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Portuguese Core Vocabulary With Video and Free Materials

Intro

To speak a foreign language, obviously, we need to learn new words. But this process does not have to be tiring and monotonous, on the contrary!

If you learn the words that are extremely relevant to your daily communication, and you learn them in a systematic and enjoyable way, you will be able to communicate with ease in the new language.

I will give you some tips, which I will indicate with the symbol, so that you can optimize your vocabulary learning.

This video is available here, but it is originally the second lesson of the FREE Portuguese self-study mini-course with explanations in English and certificate of completion.

FREE course!

If you want to find out more about the mini-course and obtain more samples of the content (no registration needed), you have this post, where you will also explore more free resources and priceless tips to optimize your study.

What will I learn in this Portuguese vocabulary class for English-speaking beginners?

In this lesson you will learn:

  • The articles in Portuguese.
  • The 20 most basic nouns of the language.
  • The numbers up to 100 in Portuguese.
  • The most fundamental expressions of time and place in Portuguese.

The video shows the information more succinctly, while here in the post you will find more detailed explanations.

The organization and material of this free Portuguese vocabulary lesson

In this vocabulary class I will teach you relevant Portuguese words.

  • But before I teach you that vocabulary, I offer you an explanation about the grammar of the articles. It is very simple, and it will allow you to understand much better how the structure of the Portuguese language works.
  • I also include a section where you will learn the numbers 0 to 100, which are part of the basic vocabulary of Portuguese. Learning them is a matter of a little logic and practice, you will see.

Of course, you can skip the explanations about the grammar of the articles and the vocabulary of numbers if you do not need it.

  • But it will not take you long to read it and you will surely learn useful information.

In this post, you will find, without the need to register, and for free:

  • The video to learn the vocabulary.
  • The PDF with the "cheat sheet".
  • Tables with vocabulary divided by topics, with audios.
  • Interactive vocabulary flashcards to learn and play games.
  • Two quizzes, so you can be sure that you learned everything.

The same content is available with this video, with explanation in Portuguese, with subtitles in Portuguese and English for you to dive deeper in the Portuguese language. Materials and explanations in Portuguese are also available.

PDF "cheat sheet" with vocabulary.

Portuguese free mini course cheat sheet lesson 2

You can download the PDF you see in the video, with theory, exercises and answers, when you enroll in the FREE mini-course.

FREE course!

Do I have to know Portuguese to learn these words?

No. You do not need prior knowledge of the language to study with this material.

If you already speak a little Portuguese, this class will be an aid to refresh your memory, to learn something new and to practice a little more.

In any case, you should know at least the pronunciation of Portuguese. You can learn it quickly with this video (starting on minute 09:41), which has free material that you can download:

You have a free guide where you will learn the pronunciation of Portuguese with more examples and audios.

If you want more input to learn the Portuguese pronunciation, you can learn the most searched words by foreigners on Google. This lesson includes free material:

Why do I have to learn this vocabulary?

Because they are words that you really need in Portuguese. They are part of the core vocabulary of the language.

    They are words that you use every single day in English. So, it makes sense that you know their equivalents in Portuguese.

In this lesson you will learn words following two simultaneous criteria:

  • They are relevant words, words that are very frequently used.
  • They are words ordered according to a thematic criterion. Learning the words by topics and/or by grammatical categories will facilitate your learning. It is harder to memorize isolated words, words that are not related to one another.

How can I continue learning useful Portuguese words for free?

To continue learning the most relevant words of the language, you have free Portuguese vocabulary guides with video, audio and PDF:

The most relevant nouns in Portuguese. You can download the material for free.

The most relevant verbs in Portuguese. You can download the material for free.

At the end of this post, you will find more free content to learn Portuguese.

The most basic vocabulary for beginners in Portuguese

We will see in the next sections the content of this Portuguese class for beginners.

Articles in Portuguese

Before learning the vocabulary of nouns, such as "O PROBLEMA" or "A COISA", we must know what are those little words "O" and "A" that we place before the nouns.

Spoiler: they are articles.

What are articles? They are words with a grammatical function that accompany nouns.

  • Articles cannot appear alone.
  • Articles always appear before a noun.
  • Articles always have the same grammar gender (masculine/feminine) and the same number (singular/plural) as the noun they accompany.
What types of articles exist in Portuguese?

Here you have the table with all the articles of the Portuguese language. Look at the categories:

  • Definite/indefinite articles.
  • Gender: masculine/feminine.
  • Number: singular/plural.
masculine, singularfeminine, singularmasculine, pluralfeminine, plural
definite articleOAOSUMA
indefinite articleUMUMAUNSUMAS

We have two types of articles in Portuguese.

