FAQ Sobre o Português

1.    Define Articles


When do I need to use articles in Portuguese?

First of all, it is necessary to know that in Portuguese we have two articles, definite (the) and indefinite (a, an). Now we are going to talk about the definite article “the”.
In English, there aren’t feminine or masculine words in general, but in Portuguese we do have them. And we have the feminine definite article “a” and the masculine definite article “o”.

We also have singular and plural forms for them.

In other words:

The =

o ( the – definite masculine, singular)
os (the – definite masculine, plural)
a (the – definite feminine, singular)
as (the – definite feminine, plural)

In Portuguese the names of countries usually require articles in front of them.

  • O Brasil
  • A China
  • O Japão
  • Os Estados Unidos
  • A Franca
  • A Itália
  • A Franca



Continents, some states, regions, mountains ranges, oceans, rivers, roads, streets also require articles in front of them:

A América do Sul
A América do norte
A Ásia
A Bahia
O Norte
No Sudeste
O Atlântico
O rio Amazonas
A Avenida Paulista
A Rua Dona Veridiana
A alameda Franca



On the other hand, no articles are required in front of cities or towns. Of course, there are some exceptions.

São Paulo
Belo Horizonte
Nova Iorque


O Rio de Janeiro
O Porto
O Cairo

Pay attention:

When we need to use a preposition in a sentence, it is necessary to make a contraction:

Preposition em = in/on/at

em + o = no
em + a = na
em + os = nos
em + as = nas


Eu moro no Brasil
Eu moro nos Estados Unidos.
Ele mora na Inglaterra.

Preposition de = of/ from

de + o = do
de+ a = da
de+ os = dos
de+ as = das


Sou do Brasil.
Sou da Itália.
Ele é do Rio de Janeiro.

The use of articles in Portuguese cannot be compared to their use in English, since they are different structures(?). In English, for example, we never use definite articles before proper nouns, whereas in Portuguese we do. In English we say, “Brazil is a huge country.” , but not, “The Brazil is a huge country.”. But in Portuguese, if we could translate it literally, we would be saying “the Brazil”, not only Brasil.


2.    How do Portuguese verbs change?


Portuguese verbs can be divided into two groups: regular and irregular.

The regular ones follow a pattern. The irregular ones have some parts that don’t follow a pattern. (see red marks on Verbs table)

Regular verbs can be divided into 3 groups;

1 – 1st conjugation – ending in –ar




Eu moro
Eu moro
Você mora
Ele mora
Ela mora
Nós moramos
Vocês moram
Eles moram


Eu falo
Você fala
Ele fala
Ela fala
Nós falamos
Vocês falam
Eles falam

As you can see, they change in the same way. You take out ar ( mor-, fal- and add the “appropriate ending” (o, a , amos, am)


Eu falo Português.
Eu moro em Paris.
Eu moro no (em + o) Rio de Janeiro.


3.    When do I need to use “ser” or “estar”?


In the begining this may be a problem. In English we have only one verb: “to be”, but in Portuguese we have 2 different verbs that can be translated like that.

Ser is usually used to indicate something permanent, while estar usually indicates something temporay or current.


Eu sou do Brasil. (permanent)
Ele é japonês. (permanent)
As praias brasileiras são bonitas. (permanent)

Eu estou cansada. (temporary)
Ele está com fome (temporary)

We use “ser” to indicate: origin, nationality, profession, occupation, physical qualities and characteristics.


Eu sou do Brasil.
Sou brasileiro.
Sou professor.
Você é aluno.
Ele é alto.
Ele é loiro e alto.
Ela é bonita. (permanent)

We usually use “estar” to indicate: location, activity (when you are doing something at that moment), personal state and when someone looks something (i.e. in a particular way, at that moment).

Eu estou no escritório.
Eu estou estudando na Brasil.
Ele está com fome.
Eu estou cansada.
Ela está bonita. (She looks pretty)


4.    How do we conjugate the verb “to go” “ir”?

      Which prepositions do I need to use?


This is an irregular verb, for example: the infinitive is “ir”, but it changes like this in the present:

Eu vou
Você vai
Ele vai
Nós vamos
Vocês vão
Eles vão
Elas vão

This verb may be followed by three different prepositions, depending on the meaning of the sentence:

Ir para = ir a = go to….

Eu vou para a escola. (I go to school.)
Ele vai para casa. (He goes home.)
Nós vamos para a praia. (We go to the beach.)
Eu vou ao supermercado. (I go to the supermarket.)

Ir de = go by…

Eu vou de carro para a escola. (I go to school by car)
Ele vai de ônibus. (He goes by bus.)

Ir a = to go on

Eu vou a pé. (I go on foot)


5.    Why do I need to use the preposition “de” with the verb “gostar”?


Because this is a rule. We always use “gostar de”. The verb “gostar” is always followed by the preposition “de”, except when you are asking a question with a question word (e.g. Who), in that case, the preposition precedes the question word (e.g. De quem)

Gostar + de + noun

Eu gosto de sorvete.
Eu gosto de pão.

Gostar + (de + article)+noun

Eu gostei do (de+o) filme de ontem.

Gosto + de + pronoun

Gosto de você.

Gostar + (de + pronoun)

Eu gosto dele (de+ele)


6.    Do I use the verb “ter” as in English?


Sometimes yes, but sometimes no.

The verb “ter” means “to have”, “to possess”,“to own”.

The verb “ter” expresses a sense of possession, but it is not identical to the English verb “have” in every aspect. The verb “ter” is never used in Portuguese meaning “eat food”. If you say in English, “I have sandwiches for lunch.”, you mean that you eat sandwiches for lunch. If you say in Portuguese “Eu tenho sanduíches para o almoço.”, this means you possess the sandwiches.

We use ter + noun:

Eu tenho um filho.
Eu tenho um carro.
Eu tenho uma reunião.
Ele tem problemas.
Eu não tenho tempo.

Attention: We use the verb “have” to talk about age.

In English we use the verb “to be”, but in Portuguese, we use the verb “to have”.


Eu tenho 36 anos.

If you translate it literally, it would be “I have 36 years.” That is why we often say we cannot translate things literally all the time.

Verb “ter” replacing “haver” (there to be).

In English we say: ”There is a pen on the table.”, whereas in Portuguse it would be: “Há uma caneta sobre a mesa.”, or, for example, “There are two men at the Coffee Shop.”: “ Há dois homens na Cafeteria.”
Here it is important to notice that in Portuguese we (don´t have change the verb “haver” when it means “existir”)

Here in Brazil, we don´t very often use the corret verb. In other words, we use the verb “ter” instead of “haver”. It is not correct, but commom.

Tem uma caneta sobre a mesa.
Têm dois homens na Cafeteria.