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Enter 2012 as a Magnificent Portuguese Speaker.
December 27, 2011
|Olá! Tudo bem?
Hey, If you would like to drastically master and enhance your ability to express yourself in Portuguese, it is really important that you get your hands on the programme I have created - Rafa's Vocabulary Ticker. This is a unique language tool that will help you increase and master the Portuguese vocabulary and expressions that you are very likely to use when you interact with other people in Portuguese. Check it out by clicking here.
This is my last email to you this year. A year that comes to an end now. A year with goals already achieved and other ones still to be achieved.
I believe that the ones we have achieved will give us a reason to be proud of ourselves, whereas those we didn't achieve yet, will may need some thought in order to find ways of how to achieve them in the end.
I could not finish this year without accomplishing my last goal for this year of 2011 - helping you understand one more topic (and maybe the hardest one) of the Portuguese Language. What I mean with this is:
What if I told you there are ways for you to make your speech to sound more fluent and appealing, when you speak Portuguese?
What if those ways are just small two- or three-letter words?
Check this out.
You may have already noticed that when Portuguese speakers talk to each other, they use certain words like "a", "lo", "la", "lhe", etc, after of before a certain verb which make their message to be expressed much easier and much quicker?
Those words exist to replace other words (names or nouns) and are called pronouns.
If you are mastering your language skills with the tool I have created for learning Portuguese - Rafa's Vocabulary Ticker - you may have come across with expressions like "Prazer em conhecê-lo" for instance.
The word "lo" is a pronoun that when used, makes your conversation sound more natural and more fluent, and at the same time it breaks the boredom of repetition and redundancy.
A pronoun?? What are you talking about Rafa? I can feel you whispering already... ;-)
I know, it's a buzz word. You may not like these terms (and I don't feel them very attractive either, to be honest), but the truth is, if you grasp the concept, you can start using these little words in Portuguese with ease.
For instance when you are introduced to somebody by a friend, you may have learned that you must say "Prazer em conhecê-lo" (if you are talking to a man) or "Prazer em conhecê-la" (if you are talking to a woman) or even "Prazer em conhecê-los" if you are being introduced to a group of people (males and females together) - to just say "Pleased to meet you".
But the question is: What do these "lo", "la", "los" really mean?
And how can I use them?
As I said before, these little words in grammar terms are called "Pronouns", and a pronoun is no more than a word that REPLACES a noun or a name.
Exactly! When you say in English "Pleased to meet YOU", the word "YOU" is no more than a pronoun that replaces the name of a certain person - be it Peter, Joseph, Rafa, Maria, etc.
In Portuguese there are many types of pronouns. There are Personal Pronouns, Reflexive Pronouns, Direct Object Pronouns, Indirect Object Pronouns, etc.
Today we are going to concentrate our focus on the latter ones only - the Direct Object Pronouns and Indirect Object Pronouns.
In order for us to use pronouns properly, we need to take into account three things:
1. What exactly is the pronoun replacing,
2. Where to place them in a sentence (before or after the verb),
3. What modifications (if any) shall the pronoun and the verb suffer.
On the one hand, Direct Object Pronouns (or in Portuguese "Pronomes de Complemento Direto") are words that allow you to ask a certain verb a couple of questions:
1. O que? (What?) and
2. Quem? (Who?)
On the other hand, Indirect Object Pronouns (or in Portuguese "Pronomes de Complemento Indireto") are words that reply to the question "A QUEM?" or "PARA QUEM" - "TO/FOR WHOM?"
Say for instance you want to say in Portuguese "I see Maria twice a week". You would say "Eu vejo a Maria duas vezes por semana". Here, the question you ask is: "WHO do I see twice a week?" - So here you are asking the verb the question "WHO" (to see who? - Maria is the answer)
When you carry on with your conversation you may say "Sometimes, I see HER three times a week". In this second sentence, you don't need to say "Maria" again, because everybody knows WHO you are talking about, so in Portuguese you say "Às vezes eu vejo-A três vezes por semana (in European Portuguese) or "Às vezes eu A vejo três vezes por semana" or even Às vezes eu vejo ELA três vezes por semana." (in Brazilian Portuguese).
You see, here you are replacing the name Maria by the pronoun "a", which means "her". And "HER" answers the question "WHO?"
If you were talking about an object instead of a person, you'd be asking the question "WHAT?" - What do I see three times a week?
Do you get this? Interesting isn't it?