Definite articles ("ARTIGOS DEFINIDOS") are those that refer to beings, things, or abstract concepts in a specific way. For example:

"O RUSSO É UMA LÍNGUA INTERESSANTE."

Ricardo has only one job, and when I talk about Ricardo’s career, I use the definite article because I am talking about a very specific job he has, which I find interesting.

Indefinite articles ("ARTIGOS INDEFINIDOS") are those that refer to beings, things, or abstract concepts in a generic way. For example.

"O RUSSO É UMA LÍNGUA INTERESSANTE."

Although it is difficult to know an exact number, it is estimated that there are more than 7 thousand languages in the world. Russian is one of those languages, and I find it interesting.

  • "O RUSSO" is specific (there is only one Russian language, and that is why we use the definite article). But "UMA LÍNGUA" is more generic because there are more elements in that category.
  • That is, “O RUSSO” is emphasized for being a very specific element, while “UMA LÍNGUA” remains in the realm of the generic.

Articles also vary according to gender and number, just like nouns.

  • In Portuguese there is no neuter gender. Nouns will only be masculine or feminine and can only appear in the singular or plural.
  • Therefore, we will have those same four variables of the nouns in the articles.

Here is the table of articles in Portuguese with examples of nouns.

masculine, singularfeminine, singularmasculine, pluralfeminine, plural
definite articleO TRABALHOA LÍNGUAOS TRABALHOSAS LÍNGUAS
indefinite articleUM TRABALHOUMA LÍNGUAUNS TRABALHOSUMAS LÍNGUAS
What is the function of articles in the Portuguese grammar?

To learn the nouns (we will see them in a few moments), it is necessary to previously know the articles in Portuguese. Why?

  • Because the article accompanies the noun and gives us grammatical information about it: its gender (whether it is masculine or feminine) and its number (whether it is singular or plural).

As a matter of fact, you can know the gender and number of most nouns in Portuguese simply by observing their ending

  • In other languages that is not necessarily the case, but in Portuguese the nouns are quite "transparent".

"Don’t judge a book by its cover", goes the saying… But in the Portuguese grammar, you can say A LOT about the noun just by looking at its ending!

  • This is how you find out, for example, if it is masculine or feminine, singular or plural.
  • And the article, I insist, is the unequivocal sign of the gender and number of the noun it accompanies.

Portuguese has very simple rules to find out the gender of the vast majority of nouns. If you follow those rules, you will be on the right track.

The rule you will see next is just a general principle, but it will allow you to identify the gender of most Portuguese words!

The most general rule for the gender of nouns in Portuguese is:

  • All Portuguese nouns ending in -O and -OR are masculine, except for "A FLOR".
  • Most Portuguese nouns ending in -A are feminine.

Most nouns, not all of them (!), because you will see that "EL PROBLEMA" ends in -A, but it is a masculine noun.

Mnemonic trick: "O PROBLEMA" is masculine, but "A SOLUÇÃO" is feminine. Let that sink in!

Beware: nouns ending in -ÃO in Portuguese can be masculine ("O AVIÃO") or feminine ("A RELIGIÃO"). Therefore, you must learn them with their corresponding article.

A FLORflower
O AVIÃOairplane
A RELIGIÃOreligion
O PROBLEMAproblem
A SOLUÇÃOsolution

The grammar defines the gender of words. The individual speakers cannot assign the gender we want to nouns.

We just cannot wake up one morning and say, in a whim, "today, it will be LA PROBLEMA because I say so… Tomorrow, who knows?". Languages do not work this way.

  • You could say "LA PROBLEMA" and people would, despite this mistake, be able to understand you…
  • …But to speak properly we must follow the rules of the language we use.

And even if you do not know those rules, if the noun appears with your article, you will know if it is masculine or feminine.

  • That is, if you look at "O PROBLEMA" (with the masculine article "O"), you know that, although the ending -A is usually feminine, "PROBLEMA" is a special case.
  • It is a mistake to say *"A PROBLEMA".
  • It is also a mistake to say *"O PROBLEMO".

via GIPHY

Many foreigners who learn Portuguese say *"NO PROBLEMO", which is a phrase that is not correct in Portuguese, but is common in English. In Portuguese, we say "NÃO TEM PROBLEMA" or "SEM PROBLEMA".

  • This sentence indicates that the situation is favorable, that there are no factors preventing something from happening.
  • However, if you want to react when someone says "OBRIGADO/A", a Portuguese speaker usually will not say "SEM PROBLEMA". The normal reaction is "DE NADA" ("you are welcome").

