Brazilian Portuguese Verbs
If you are reading this then I have no doubt that you’ve made it through some tough concepts so far and I hope that you are feeling enthusiastic about this topic. The subject of Portuguese verbs is packed to the brim with information, so let’s jump on in.
In this article we are going to get you started with your study of verbs in Portuguese.
Perhaps the biggest topic in any language aside from nouns, is that of verbs, and Portuguese is no exception. I will do my best to teach you what I have found to be truly important so that we can move through this topic without getting hung up on a million little inconsistencies.
Take it from me, you could spend years just trying to memorize all the verbs that exist in Portuguese. There are just about as many as there are in English. So, you can imagine what I mean. That is not what you want to be doing at this point though. Instead, let’s teach you how verbs work, so that when you do learn new ones, you know how to use them.
Verbs in Portuguese follow particular rules, and they change depending on who and what they are being attributed to. The best way to start studying verbs is to be introduced to them in their infinitive form. That is to say, when they are not yet attributed to any noun.
In English, to put a verb in its infinitive form the way that Portuguese does, we add the preposition, “to,” just prior to the verb.
For example, let’s take the word, “dance,” and state it in its infinitive form the way that Portuguese does. To do so, we would say, “to dance.” Literally speaking, just the action “to dance” has not yet been attributed to any particular noun. It’s an actionable verb, sure, but it is just kind of floating out there in space and has not yet been assigned an entity for which it can serve a purpose.
On the other hand, if we were to say, “the lady dances,” then we have given the infinitive verb, “to dance,” a noun to correspond to and thus an action ensues. Luckily for us, this is the same concept in Portuguese.
Every verb, on its own, written in its infinitive form corresponds to its English equivalent with the word, “to,” preceding it.
To illustrate this, if we were to say the infinitive verb, “to dance,” in Portuguese, we would say, “dançar.”
You’ll note that this word, “dançar” ends with the letters, “ar.”
In fact, every verb in Portuguese ends with either the letters, “ar,” “er,” “ir,” and, “or.”
These suffixes are the part of the word in Portuguese that correspond to the word, “to,” in English. For example, “danç-ar” is equivalent to saying, “to dance,” in English.
Let’s see some more examples.
The verb, “comer,” in Portuguese is in its infinitive form. It translates directly as, “to eat,” in English. The, “er,” on the end of the word, “comer,” makes us say, “to – eat,” rather than just, “eat.” In fact, in Portuguese, there is no way to simply state an infinitive verb without saying, “to,” in a direct translation, like we can in English. In English you can say, “eat” without saying “to eat” but in Portuguese, you cannot. It will always be, “comer.” Never simply, “com,” as you might want to say.
Another example is the verb, “abrir,” which translates directly as, “to open.” The, “ir,” on the end of, “abrir,” is equivalent to saying the word, “to,” before the verb, “open.”
A final example would be the verb, “expor,” which translates directly as, “to expose,” in English.
The, “or,” on the end of the word causes us to say, “to,” prior to saying, “expose,” in a direct translation. So, one more time for the sake of clarity.
All Portuguese verbs in their infinitive form, that is to say, not yet attributed to a noun, will end in, “ar,” “er,” “ir,” and, “or.”
You may be asking at this point, “what if the verb is attributed to a noun?”
This is a big question and opens up the next topic: How to conjugate verbs in Portuguese.
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Until next time,