Do you want to learn Portuguese Verbs?
Understand the whole picture first!
My strong advice is: learn Portuguese verbs well (I mean doing words)! They are the essential nucleus of the Portuguese language.
You may want to click on the book image 501 Portuguese Verbs to order this book now, because it's one of the best books available I know of to help you learn and understand Portuguese verbs confidently. In other words, the core of the language!
If you learn the verbs well, when you speak you’ll realize that you will be speaking Portuguese correctly and with confidence.
OK, Let's go straight to business then, and let's understand the Portuguese verbs once and for all, shall wee?
We have seen, in the previous explanations, that nouns can be singular and plural.
We have also seen that every noun is actually either masculine or feminine.
Nouns are essential to speak a language because we need them to name every single object we see
(and to build Portuguese vocabulary).
However, you must also learn Portuguese verbs, because they are the core of the Portuguese language.
You want to learn Portuguese, right?
So I’m here to help you! If you follow my instructions you’ll learn Portuguese verbs with such ease that you’ll be amazed with yourself!
As I said before, a verb is a “doing” word – say... to read, to work, to go, to see, to relax, and so on.
Portuguese verbs are the words that give action to nouns, and that’s the reason why they are very important.
If you learn Portuguese verbs you’ll be able to place an action in a certain moment in time. That’s why we need them, because saying, for instance, “you go to the cinema”, it’s not the same thing as saying “you went to the cinema”, or “you would go to the cinema”.
So, this is the role of the verbs in languages. This is why you need to learn Portuguese Verbs. Verbs place an action in a certain moment in the time line.
When you learn Portuguese verbs, you will realize that they also indicate WHO is acting.
We need to know who is doing what, and that’s why we need to "decline" verbs in accordance with the person who is doing it.
What I mean by that is, when you learn Portuguese verbs, you learn the difference in saying, for instance, “I go to the cinema” and “She goes to the cinema”. So here we are differentiating WHO is doing the action – I, you, we or she, etc...
So, when we speak, we attribute a verb (an action) to the person that, in our conversation, is doing it. So we define and state a verbal person in every sentence we utter when we speak.
Just think for 10 seconds if you do or don't use I, you, she, he, we, they in every sentence you say?
Of course you do. And by doing that you put clear who is doing what.
You come across several verbal persons when you learn Portuguese verbs, but the good news is that, when you learn Portuguese verbs, you only need 5 different “declinations” in European Portuguese, and 4 different declinations in Brazilian Portuguese.
Ok, you might be thinking... What does he mean by that? What is he talking about??
Well, let me explain!
In order to learn Portuguese verbs, you need to know:
1. Eu [ehoo] – which means I or ME.
2. Tu [too] – which means YOU (dude) in an informal way (say when you talk to friends or family). I must say that this form is hardly used in Brazil.
3. Você [vo-seh] – which means YOU as well, but in a kind of formal way in Portugal and Africa. In Brazilian Portuguese, because of the fact that you don’t use TU, you would use Você instead to say YOU in an informal way.
4. O senhor [oo-sen-yior] – YOU SIR. You'll use this form to express top formality.
5. A senhora [a senyio-rah]– YOU MADAM.
These last two are top formality and you must use them to address people that you meet for the first time or older people than you. It’s also a way of showing respect to the one you are talking to. When in doubt which form to use, use the person's name instead of any of these (e.g. O Pedro quer um brandy? (You, Mr Pedro would like a brandy?)
7. Ele [ay-lee] - HE and HIM.
8. Ela [ay-lah] - SHE and HER.
6. Nós [nosh]– which mean WE or US.
And then you have the plurals:
9. Vocês [vo-se-sh] – which mean YOU GUYS (you group).
10. Os senhores [oosh-sen-yio resh] – YOU GENTLEMEN (once again very formal).
11. As senhoras [ah-sh senyio-rah-sh]– – YOU LADIES (very formal as well).
12. Eles [ay-leesh]– THEY and THEM (as a group of males or mixed gender - males and females).
13. Elas [ay-lash]– THEY and THEM (as a group of females only).
Also, when we learn Portuguese verbs, in colloquial Portuguese we can often come across with:
14. A gente [ah-jen-tee].
15. Uma pessoa [oo-mah-ps-oh-ah].
16. Um gajo [oon-gah-joh] (more likely to be found in the streets language).
17. Um cara [oong-carah] (only in Brazilian Portuguese).
18. Um individuo – [oong-een-dee-vee-doo-oh].
All of these mean “ONE” as “One knows this book”. This "ONE" actually means "we" but it’s a rather easier way of saying "we".
And that's all you need to know about the verbal persons when you learn Portuguese verbs!
However, there is another thing we must understand when we learn Portuguese verbs, and that is:
Portuguese verbs have Modes and Tenses.
But... what is that???
I know! Let me explain!
When you learn Portuguese verbs, and in order for you to visualise the whole picture, there are only 4 Modes (or "Moods"), and they are:
1. Indicative – indicates a real action that happens in the present, future or past. (e.g. I went to the beach - Eu fui à praia).
2. Imperative – gives commands and orders to other people to do something. (e.g. Please go to the beach - Vá á praia).
3. Conditional – indicates the possibility “would”, "should", "could" under a certain condition – “if…” (e.g. If I was there, I would have talked to him - Se eu estivesse lá eu teria falado com ele).