In this video you can learn the most basic polite phrases in Portuguese (starting on minute 15:31). You have free materials to practice.

  • The video is the first lesson of the comprehensive online Portuguese course with webinars and certificate.

You can practice these expressions with the interactive flashcards. You can choose your favorite learning or gaming mode.

The article is the element that gives us the clear and unequivocal signal of the gender of a Portuguese noun.

Therefore, when you learn vocabulary lists made by a professional teacher (such as those you will find in this post and in the courses that I offer), you will see the nouns always with the article that corresponds to them.

  • Learning the noun with your article is a good habit that will help you avoid mistakes.
What is the equivalence between articles in English and Portuguese? What are the differences between them?

Disclaimer: I just tell you the grammatical facts so that you can communicate in Portuguese. I do not intend to raise discussions about gender as a cultural construct because this blog is about languages, not gender studies.

  • I will say “gender in practical terms” to refer to the masculine/feminine binomial that we generally use in everyday life.
  • And then, you gave “grammatical gender”, which in Portuguese is masculine/feminine, according to grammar rules. The “grammatical gender” is what matters to us now.

In Portuguese, nouns always have a grammatical gender.

If the noun designates a person, the grammatical gender matches that person’s gender in practical terms.

  • For example, "O HOMEM" has masculine grammatical gender and "A MULHER" has feminine grammatical gender.

In Portuguese, as you know, nouns must be either feminine, or masculine. It does not matter if you are talking about…

  • Persons: "O ESTUDIANTE" ("the male student"), "A ESTUDIANTE" ("the female student")
  • Objects: "O LIVRO" ("the book"), "A CASA" ("the house")
  • Abstract concepts: "O MEDO" ("the fear"), "A FELICIDADE" ("the happiness")

… Because all Portuguese nouns do have a gender, and this easily observed by looking at the articles "O" and "A" that you see in the examples.

  • As you have seen, you can identify the gender of most nouns just by looking at the ending. Portuguese is quite predictable regarding grammatical genders.

As the article accompanies the noun and has the same gender and number as that noun, the article in Portuguese must also fit into the masculine/feminine + singular/plural scheme.

Here the table again, so you do not forget how the article system works:

masculine, singularfeminine, singularmasculine, pluralfeminine, plural
definite articleOAOSUMA
indefinite articleUMUMAUNSUMAS

That being said, the differences between the articles in Portuguese and English are mainly based on the fact that English does not distinguish grammatical gender in nouns in a systematic way as Portuguese does.

In English you also have articles, but they are very few: “the” is the definite article and "a" (and its variation "an") is the indefinite article.

Since in English there is no systematic gender distinction in the nouns, there is also no gender distinction in the English articles, which accompany the nouns.

So let us see next the contrast between English and Portuguese, shown with the symbols ❌ and ✔:

In English there are no specific articles for grammatical genders because in that language there is no systematic division of nouns into two grammatical genders.

In English you will say "the (male) teacher" or "the (female) teacher", and the article is the same, "the".

✔But in Portuguese, the articles distinguish the grammatical gender (masculine/feminine), always.

definite articleEnglishPortuguese
masculine, singularthe (male) teacherO PROFESSOR
feminine, singularthe (female) teacherA PROFESSORA

There are also no separate articles for the plural in English.

  • The English articles "the" and "a" accompany singular nouns ("the teacher", "a teacher" – male or female).
  • "The" also accompanies plural nouns (“the teachers” – males or females).

✔But in Portuguese, the articles distinguish the number (singular/plural), and also the gender (masculine/feminine), always.

definite articleEnglishPortuguese
masculine, pluralthe (male) teachersOS PROFESSORES
feminine, pluralthe (female) teachersAS PROFESSORAS

❌Another important difference between articles in Portuguese and English is that in English there is no indefinite article for the plural.

  • Think about it: what is the plural of “a teacher?” You will say “some teachers”, but there is no plural of “a” as such.

✔But in Portuguese we do have definite and indefinite articles in singular and plural, too.

indefinite articleEnglishPortuguese
masculine, plural(male) teachersUNS PROFESSORES
feminine, plural(female) teachersUMAS PROFESSORAS

⚠Therefore, I show you the table above one more time, adding equivalence with English. With the symbol Ø I indicate that there is no equivalence in English.

masculine, singularfeminine, singularmasculine, pluralfeminine, plural
definite articleO = theA = theOS = theUMA = the
indefinite articleUM = a/nUMA = a/nUNS = ØUMAS = Ø

❗ But the fact that there is no 1:1 correspondence between English and Portuguese articles does not have to bother you!

