In classical Latin, the role of each member in the sentence was given
by special case endings. In the evolution of Latin, these endings were
replaced by prepositions, and that's what we use in Portuguese.
For English speakers, this is not very different from what they are used to, eventhough there isn't a one-to-one correspondence between english prepositions and their portuguese counterparts.
The following tables gives you a listing of some common prepositions, the ones we'll use for now:
Please keep in mind that these are just general translations. In many
situations the prepositions used in Portuguese differ from those used
in English. Anyone who has ever learned a foreign language knows that
prepositions are one of the most difficult aspects to master...
Perhaps you have noticed that the preposition a(to) has the same form as the definite article for the feminine singular. This is just a coincidence, because gramatically they are very different. Be careful not to mistake them! (Just as in English one doesn't mistake to, too, and two eventhough they sound the same)
In Portuguese, you will rarely see those prepositions above alone in
a sentence. The use of contractions is very common, and the usage of
some of the non-contracted forms doesn't even sound well.
In the table below you'll find the contractions of the prepositions with the articles. (there are other elements that contract, but for now we'll stick to these)
|Prepositions||Definite Articles||Indefinite Articles|
|a||ao||à||a um||a uma|
|de||do||da||de um (dum)||de uma (duma)|
As you can see, some of the constructions are not contracted, some
can be contracted (user's choice), and others are always contracted.
I didn't indicate the plural forms because they follow the general rules shown in the previous lesson.
The construction "to the" (feminine singular), in Portuguese is said a a, which is always contracted to à. The only use for the grave accent in Portuguese is to indicate a contraction, like in this case.
Once again, the following examples use all the grammar given so far: the conjugation of the present tense of verbs ending in ar, er, ir, the articles, the making of masculine/feminine, singular/plural, and at last the prepositions. We'll introduce some new vocabulary, and we'll also need two new verbs: Ir (to go) and Vir (to come). Unfortunately, they are both irregular, and so you have to memorise them. (The same thing happens in all languages: the most common verbs, which people use daily, are usually irregular...)
Ir (to go)
Vir (to come)
In some of the sentences above, an english speaker would use the present
continous instead of the simple present. In Portuguese there is also a
construction equivalent to the present continous, but for now we'll use
only the simple present.
Don't forget that the colours, being adjectives, must agree with the noun!
Um gato feliz bebe a água azul no lago
O boi castanho da montanha come na praia
Nós vamos ao lago
A woman from Portugal sings in the theatre
The big bear lives in a cold forest
The brown horse goes to the beach
And that's all for lesson 4. You are welcome to continue and go on for lesson 5. There we'll learn how to make questions, and we'll see lots of more new vocabulary.
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!
Back to the Short Portuguese Lessons page
Last updated: 97/04/04
Dario Oliveira Teixeira