Anyway, there are only 8 pronouns under this category, and they are:
"ME", which corresponds to "ME" in English,
"TE", which corresponds to an informal "YOU" in English,
"O", which corresponds to "HIM" or "IT" when an object is masculine. In Brazilian Portuguese, sometimes people use "Ele"
"A", which corresponds to "HER" or "IT" when an object is feminine. In Brazilian Portuguese, sometimes people use "Ela"
"NOS", which corresponds to "US". In Brazilian Portuguese, sometimes people use "A gente".
"VOS" / "VOCÊS, which corresponds to plural "YOU" (as YOU GUYS),
"OS", which corresponds to a masculine "THEM", be it people or objects. In Brazilian Portuguese, sometimes people use "Eles"
"AS", which also corresponds to a feminine "THEM" in English, be it people or objects. In Brazilian Portuguese, sometimes people use "Elas"
Because the rules under the usage of these pronouns apply more to European Portuguese, I decided to include how Brazilian Portuguese speakers ease it up along with the explanations.
So, the following rules are normally respected:
1. The pronoun comes after the verb separated by an hyphen in EU Portuguese. In BR Portuguese is normally before the verb, e.g. Eu como O BOLO todo (I eat all THE CAKE) -> "Eu como-O todo". (European) / "Eu O como todo or "Eu como ELE todo". (Brazilian) (I eat IT all).
2. In European Portuguese, the pronoun needs to be placed before the verb when it comes after:
a) Adverbs like "também", "sempre", "já", "ainda", também, etc., e.g. "Eu também comi O BOLO." -> "Eu também O comi." (here the word "o" means "it" (o bolo) as a masculine object).
b) A negative statement, e.g. "Ele não come O BOLO" -> "Ele não O come."
c) Interrogative (with an interrogative pronoun like Quando, quem, onde, etc), e.g. "Quem come BOLO hoje?"(Who eats THE CAKE today?) -> "Quem O come hoje?" (Who eats IT today?)
d) Relative pronouns (words you would normally use to ask questions, but which you can use in statements as well. e.g. "QUE" (who, that, which, whom), "QUANDO" (when), "ONDE" (where), etc..
e) Prepositions (small linking words like "de", "para", "por", "em", "até", etc.) e.g. "Ela gosta DE beber O CAFÉ com leite." (She likes to drink the coffee with milk) -> "Ela gosta de O beber com leite."(She likes drinking IT with milk).
3. If the verb you are using ends with the letters S, Z, or R, the last letters of the verb - S, Z or R - fall and you ad an L to the pronouns "o" "a", "os" "as". e.g. "Tu comeS o bolo todo" (You eat all the cake) -> "Tu come-lo todo" (You eat it all).
In this case, we need to pay attention to 3 things:
a) When does a verb end with "S"? - When you use the persons "Tu" and "Nós" in the present tense, for instance. E.g. Nós chamamos o Manuel. -> Nós chamamo-lo.
b) When does a verb end with "Z"? - Only irregular verbs like Trazer, Fazer, end with "Z"in the 3rd person. E.g. "Ele traz o carro hoje."-> Ele trá-lo hoje. In this case, we need to place an accent on the "á" because the original word has its phonetic stress on the last syllable, so we need to keep the stress where it was originally.
c) When does a verb end with "R"? Always when it's in its infinite form e.g. comer, falar, beber, fazer, etc.. A verb will likely be in its infinitive form if this verb uses another verb as auxiliary, e.g. Eu vou COMER um bolo hoje; (I'm going TO EAT a cake today) -> Eu vou COMÊ-LO hoje (I'm going to eat IT today). Verbs in ER normally get a circumflex accent (^) on the last syllable, instead of an acute accent (´) because, as you know, any verb in its original infinitive form must be stressed in the last syllable.
4. When the verb of your sentence ends with a nasal sound (always with the persons "eles", "elas", "vocês", "os senhores" and "as Senhoras") we need to keep the verb as it is and ad a "N" to the pronoun. E.g. "Eles bebem O VINHO todo", becomes "Eles bebem-NO todo". (They drink all the wine --> They drink IT all).
In Brazilian Portuguese it's much easier, once people don't follow these rules as strictly as in European Portuguese.
However I must say that it's always good to know the rules that apply to European Portuguese, because the Brazilians you deal with might be highly educated and therefore apply these grammar rules as in European Portuguese.
The main difference between these two versions of Portuguese is that in Brazilian Portuguese you rarely use "o" or "a" as a pronoun. You'd rather use "ele" or "ela". So, as we see, Brazilian Portuguese is much more flexible in this respect.
As an example, say for instance you hear the de same sentence as above: "Eu vejo a Maria três vezes por semana" then, as the conversation goes on you might hear someone saying "Eu vejo ELA duas vezes por semana." This is perfectly correct in Brazilian Portuguese, but you may also hear "Eu A vejo duas vezes por semana."