Each language has its own system, and the absence of equivalences between two languages will not prevent you from speaking them.

  • When you speak Portuguese, you will use the Portuguese articles. You do not need to think in English and then mentally translate into Portuguese.
  • In other words: when you speak Portuguese, you must use the elements that make up the Portuguese linguistic system, without thinking about what would be said in English.

I make the comparison between the languages here for didactic reasons, but once you understand the principle, you do not need to make any more comparisons between the languages

The same process applies to learning new words.

  • I add the translation of the words in the teaching materials. I do it so that your first contact with that new information is clear, that there are no misunderstandings.
  • However, once you assimilate the Portuguese word and its meaning, you do not need to go back to English.

Precisely the absence of mental translation is a sign that you speak the language naturally. It is a sign that you think in Portuguese when you speak in Portuguese, just like a native speaker does.

The translation of words is only like the training wheels of a bicycle: they give you the first impulse.

  • However, once you understand the handling of your instrument you will be able to discard the extra wheels. When you assimilate the word in Portuguese, you no longer think about the equivalence with English.

Any language, like a bicycle, is an instrument, a vehicle that you will take, and go wherever you want to go.

  • You will see that, if you have an adequate orientation at the beginning, you will soon be self-sufficient.
  • That is my goal as a teacher: to provide you with resources that allow you to know the most fundamental elements of the language and that you acquire security.
  • When you have the knowledge and confidence, you will use the language freely, spontaneously, and make far fewer mistakes than you think you do.

As a student, you should…

Understand the theory (as you are doing right now).

Practice it a little (for example, with the quizzes that I include here).

Have a lot of contact with the language.

If you spend some minutes every single day reading and listening to Portuguese, you will soon be able to use it with ease.

  • It is essential to learn with didactic content aimed at foreigners (for example, this blog, the free mini-course and the comprehensive A1 level course that I offer you).
  • But it is also important that you expose yourself to the language idly, through music, movies, etc.

FREE course!

I explain the process of learning a language and teach you valuable tricks to stimulate your study in this guide.

The numbers up to 100 in Portuguese

After all that grammar, let us learn the vocabulary of Portuguese, topic by topic.

You can quickly learn the numbers in the video (starting on minute 04:41).

Although I promised you 46 basic words in Portuguese, in this class for beginners you will learn 100 more words, because I include here the numbers in Portuguese up to 100.

0️⃣You need to learn the numbers in Portuguese from 0 to 15 because they are irregular.

0. ZERO
1. UM
2. DOIS
3. TRÊS
4. QUATRO
5. CINCO
6. SEIS
7. SETE
8. OITO
9. NOVE
10. DEZ
11. ONZE
12. DOZE
13. TREZE
14. CATORZE
15. QUINZE

Between the numbers 16 and 19, there is a logic: we read "DEZ" "E" "NOVE" (and write "DEZENOVE", 19).

16. DEZESSEIS
17. DEZESSETE
18. DEZOITO
19. DEZENOVE
  • That is, we have a sum, ten plus the unit (10 + 6), and read the numbers from left to right.

That same logic is maintained from 20 to 99.

  • We will read first the ten and then the unit.

Here some examples.

20 VINTE22. VINTE E DOIS
30. TRINTA33. TRINTA E TRÊS
40. QUARENTA44. QUARENTA E QUATRO
50. CINQUENTA55. CINQUENTA E CINCO
60. SESSENTA66. SESSENTA E SEIS
70. SETENTA77. SETENTA E SETE
80. OITO88. OITENTA E OITO
90. NOVENTA99. NOVENTA E NOVE

💯And the number 100 in Portuguese is called "CEM".

This is the whole theory. To practice it, you have here a “cheat sheet”, a table in the drop-down and interactive flashcards.

▶Learn all the numbers in Spanish (0-100) for FREE with audio and flashcards!

 

💯Here you have the table with the numbers written in Spanish (between 0 and 100). You can listen to the numbers in Spanish with the audio and practice them with the free interactive flashcards. You can choose your preferred learning/gaming mode,

