Notice that there are four different forms equivalent to the english
"you". In the singular, Tu is used to address
a family member, a friend, or someone younger, while Você
is more formal. In the plural is the same: Vós is
the familiar treatment, and Vocês is formal. Both
the formal treatments use the third person when making verb patterns.
In Brazil, the familiar addressings Tu and Vós are not used, and Você/Vocês are used in all situations. In Portugal, the use of Vós is practically extinct in most of the country, being replaced by Vocês, but it's still widely used in northern areas.
Perhaps you have noticed that there is no "it" in portuguese. Each verb form already tells which person is doing the action, and so one doesn't have to put the person explicitly. For instance, the english "it rains" is translated as "chove".
"They" is Eles if one is refering to a group of men, and Elas if refering to a group of women. Eles is also used in mixed gender groups.
There are two different verbs in portuguese that can be translated to the english To Be. The verb Ser is used to express a permanent characteristic of something. Estar is used for transient forms. This will be better explained with some examples, so here is the present tense of both verbs, plus some sentences using them:
Ser (to be)
Estar (to be)
Eu sou Português - I am Portuguese (permanent form)
Vós sois grandes - You are big (permanent form)
O céu está nublado - The sky is cloudy (transient form)
Eu estou sentado - I am sitting down (transient form)
The infinitive of all Portuguese verbs ends with an vowel+r.
There are different conjugation patterns depending on the vowel
before the r. In the list below you can find the patterns
for the present tense of verbs ending in ar, er,
and ir. There are also a few verbs ending in or, but that's
a special case which will be treated in some advanced lesson.
To make the verb patterns, you first need to extract the radical. That couldn't be more simple: just take the vowel+r out of the word. In cantar the radical is cant, in comer the radical is com, and so on. Finnaly add the ending for the person you want to conjugate.
In this list you can find the present tense of the verbs cantar, comer, and partir, each of a different conjugation. In bold you can find each one of the personal endings. for the sake of simplicity, I will omit the Ela, Você, Elas, and Vocês pronouns, which are always equal to the Ele/Eles forms
Cantar (to sing)
Comer (to eat)
Partir (to break, to leave)
All the regular verbs follow this pattern. Now, suppose you want to say "we run". In Portuguese, the verb "to run" is correr, a verb that ends in er, and thus conjugated like comer. The radical of the verb is corr, and the ending corresponding to the first person in the plural is emos (see the list for comer). So, "we run" is "nós corremos" in Portuguese. Easy, no?
Finally, here are some examples of sentences that use the verbs given above. Don't worry for now about the adjectives and adverbs: that will be one of the subjects of next lesson.
O homem está sentado - The man is sitting down
O cão é novo - The dog is young
O gato é velho - The cat is old
Eles estão aqui- They are here
Vós sois belos - You are beautiful
Nós cantamos bem - We sing well
Eles comem muito - They eat a lot
And that's all for lesson 2. You are welcome to continue and go on for lesson 3. There you will learn how to form the masculine/feminine and the singular/plural. You will also learn how adjectives must agree with nouns.
Please send me your comments, sugestions, or whatever! If there's anything you would like to see included in these Short Portuguese lessons, please tell me so!
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Last updated: 97/04/04
Dario Oliveira Teixeira