And these are all the rules for this kind of pronouns. Obviously native speakers follow all these rules without realising, but when we are learning a language I believe we need to know why things are said in a specific way. In any case, in order for you to do some practice, I'm going to ad a few examples and exercises here. The solutions are at the end of this email. So lets go for it, and do them now.
Check these examples out:
1. O empregado de mesa trouxe a conta. (The waiter brought the bill) --> O empregado de mesa trouxe-a (the waiter brought it).
2. Você já fez o jantar? (have you made the dinner?) --> Você já o fez? (have you made it?) - please note that the adverb "já" requires the pronoun to be placed before the verb.
3. Não compre esse casaco (Don't buy that jacket) --> Não o compre (don't buy it) - please note, the negative word "não" also requires the pronoun before the verb.
4. Ele disse-me que faria o trabalho. (He told me he would do the job) --> Ele disse-me que o faria. (he told me he would do it).
5. Ela precisa de comprar uma casa nova. (She needs to buy a new house) --> Ela precisa de a comprar nova. (She needs to buy it new).
6. Eu quero comprar um carro novo. (I want to buy a new car) --> Eu quero comprá-lo novo. (I want to buy it brand new) - please note that "comprar" is the main verb and it's in its infinitive form.
6. Ele faz o café muito bom. (He makes a very good coffee) --> Ele fá-lo muito bom (He makes it very good).
7. Eles trazem o Pedro à festa (They bring Pedro along to the party) --> Eles trazem-no à festa. (They bring him along to the party). - Here "trazem" has a nasal sound.
Now try to do these exercises:
1. Eu vou preparar O JANTAR às sete da noite. -> Eu vou __________ _________ às sete da noite.
2. Não vi os seus óculos. --> Não _______ _______.
3. Eles compraram os bilhetes hoje --> Eles _________ ________ hoje.
4. Vocês convidaram a Maria e o Carlos? --> Vocês ______ ________?
5. Eu fechei as janelas todas --> Eu _________ _________ todas.
6. Ele põe os pratos na mesa. --> Ele ________ _______ na mesa.
7. Ela já leu o jornal? --> Ela já ______ ______?
8. Você quer fazer o exercício? --> Você _________ _______ _______?
9. O José comprou um presente ontem. --> O José _______ ______ ontem.
10. Nós vimos as meninas na festa. Nós ________ ________ na festa.
Did you manage?
Let's carry on.
Indirect Object Pronouns or in Portuguese "Pronomes de Complemento Indireto" on their turn, are words that allow you to ask a certain verb only two questions:
A quem? / Para quem? - (To whom?) - Please note that if it is not possible to ask the verb the full question "TO WHOM", but only "Whom", the following pronouns DO NOT apply. The ones that apply are the ones above - Direct Object pronoun.
There are 5 pronouns under this category, and they are:
"ME", which corresponds to "TO ME" in English,
"TE", which corresponds to an informal "TO YOU" in English,
"LHE", which corresponds to "TO HIM" or "TO IT" when an object is masculine. In Brazilian Portuguese, sometimes people use "PARA ELE"
"LHE", which corresponds to "TO HER" or "TO IT" when an object is feminine. In Brazilian Portuguese, sometimes people use "PARA ELA"
"NOS", which corresponds to "TO US". In Brazilian Portuguese, sometimes people use "PARA A GENTE".
"VOS" / "PARA VOCÊS, which corresponds to the plural "TO YOU" (as TO YOU GUYS),
"LHES", which corresponds to a masculine "TO THEM", be it people or objects. In Brazilian Portuguese, sometimes people use "PARA ELES"
"LHES", which also corresponds to a feminine "TO THEM" in English, be it people or objects. In Brazilian Portuguese, sometimes people use "PARA ELAS"
These pronouns, obey the same rules as the ones before, in terms of where they are placed in a sentence - BEFORE THE VERB (in Brazilian Portuguese) OR AFTER (in European Portuguese). In other words, they normally come after the verb separated by a hyphen (in European Portuguese).
The exceptions where in EU Portuguese the pronoun comes before the verb are:
a) Adverbs like "também", "sempre", "já", "ainda", também, etc., e.g. "Eu também telefonei para O PAULO." -> "Eu também LHE telefonei." (here the word "LHE" means "TO HIM" (para o paulo) as a masculine person).
b) A negative statement, e.g. "Ele não telefona para o Paulo" -> "Ele não LHE telefona."
c) Interrogative (with an interrogative pronoun like Quando, quem, onde, etc), e.g. "Quem telefonou PARA O PAULO hoje?"(Who called (to) Paulo today?) -> "Quem LHE telefonou hoje?" (Who called (to) HIM today?)
d) Relative pronouns e.g. "QUE" (who, that, which, whom), "QUANDO" (when), "ONDE" (where), etc..
e) Prepositions like "de", "para", "por", "em", "até", etc. e.g. "Ela disse para eles trazerem um café PARA ELE." (She asked them to bring a coffee For/TO HIM) -> "Ela disse-lhes para LHE TRAZEREM um café."(She asked them to bring (to) HIM a coffee).