0zero
1um
2dois
3três
4quatro
5cinco
6seis
7sete
8oito
9nove
10dez
11onze
12doze
13treze
14catorze / quatorze
15quinze
16dezesseis
17dezessete
18dezoito
19dezenove
20vinte
21vinte e um
22vinte e dois
23vinte e três
24vinte e quatro
25vinte e cinco
26vinte e seis
27vinte e sete
28vinte e oito
29vinte e nove
30trinta
31trinta e um
32trinta e dois
33trinta e três
34trinta e quatro
35trinta e cinco
36trinta e seis
37trinta e sete
38trinta e oito
39trinta e nove
40quarenta
41quarenta e um
42quarenta e dois
43quarenta e três
44quarenta e quatro
45quarenta e cinco
46quarenta e seis
47quarenta e sete
48quarenta e oito
49quarenta e nove
50cinquenta
51cinquenta e um
52cinquenta e dois
53cinquenta e três
54cinquenta e quatro
55cinquenta e cinco
56cinquenta e seis
57cinquenta e sete
58cinquenta e oito
59cinquenta e nove
60sessenta
61sessenta e um
62sessenta e dois
63sessenta e três
64sessenta e quatro
65sessenta e cinco
66Sessenta e seis
67sessenta e sete
68sessenta e oito
69sessenta e nove
70setenta
71setenta e um
72setenta e dois
73Setenta e três
74setenta e quatro
75setenta e cinco
76setenta e seis
77setenta e sete
78setenta e oito
79setenta e nove
80oitenta
81oitenta e um
82oitenta e dois
83oitenta e três
84oitenta e quatro
85oitenta e cinco
86oitenta e seis
87oitenta e sete
88oitenta e oito
89oitenta e nove
90noventa
91noventa e um
92noventa e dois
93noventa e três
94noventa e quatro
95noventa e cinco
96noventa e seis
97noventa e sete
98noventa e oito
99noventa e nove
100cem

In this short video you can go over the numbers. You have a free quiz to practice (it is video #5 in this series to learn Portuguese essentials).

The most basic masculine nouns in Portuguese

You can learn masculine and feminine nouns in a summarized way in the video (starting on minute 02:27).

Here are the interactive flashcards to practice. You can choose your preferred learning or gaming mode.
O HOMEMman
O GAROTOboy
O PAÍScountry
O TRANSPORTEtransport
O BANHEIRObathroom
O DINHEIROmoney
O PREÇOprice
O TEMPOtime
O TRABALHOwork, job
O NÚMEROnumber
O PROBLEMAproblem

We start the most fundamental vocabulary of Portuguese with a list of widely used nouns that have the masculine gender.

"O HOMEM" in Portuguese designates the male adult, while "O GAROTO" is a very practical word in Portuguese. "O GAROTO" (and the feminine, "A GAROTA") does not indicate a specific age, it only serves to indicate youth.

It is normal to use “GAROTO” with boys and men up to 30 years old, but it is also used, if the situation is informal, to identify men up to 50 years old.

  • Referring to a man over 50 as “GAROTO” it is usually affectionate, not literal. This can be a friendly-cute way of using the word – think of a Zumba teacher for seniors who motivates the students by calling the ladies “GAROTAS”.
  • But “GAROTO” can also be used sarcastically, it depends of the context – for example, a middle-aged man who is living his midlife crisis to its fullest (with sports car, fashionable outfits, etc.) can be mockingly called “GAROTÃO” (“big boy”).

In Portuguese we also have “O MENINO” and “A MENINA” which, in principle, designate children of each of the genders but which, like “O GAROTO” and “A GAROTA”, are used to also identify young people and even adults in a more informal language.

The feminine of “O HOMEM” is “A MULHER”: you see that the formation of the feminine is not regular.

  • However, many feminine in Portuguese are created changing the masculine noun ending -O to -A, such as “GAROTO” ▶ “GAROTA”.
  • Simple, right?

Another typical and regular masculine ending is -OR, as “O PROFESSOR”. To form your feminine, just add an -A: “A PROFESSORA”.

See how we form the plural of nouns in Portuguese:

If the noun ends in vowel, we add an -S.

👦👦OS GAROTOS
👧👧AS GAROTAS
👩‍🏫👩‍🏫AS PROFESSORAS

If the noun ends in consonants such as R or Z, we add -ES.

OS PROFESSORES

”O PAÍS” is a noun that grabs the attention of many foreigners, who assume that Portuguese nouns ending in -S are always plural.

  • That is partially correct. We do form the plural of nouns that end in vowel by adding an -S, as you just saw.

However, there are some nouns that end in -S in the singular.

  • Therefore, "O PAÍS" is the singular, while the plural will be "OS PAÍSES".
  • We form that plural of “PAÍS” by adding -ES to the noun in the singular because the last syllable is stressed.

However, if the stressed syllable is not the last, a noun whose singular ends in -S (as “O BÔNUS”) will have the same singular and plural form. The word is the same, but we distinguish:

➕OR BÔNUS
➕➕➕OS BÔNUS

Do you see how articles are important? If the person only says “BÔNUS”, without article and without a context, we do not know if they mean a single bonus or several bonuses.

