eu me sinto cansado (literal translation = I myself feel tired)
  • We are downtown = N?s estamos centro da cidade (literal translation = We ouselves are downtown)
  • He killed himself = Ele se matou
  • She hit herself = Ela se bateu

 

list of Reflexive Pronouns:

  1. me = myself
  2. se = yourself / themselves / himself / herself / yourselves
  3. nos = ourselves

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Comparisons

 

In Portuguese, when comparing objects to another, use the word - que (than).

 

Example;

  • My shoes are bigger than your boots = Meus sapatos s?o maior que suas botas
  • My city is better than this = Minha cidade ? melhor que essa

When describing an object of like values / properties, you can use the word - como (as/like)

 

Example;

  • I had a bicycle like this in the US = Eu tinha uma bicicleta como essa nos Estados Unidos

 

Here is a list of Comparisons:

 

Adjective Comparative Superlative
alto = tall mais alto = taller o mais alto = the tallest
pequeno = small maior = bigger o maior = the biggest
grande = big menor = smaller o menor = the smallest
bom = good melhor = better o melhor = the best
mau = bad pior = worse o pior = the worse

 

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Compound Nouns

 

To seperate compound nouns, the Portuguese language uses the preposition- de. I included the "literal translation" in the table below:

 

Word (Portuguese) Literal translation
phone card = cart?o de telefone card of telephone
toe nail = unha de p? nail of foot
tooth paste = creme de dental cream of dental
bath towel = toalha de banho towel of bath
hair cut = corte de cabelo cut of hair

 

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Possessives

 

One thing you need to remember with possessives in the third person, is when you are refering to ownership of an object, it is back wards. Let me use this table below to help explain:

 

Sentence Literal translation
This car belongs to her = Este carro ? dela This car is of hers
These are his socks = Essas s?o as meias dele These are the socks of him
At their house = Em casa deles At house of them
These are the keys to her car = Estas s?o as chaves do carro dela These are the keys of the car of her
My fathers life = A vida do meu pai Life of my father

 

Starting to get the idea?

And here is a short list of some possessives:

 

  1. My = meu/minha
  2. your = seu/sua
  3. ours = nosso/a
  4. theirs = deles/delas

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Adjectives

 

Adjectives in Portuguese are different than in English in that they are used back wards. You have to remember to use them in reverse however; not always do Brazilians use them this way. And another thing you need to remember is that thing that I talked about in the beginning of this section - "Feminine" & "Masculine".

 

The subject or Noun must agree with the verb/adjective. Lets use "yellow house" as an example. Since house is the subject, and in Portuguese it is Feminine, then it will use the Feminine of yellow ( Amarela/o ) Below is a list as an example:

  1. The yellow house = A casa armarela/o
  2. The red car = O carro vermelho/a
  3. The wet dog = O cachorro molhado/a
  4. A good girl = Uma menina boa/bom

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Contractions

 

Contractions are words that are squeezed><together for easier pronunciation. The table below will show you some examples:

 

in the em + o/a = no/na
in a em + um/uma = num/numa
in some em + uns/umas/algum/alguma/alguns/algumas = nuns/numas/nalgum/nalguma/nalguns/nalgumas
from those de + aqueles/aquelas = daqueles/daquelas
in that em + aquele/aquela = naquele/naquela
in those em + aqueles/aquelas = naqueles/naquelas
from here de + aqui = daqui
in this em + este/esta/esse/essa = neste/nesta/nesse/nessa
in these em + estes/estas/esses/essas = nestes/nestas/nesses/nessas
from this de + este/esta/esse/essa = deste/desta/desse/dessa
from these de + estes/estas/esses/essas = destes/destas/desses/dessas
from that de + aquele/aquela = daquele/daquela
from some de + uns/umas/algum/alguma/alguns/algumas = duns/dumas/dalgum/dalguma/dalguns/dalgumas

 

 

 

 

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