4. Subjunctive – expresses a virtual or surreal action that is likely or not to happen.
Do you understand? Great!
OK, let's carry on because...
Now it’s time to talk about Tenses:
What is a tense?
I know! It’s like getting a new lingo! But... these are things once you'll learn and understand once, you'll use a million times.
And how cool is that? If I can learn and understand something once and use it a million times, my learning is worthwhile! Don't you agree?
Ok, a tense is the category of a doing word (verb) that serves to specify the time when a certain action takes place in a period in the time line (e.g. past, present, future, etc.).
So, 2 of the modes expressed above (the Indicative and the Subjunctive) have different tenses.
Therefore, let's take the verb “to see” as an example or in Portuguese, “ver”, to better understand what we are talking about here:
After reading these explanations, get the book I mentioned to learn more and more.
You can also click here to download this PDF verb table I have prepared for you.
But hey! Learn one per day only, remember! Be good to yourself!
Anyway, as I was saying, in the Indicative Mode you have:
1. Present tense (e.g. I see) – eu vejo [ehoo vay-joh].
2. Present continuous (e.g. I’m seeing) – eu estou a ver [ehoo shtoh a vayr] (in Portugal) / eu estou vendo [ehoo stoh vayn-doo] (in Brazil).
2. Perfect past (e.g. I have seen and I saw) – eu vi [ehoo vee].
3. Imperfect past (e.g. I used to see or I was seeing) – eu via [ehoo vee-ah].
5. Near future (e.g. I’m going to see) – eu vou ver [ehoo voo vayr].
6. Compound perfect past* (e.g. I have seen [lately]) – eu tenho visto [ehoo tay-nyio vees-too].
7. Compound imperfect past* (e.g. I had seen) – eu tinha visto [ehoo tee-nyia vees-too].
8. Far future (e.g. I will see) – eu verei [ehoo veh-rray-ee].
* Note: I'm am calling these tenses "compound" tenses in order for you to understand the concept better, because grammatically they have other names. What I mean by "compound" is that these tenses are formed with 2 verbs: Ter + main verb.
In the Imperative mode (the mode to give commands to others) you don’t have tenses but only 2 states. Let's take the verb "to go", in Portuguese "ir" as an
1. Positive state (e.g. please go) - vá [vah].
2. Negative state (e.g. please don’t go) - não vá.
Note: In Portuguese, when you give commands to people ( or when you ask them to do something) you don't have necessarily to say "please" - "por favor".
Normally the intonation of your voice will show whether you are being suggestive or bossy!
Another important note: My friend, if you have control of only these tenses, in all the verbs you want to use, and have the right vocabulary you can talk to anybody (and I really mean anybody) about anything in Portuguese!!!!!!
You won’t even need the Subjunctive mode to speak. But in case you want to learn it, please carry on reading. I also recommend you to click on each one of them to learn more.
Subjunctive mode as I said, expresses an action that is likely or not to happen. It also expresses wishes, desires, and probability. So it expresses an action that it’s not real.
It’s the opposite of the Indicative mode which gives you certainty (in the past, present or future).
When you learn Portuguese verbs, it’s quite easy for you to use the subjunctive because it is always used after a certain expression (for instance “espero que... [I hope that], talvez... [maybe], Deus queira que... [God wishes that...] and so on.
So when you use one of these expressions you know that you have to use the subjunctive mode, of a certain verb, with it (e.g. Maybe he goes to the beach - Talvez ele vá à praia).
In the Subjunctive Mode you have:
1. Present tense (e.g. Talvez eu esteja feliz - [tahl-vays eh-oo stay-jah fay-lees] "Maybe I'm happy).
2. Imperfect past tense (e.g. Se eu estivesse feliz - [see eh-oo stee-vay-ss fay-lees] "If I were happy").
3. Future tense (e.g. Quando eu for feliz [kwand eh-oo fohr fay-lees] "when I am happy" in the sense of "that day in the future when I manage to be happy).
I have prepared another free PDF Verb table with the Present, Past and Future Subjunctive tenses for you which can download now.
4. Compound tenses when you need 2 verbs or more to build the tense (e.g. Talvez eu tenha comido - [tahl-vays eh-oo teh-nyiah coh-mee-do] "Maybe I' have eaten).
And that's it!
Here you have the full picture. I believe that this explanation will give you the sense of direction when learning the Portuguese verbs.
So, let's go! Let's nail them! If you want to go to the most frequent Portuguese verbs now, click here.
So, to help you boost your confidence, I have prepared for you 2 verb tables: A table with regular and irregular verbs< in the Indicative Mode (to express certainty) in the Present, Simple Past and Imperfect Past Tenses:
Click here to download a PDF verb table for free with the Indicative mode.
And a table with the Present, Past and Future Subjunctive tenses.Click here to download a free PDF Verb table with the Subjunctive mode. (I'd recommend you to save them in your computer or print them out. They are what I call them "the $10,000 Dollar sheets"! You can also laminate them to use them every time you need them, or perhaps why don't you start building your own sentences and putting your thoughts together right now?)
I hope that, by reading this page, you feel a sense of direction when you learn Portuguese verbs, and with that I mean being aware of 3 important aspects:
What Verbal Persons are,
What Verbal Modes are,
What Verbal Tenses are.
Ate mais! [ah-teh loh-goo] - See you soon!
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