  • Anyway, there are few words in Portuguese that in the singular end with -S.

The other words in the list are quite simple from the grammatical point of view. Their meaning can be easily translated. I will mention just a few aspects.

Notice that in Brazil we say “O BANHEIRO” for the bathroom in the house, or the restroom in a public place as well. If it is a public restroom, you can say “O TOALETE”, if you prefer.

  • However, in Portugal people say “A CASA DE BANHO” instead of “BANHEIRO”.

Notice only that “TEMPO ” and “DINHEIRO”, although they can be pluralized, are uncountable nouns. Therefore, they are used mostly in singular.

You will learn vocabulary and basic phrases about money in this Portuguese video for foreign travelers (starting on minute 22:06), with free material to download.

Notice also that “TRABALHO” is a fairly general term. We usually use “TRABALHO”:

  • To refer to the employment (“NÃO TENHO TRABALHO”, “I do not have a job”, for example)
  • To mean “job” (“É UM TRABALHO BEM-FEITO”, “it is a job well done”).

You have here a short video where I teach you more about the work. You have free practice material (it is the video #23 in the series to learn Portuguese basics).

"O TRANSPORTE" refers generally to a vehicle, but especially to a city’s public transportation system.

You have here a short video where I teach you useful phrases for urban transport. You have free practice material (it is the video #15 in the series).

The most basic feminine nouns in Portuguese

In the previous section I commented that “MULHER” is the feminine of “HOMEM” and that “GAROTA” is the feminine of “GAROTO”. So, as this is already explained, let us move on to other nouns on this list that deserve to be highlighted.

A MULHERwoman
A GAROTAgirl
A FAMÍLIAfamily
A CIDADEcity
A RUAstreet
A PRAIAbeach
A CASAhouse
A COISAthing
A ÁGUAwater
A LINGUAlanguage
A PALAVRAword

“A FAMíLIA” is a word that closely resembles the equivalent term in languages like English, but you may not know its origin.

  • Curiosity: “A FAMÍLIA” comes from “famulus” in Latin, which is “servant” or “slave”. That is because in ancient times slaves were so numerous and socially important that they were considered part of the family unit.
  • In its original Latin sense “family” referred rather to domestic slaves, not so much to parents and children.

You have here a short video where I teach you phrases about the family. You have material to practice for free (it is the #22 video of the series).

”A CASA” in Portuguese is, in general, the place where you live. It does not matter the type of housing. That is, “CASA” is used as a synonym for “home”.

  • “CASA” can also be a house, as opposed to an apartment.

You have here a short video where I teach you more about housing. You have free practice material (it is the video #8 in the series).

In Portuguese, as in other languages, there are polysemic words, that is, words that have several possible meanings.

  • “LÍNGUA” is an example, because – just like “tongue” in English – it means both the muscle we have in our mouth and a language, for example, “A LÍNGUA MATERNA” is the native language of a person.

You have here a video where I teach you resources to improve your ability to communicate in Portuguese. You have material to download and practice for free.

Also “O TEMPO”, which you learned above, is a word with more than one meaning in Portuguese. It means, as you learned, “time” in English, but depending on the context, it also means “weather” in English.

  • So, out of context, the phrase “QUE TEMPO BOM!” can mean “what a beautiful day!” or “such wonderful times!”. It is the context that tells us whether we are talking about the weather (first sentence) or an era, an apoch (second sentence).

Do you want to learn more about the adjective “BOM” and the adverb “BEM” and their opposites in Portuguese? In the comment to video #11 of this video series you will learn useful tips to communicate better!

Expressions of time in Portuguese: basic vocabulary for beginners

You can quickly learn the expressions of time and place in the video (starting on minute 07:27).

Here you find the interactive flashcards to practice. You can choose your preferred learning or gaming mode.

O TEMPOtime
QUANDO?When?
ONTEMyesterday
HOJEtoday
AMANHÃtomorrow
CEDOearly
TARDElate
ANTESbefore
AGORAnow
DEPOISafter
A MANHÃmorning
A TARDEafternoon
A NOITEevening, night
O DIAday
A SEMANAweek
O MÊSmonth
O ANOyear

Here you will see nouns and adverbs in Portuguese that have something in common: they are words to indicate the time in Portuguese.

To ask about when something happens in Portuguese you have the question “QUANDO?”.

You can learn the interrogatives in Portuguese in this video (starting on minute 02:26), where you will learn the most relevant questions and answers of Portuguese. You have free material to download and to practice.

Notice that we have a clear sequence:

You will learn vocabulary more easily if you relate words to each other (in pairs or groups) and represent them visually, as you have just seen.

