If you have made it through the lessons on verb conjugation and tenses, that is huge. You are now at a point in your Portuguese journey where you can learn any verb and start manipulating it to suit your needs. If you have not read those articles yet, please do so before proceeding.
Now we will focus on learning how to use adjectives and adverbs so that you can add some life and color to your nouns and verbs!
We will start off with adjectives.
Some good news is that adjectives in Portuguese work the same way they do in English. Meaning that they modify nouns exactly as you would expect them to. If you want to call something tall, you call it tall. If you want to say something is blue, you say it’s blue, etcetera. But there are some key differences in how adjectives are written and where they fall in a sentence, and so on. So, let’s focus specifically on these differences.
The first thing to note about adjectives is that they correspond to their nouns in both gender and quantity.
What do I mean by that? Well, let’s have a look. If you were to say, for example, “the boy is silly,” in Portuguese, you would say “o menino é bobo.”
“Bobo,” is a sort of colloquial word for, “silly.”
You’ll note that that adjective, “bobo,” ends in an, “o.” It ends in an, “o,” because, “menino,” is a masculine noun.
If you want to say, “the girl is silly,” then you would say, “a menina é boba.” Which, in this case, “bobo,” becomes, “boba,” as you probably already guessed.
This will be true for almost all adjectives that exist in Portuguese, though there are some gender-neutral adjectives as well, but we’ll come back to that in a moment. I said before that adjectives correspond to quantity as well. To explain this, we’ll use that same example but this time we will make it plural.
If you were to say, “the boys are silly,” then you would say, “os meninos são bobos.” And similarly, if you were to say, “the girls are silly,” then you would say, “as meninas são bobas.”
What is happening here is that the adjective is assuming the gender and plurality of the noun. Meaning to say that you change the adjective from ending either in, “o,” or, “a,” and you put an, “s,” on the end of it because the noun is plural.
These rules apply for many adjectives, but there are some words in which the adjective maintains its form regardless of the gender of the noun. I am not going to list all those adjectives here, as they are quite numerous, but I will give you the trick that has helped me to know when an adjective is invariable.
Essentially, the rule is that any adjective that ends in the following letters will only have one form: l, ar, m, s, z, or.
There is one more thing I’d like to mention really quick regarding adjectives. In Portuguese, it is very common and more often correct, to see an adjective placed after a noun rather than before it.
For example, in Portuguese, to say, “the blue bird,” you would say, “o pássaro azul.”
The adjective, “blue,” in the English phrase comes before the noun, “bird.” However, in Portuguese, the adjective, “azul,” goes after the noun, pássaro.”
Next, we have the subject of adverbs to discuss.
More good news is that adverbs also play the same role in Portuguese that they play in English. They strive to give more information about the sentence by adding to the verb. For example, if you were to say, “the tiger ran quickly,” then the word “quickly,” would be the adverb; the thing giving more information about the verb, “ran.”
In Portuguese, it is the same way. This sentence would be, “o tigre correu rapidamente,” where the adverb, “rapidamente,” is adding information to the verb, “correu.”
On that note, you can see that the word, “rapidamente,” ends with the letters, “ente.” Luckily for us, almost all adjectives in Portuguese end with this suffix, regardless of the gender or plurality of the verb they are in relation to, so they are easy to identify.
Let’s have a look at some examples to hit this concept home:
The fish swam ferociously.
Os peixes nadaram ferozmente.
Those rocks are falling dangerously.
Essas pedras estão caindo perigosamente.
There is someone in the bathroom singing happily.
Há alguém no banheiro cantando alegremente.
The sun is shining brightly.
O sol está brilhando brilhantemente.
The women are driving carefully.
As mulheres estão dirigindo cuidadosamente
The dryer is slowly drying the clothes.
A secadora está secando lentamente as roupas.
The kings are fighting tirelessly.
Os reis estão lutando incansavelmente.
As you can see, these adverbs all end in, “ente.” However, there will be a few that do not. It becomes sort of a grey area here, as there is sometimes more than one way to describe something.
For the time being, it is best to not worry too much about the exceptions to this rule, as they will be rarely encountered, and you will undoubtedly be able to see them for what they are when you do encounter them.
To assist with this though, I will list here the most common adverbs that do not end in, “ente.”
Please note that some of these are conjunctive adverbs, and thus will not be very useful to you at this stage in the game.
But it never hurts to see them:
Tradução do inglês
Other than that
Além do mais
Da mesma forma
In the same way
De forma similar
Em outro lugar
Em vez de
Por outro lado
On the other hand
We will call it good here for Adjectives and Adverbs.
After studying this article in tandem with my other posts you will have what that you need to go out and start forming sentences in Portuguese, with nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and several different tenses.
If you keep this up, you’ll get this down sooner than you think!
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