Learn Portuguese (Brazilian) sentence by sentence
This basic Portuguese Brazilian language course is in two parts. The first consisting of useful phrases
which are learnt without regard to any particular grammatical points.
The second is a series of lessons illustrating some basic grammar. These lessons will be particularly helpful when used in conjunction with a phrasesbook enabling you to construct and modify sentences.
A very basic grammar
A very basic grammar covering some of the most important points to help you build simple sentences - and modify those from phrase books. The headings are split into lessons, each containing sentences illustrating the point, and all with audio recorded by a native speaker from Brazil.
The simple sentences don't cover or mention exceptions.
Like many European languages, Brazilian Portuguese uses different words for "you", depending on the degree of formality required. In broad terms, tu and você (both meaning singular "you") are used in informal situations, while in formal contexts o senhor
, a senhora
(masculine singular, feminine singular) are preferred.
In parts of Brazil, você
represents an intermediate degree of formality between tu
(familiar) and o senhor
(very formal). However, você
has replaced tu
in some parts of Brazil - which according to the
entry is mainly in the southeast of Brazil.
So to sum up, in general terms, tu
is used in informal situations, o senhor
is very formal and voce
is somewhere in the middle. The example sentences use both informal and formal forms.
Portuguese nouns are either masculine or feminine. Words ending in an o
are usually masculine and words ending in a
are usually feminine. Words ending in ão
may be either masculine or feminine, so you must learn the gender
Definite and indefinite articles
The definite article 'the' and indefinite article 'a' used depends on the gender and number of the noun.
The definite article is either: o
(masculine singular), a
(feminine singular), os
(masculine plural) and as
The indefinite article 'a' is either um
(masculine singular), uma
(feminine singular), unos
(masculine plural) and umas
||Cidade 'city' is feminine and 'a' is uma
||Hotel 'hotel' is masculine and 'the' is o.
||Chiave 'key' is feminine and 'the' is a.
||Livro 'book' is masculine and the masculine plural of 'the' is os.
||Casa 'house' is feminine and the feminine plural of 'the' is as.
Adjectives must be inflected according to the gender and number of the noun referred to.
E.g. the o
changes to a
to agree with
(masculine singular), casa
(feminine singular), aves
(masculine plural) and gatos
Example phrases using adjectives
|This nice white car
||Este lindo carro branco
|This nice white house
||Esta linda casa branca
|These nice white birds
||Estas lindas aves brancas
|These nice white cats
||Estes lindos gatos brancos
Generally to make an adjective plural, an s
is added to the singular version. So pequeno
Example sentences using plural adjectives
|The houses are small
||As casas são pequenas
|The rooms are small
||Os quartos são pequenos
The normal sentence structure is subject verb object - as in many of the previous examples. These sample sentences also show the use some of the irregular verbs.
Example sentences showing sentence word order
A demonstrative is a word like 'this/that/these and those', and is often accompanied by pointing. Again, like adjectives, demonstratives change depending on the noun referred to.
In the singular, 'this' is este
(feminine), and in the plural estes
(masculine) and estas
Example sentences using demonstratives
Portuguese verbs conjugate depending on the meaning needed.However, unlike the other Romance languages, tu
uses the same verb endings as você
, meaning there are no second person verbs. This is similar in the plural and in contast to other Romance languages. Tu
and o senhor
all use the 3rd person of the relevant verb.
There are three Portuguese conjugations with (infinitive) forms ending in ar
, and ir
When the ending (ar
, or ir
) is removed the verb stem remains. Endings are added to the verb stem to change the meaning. The endings vary depending to which of the conjugations the verb belongs.
The following examples are in the present tense.
, is an ar
verb with a stem of trabalh
|You (plural) work
|They work (masculine)
|They work (feminine)
The pronouns Eu
'she' ... are often omitted if the subject is clear from the context.
, is an er
, is an ir
Example sentences showing regular verbs
Many of the most common and useful verbs are irregular.
Example sentences using Querer
Example sentences using Poder
|To be able
Example sentences using Ir
Example sentences using Ter
There are two verbs meaning 'to be' and these are used in different situations.
Example sentences using Estar
Example sentences using Ser
In Portuguese prepositions (and demonstratives) are combined with a following article to form contractions. There are numerous contractions, for example:
|de + a
|em + as
|em + os
|a + os
and so on ...
Example sentences using contractions
There are various ways of asking questions. A statement can become a question using a 'question word' such as 'who, where, what'. Statements can also be changed into questions by changing the intonation of the phrase. For example, posso
'I can' with a change in emphasis becomes posso?
Example phrases using question words
|At what time?
||A que horas?
Possessive pronouns have masculine, feminine, singular and plural forms and agree with the noun/thing being possessed. The masculine
singular form of my is meu
and the feminine singular is minha
. So 'my address' is meu enderêço
as address is masculine, but 'my key' is minha chave
as the word for key is feminine.
||meu minha meus minhas
||seu sua seus suas
||nosso, nossa, nossos, nossass
etc. may also mean his, her, their, theirs. To avoid confusion dele
'of him, his', dela
'of her, her',
'of them, their (m)' and delas
'theirs (f)' are used when necessary.
are not affected by the
thing possessed: a mala dele
'his suitcase' and a malas dele
The definite article as 'the' is often used with these possessives. E.g. As minhas casas
Example phrases using possessives
Portuguese Grammar. Resources
'Get by' words and phrases.
Some of the example sentences above are from the FSI Brazilian Portuguese language
course now in the public domain. It is good but dated and lacking audio, with many of the examples and situations of little relevance.
Learningportuguese.co.uk contains explanations of Portuguese grammar (and more) -
More Brazilian Portuguese phrases can be found :
which also contains some (basic) grammatical explanations.
There is also a very much more detailed
entry describing Portuguese grammar.