  • That is a simple, yet powerful, trick to optimize your learning.

Another very effective way to learn vocabulary is by antonyms, that is, words of opposite meaning.

You can also learn by following a sequence:

  • 🔜 “A TARDE”🔜 “A NOITE”
  • 🔜 “A SEMANA” 🔜 “O MÊS” 🔜 “O ANO”

Do you see? There are many words but, if you study them systematically and visually, and if you repeat those words until you assimilate them, you will easily boost your vocabulary skills in Portuguese.

To continue learning, you have this short video with examples of phrases about time. The video is #6 in the basic Portuguese video series. You can learn more expressions of time and practice for free.

A beautiful song in Portuguese is “Novas Auroras” (“New Dawns”) Nação Zumbi, which is a very poetic and philosophical song about time. It may help you to learn the vocabulary you are seeing here.

The song is about the difficulty of living in the present, because we are always suffering for events of the past or feeling anxious about the future.

Ontem você quis o amanhã
Hoje você quer o depois

Vou andando nas horas
Atravessando os agoras
Dançando as novas auroras

Translation:

Yesterday you wanted “the tomorrow”

Today you want the after

I’m walking in the hours

Going across “the nows”

Dancing the new dawns

Music is also excellent for you to understand the richness of Brazilian Portuguese sounds – for example the nasal sounds in “AMANHÔ and “ONTEM”, and the open sounds in “HORAS”, “AGORAS” and “AURORAS”.

Note that “AGORA” (“now”) is an adverb and therefore has neither gender nor number and is invariable. However, in poetic language it is possible to “play” with words, and transform “AGORA” (adverb) into “O AGORA” (noun), a synonym for “the prsent”. For example, you can say “EU QUERO VIVER NO AGORA” = (“QUERO VIVER NO PRESENTE”, “I want to live in the present”). The same thing happens with “AMANHÔ (“tomorrow”): it is an adverb of time, which in the song is transformed into a noun (“O AMANHÔ = “O FUTURO”, “the future”).

Expressions of place in Portuguese: basic vocabulary for beginners

The question to inquire about the location (fixed place) in Portuguese is “ONDE?”.

O LUGARplace
ONDE?Where?
AQUIhere
ALI, LÁhere
PERTOclose
LONGEfar

In a very general way, the answer to that question will have the preposition “EM” in Portuguese – for example “EM CASA” (= at my place).

In Portuguese you can also say “CÁ” as a synonym for “AQUI” and “LÁ” as a synonym for “ALI”.

You can study this vocabulary by synonyms

  • ✔ “CÁ”
  • ✔ “LÁ”

You can study this vocabulary by antonyms

  • ❌ “ALI”
  • ❌ “LÁ”

Why do we have in Portuguese two words to say the same thing – “AQUI” and “CÁ” / “ALI” and “LÁ”?

  • This is due to the linguistic economy principle. “CÁ” and “LA” are shorter than “AQUI” and “LÁ”! The difference is small, but we have an unconscious tendency to be “thrifty” when we speak, even if what we only save a few sounds!

And what adverbs indicate closeness and distance in Portuguese?

  • “PERTO” ❌ “LONGE”

For example: I want to say where I live (“EU MORO” = “I live”)…

  • 🏠⏩🌃: “MORO PERTO DO CENTRO”
  • 🏠⏩⏩⏩⏩⏩🌊: “MORO LONGE DA PRAIA”

You can emphasize proximity or remoteness using these expressions:

  • “AQUÍ PERTO” (ou also “PERTINHO”)
  • “LÁ LONGE” (ou also “LONJÃO”)

Where do we place the expressions of time and place in the Portuguese phrase?

I must make a brief, yet important, grammar explanation. You may be wondering: where should I place the expressions of time and/or place in the Portuguese sentence?

I just love that you ask yourself that question because I love to answer it: wherever you want! “IUPI!” (“IUPI” is the celebratory “yay!” in Portuguese)

(this dog is celebrating having discovered how flexible Portuguese is)

The only rule you must follow is:

  • If there is a negative in the sentence, such as “NÃO” or “NUNCA”

…You cannot place expressions of time/place between the negative and the verb!

  • That is, a negative must always be placed before the verb. We cannot insert anything between them. The negative and the conjugated verb are inseparable in Portuguese.

But, with that caveat, you can place the expression of time and/or place wherever you want in the Portuguese sentence. I explain it to you and then you will see the examples.

  • You will place the time/place information at the beginning of the sentence if you want to highlight it.
  • You will place that information at the end of the sentence if you do not want to emphasize it especially.

You will place the time/place information in the middle the sentence If you want it to be really emphasized.

