Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns, are words we use when we are referring to objects, without naming them.

In English we would use ‘this, that and that over there’, See table 1

The Portuguese Demonstrative Pronouns are different. We have the variable and the invariable. See table 1.
The invariable do not change gender or number, (pretty much like English) and they are usually used to identify objects.


O que é isto? – What is this?

O que é isso – what is that?

O que foi aquilo – What was that? (some thing heard, or seen at a distance)

When the object is identified and we want to draw attention to it we will use the variable. These are used with the noun and will change according to gender and number of the noun.

Feminine noun

Esta casa é grande – This house is big

Estas mesas são boas – These tables are good

Masculine noun

Este carro é meu – This car is mine

Estes livros são dela – These are her books

EnglishMasculine SingularFeminine Singular
that (over there)aqueleaquela
Table 1

Below is a table that will help with orientation.

This – here (near to you) | isto – aqui

That – there (near to the person you speak to) | isso – aí

That over there (a similar distance from the both of you) | aquilo – ali

InvariableAdverbs of Place
isto – thisaqui – here
isso – that– there
aquilo – that over thereali – over there
Table 2

It can take a little getting used to, so I suggest you bookmark this page for future reference.

If you would like to learn more about the Portuguese Demonstrative Pronouns, you might like to try out the courses. Click here!

2 responses to “Demonstrative Pronouns”

  1. Thank you, this does help. This is something I really do struggle to remember, it is all so simple and clear in my head when looking at the work sheets etc but then it gets scrambled out in the real word of the spoken word.!

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