Do you understand?
The good thing about these Indirect Object Pronouns is that regardless if they are before or after the verb, you don't need to cut any letters to the verb. So you can either say "Ele traz-lhe um café" or "Ela lhe traz um café".
The more erudite a text is or the more educated a person is, it seems that the more likely it is that you'll find these grammar rules applied.
As before, let me give you a a couple of examples first and then a few exercises for you to practice.
1. Eu comprei um lápis ao Paulo --> Eu comprei-lhe um lápis. (EU) / Eu lhe comprei um lápis (BR) - (I bought him a pencil)
2.Ela mandou um postal para mim --> Ela mandou-me um postal (EU) / Ela me mandou um postal (BR) - She sent me a post card
1. Quem disse isso ao Manuel e à Sofia? --> Quem ____________________ isso?
2. Ela trouxe esse livro para nós. --> Ela ____________________ esse livro.
3. Eles já entregaram a carta para a Maria? --> Eles já ________________________ a carta?
4. Nós demos um bonito presente de Natal ao José. --> Nós __________________ um bonito presente de Natal.
5. A Maria ligou para você hoje às 3 horas. A Maria ___________________ hoje às 3 horas.
Well, I think you understand this by now.
Just before finishing, there's another way to shorten the sentences in Portuguese: when we have both direct and Indirect Object pronouns in a sentence.
In this case the combination of those two is possible by folioing these rules:
ME + O = MO ---> e.g. Ele deu-mo (He gave it to me)
TE + O = TO ---> e.g. Ele deu-to (He gave it to you)
LHE + O = LHO ---> e.g. Ele deu-lho (He gave it to him/her)
ME + A = MA ---> e.g. Ele deu-ma (He gave it (a feminine object) to me)
TE + A = TA ---> e.g. Ele deu-ta (He gave it to you)
LHE + A = LHA ---> e.g. Ele deu-lha (He gave it to him/her)
Soluções da primeira parte:
1. Eu vou prepará-lo (EU) / Eu o vou preparar (BR) or Eu vou preparar ele (BR).
2. Não os vi / não vi eles (BR)
3. Eles compraram-nos (EU) / Eles os compraram / Eles compraram eles (BR)
4. Vocês convidaram-nos (EU) / Vocês os convidaram / Vocês convidaram eles (BR)
5. Eu fechei-as (EU) / Eu as fechei / Eu fechei elas (BR)
6. Ele põe-nos (EU) / Ele os põe / Ele põe eles na mesa (BR)
7. Ela já o leu (EU+BR) / Ela já leu ele (BR)
8. Você quer fazê-lo (EU) / Você o quer fazer (BR)
9. Comprou-o ontem (EU) / O comprou ontem / Comprou ele ontem (BR)
10. Nós vimo-las (EU) / Nós as vimos / Nós vimos elas (BR)
Soluções da segunda parte:
1. Quem lhes disse isso (EU) / Quem disse isso para eles (BR)
2. Ela trouxe-nos esse livro (EU) / Ela nos trouxe esse livro (BR)
3. Eles já lhe entregaram a carta (EU) / Eles já entregaram a carta para ela (BR)
4. Nós demos-lhe (EU) / Nós demos para ele (BR)
5 A Maria ligou-lhe (EU) / A Maria lhe ligou / A Maria ligou para você (BR)
And that's it. I hope this email will help you improve your speaking and/or reading skills in Portuguese.
And yes, please don't forget, if you want to drastically master and enhance your Portuguese vocabulary during these holidays, check out the language programme I have created for you with all the passion I have for languages here.
I'll call it a day for now.
Do some practice with this email and enjoy your learning, always bearing in mind how you can best use this information to help you achieve your goals.
I hope you have enjoyed this message as much as I have enjoyed writing it and I'll be back with more news next year.
Till then, Feliz Ano Novo e muita determinação com o seu estudo em 2012.
PS 1: Questions about any topic? Success stories? Please let me know.
PS 2: Also, if you were going to tell your friends ONE PIECE OF ADVICE you learned from me which has helped you to speak Portuguese... What would that be? Let me know in your email!
I look forward to receiving your email :-)
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