  • This is correct, but it is not what we usually do in Portuguese. That is precisely why that information of time and / or space in the middle of the sentence grabs everyone’s attention.

There is no rule that defines the order of appearance of the expressions of time and/or space in Portuguese.

  • You can place them wherever you want, together, in the sequence you desire, or to place them separately.
  • Everything will depend on the emphasis you want to give them.

Therefore, let us see the flexibility of Portuguese in the example sentence “(NÃO) ESTUDO INGLÊS”. “NÃO” is in parentheses so you can see what the sentence would look like if you added a negative.

  • The time information we add to the sentences is “HOJE”.
  • The expression of place is “EM CASA” (= in my home).

Notice that I have omitted the subject pronoun “EU” in these sentences because it is what we normally do in Portuguese.

  • We naturally omit some subject pronouns in Portuguese, especially the pronouns “EU” and “NÓS” because the sentence is perfectly understood if we do not leave them explicit.

(Não) Estudo inglês. Em casa (não) estudo inglês. (Não) Estudo inglês em casa. Hoje (não) estudo inglês. (Não) estudo inglês hoje. Hoje em casa (não) estudo inglês. Em casa hoje (não) estudo inglês. Hoje (não) estudo inglês em casa. Em casa (não) estudo inglês hoje. (Não) Estudo hoje inglês. (Não) Estudo em casa inglês.

All these sentences on the list are correct. The difference between them is the greater or lesser importance that is being given to the expressions of time and space.

Now you will see sentences that are incorrect because, as you know, in Portuguese we must place the negative (in this case, “NÃO”) right before the verb.

❌Those sentences are not grammatically correct:

Não hoje estudo inglês.
Não em casa estudo inglês.
Não hoje em casa estudo inglês.
Não em casa hoje estudo inglês.

Do you see how simple it is to form sentences in Portuguese?

  • In lessons 3, 4 and 5 of the online mini-course you will learn your first verbs and your first sentences in Portuguese. Sign up, it is free!

FREE course!

Quizzes to check your knowledge

Here you will find two quizzes: the first consists of cards with an image. You must think about which word corresponds to the image and click on the card to know the answer.

The second quiz is a true or false test.

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Flip the Image

Conclusion

In these minutes learning the Portuguese language you learned some basic concepts and essential words of the language. I am sure it was worth it!

You learned the articles in Portuguese. Now you know that articles are words of grammatical value that accompany nouns and have the same gender and number as them.

Therefore, the article tells us if that noun is masculine or feminine, and if it appears in the singular or in the plural form.

Now you know that we have 8 articles, because there are two categories (definite and indefinite articles), and in each category there is an article for the singular masculine, another for the singular feminine, another one for the plural masculine and finally one for the plural feminine.

  • The definite articles in Portuguese are “O”, “A”, “OS”, “AS”
  • The indefinite articles in Portuguese are “UM”, “UMA”, “UNS”, “UMAS”

You now know that you need to learn the numbers up to 15 in Portuguese, but from then on, you will say first the ten and then the unit (43 = “QUARENTA E TRÊS”, 76 = “SETENTA E SEIS”) – and so on, up to 99.

You learned the most basic nouns and time/place expressions of the Portuguese language, which I will not translate here, so you can remember the meaning of these new words.

The masculine nouns you learned in this Portuguese class are:

O HOMEM
O GAROTO
O PAÍS
O TRANSPORTE
O BANHEIRO
O DINHEIRO
O PREÇO
O TEMPO
O TRABALHO
O NÚMERO
O PROBLEMA

The feminine nouns you learned in this Portuguese class are:

A MULHER
A GAROTA
A FAMÍLIA
A CIDADE
A RUA
A PRAIA
A CASA
A COISA
A ÁGUA
A LINGUA
A PALAVRA

The expressions of time you learned in this Portuguese class are:

ONTEM
HOJE
AMANHÃ
CEDO
TARDE
ANTES
AGORA
DEPOIS
A MANHÃ
A TARDE
A NOITE
O DIA
A SEMANA
O MÊS
O ANO

The expressions of place you learned in this Portuguese class are:

AQUI
ALI, LÁ
PERTO
LONGE

How can I continue learning Portuguese with free materials for beginners?

The video of this class corresponds to the second lesson of the Portuguese mini-course with explanations in English.

The 5 lessons of the course include: video, PDF with theory, exercises and answers, interactive vocabulary sheets, MP3 audio files and quizzes. You will obtain the certificate of completion of the course, all FOR FREE.

FREE course!

You can have your first contact with the language here, where you will access the content of the first class without having to enroll in the mini-course.

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