Verbs & Personal Pronouns

Today we are going to take quick a look at verbs and personal pronouns.

They may seem difficult at first glance, but they are not as scary as you might think.

So let’s take a look at a regular verb.

The verb ‘falar‘.

Falar‘ means ‘to speak’, not I speak or you speak, but ‘to speak’
So how do we say ‘I speak’?

Eu falo – I speak

What we just did above is called. ‘Conjugating’ the verb. We change it for each person. In English when we conjugate a verb we only have two variants:

1. I speak; you speak; we speak; they speak

2. She speaks; he speaks

You can see that for she and he, we have added an ‘S’. You may not have even notice this before, but we do it with all verbs. (this is confusing for many learning English as they often think they are all the same! )

I speak she speaks

I eat she eats

In Portuguese we have 5 variants of the verb, listen to the audio as you read.

Verb falar
eufaloI speak
tu*falasyou speak
elefalahe speaks
nósfalamoswe speak
elesfalamthey speak
table 1

Look at the top right of the table. you will see ‘pp’ – I have abbreviated this from ‘personal pronoun‘.

What is a personal pronoun? It is basically the word we use as a simple substitute for the proper name of a person.

John likes eating pizza. He eats it every day – John gosta de pizza. Ele come pizza todos os dias

Jenny plays piano. She plays piano in the church – Jenny toca piano. Ela toca piano na igreja.

Look at the table and listen to the audio.

Personal Pronouns
Personal Pronouns
vocêyou (informal)
o senhorthe gentleman / sir
a senhorathe lady / madam
elesthey (for group of men or mixed group)
elasthey (group of women only no men allowed)
vocêsyou all (all of you when addressing more than one person.
os senhoreswhen addressing a male / mixed group very formally
as senhoraswhen addressing a female group very formally
table 2

If you are a beginner it is best to just stick to the ‘informal’ form for ‘you’ to begin with, it is less complicated. We will not be looking at the ‘tu’* form – just yet.

O(s) senhor(es)/a(s) senhora(s) Although technically they are not personal pronouns, they are very formal ways off addressing somebody.

O senhor já escolheu? – Have you decided what you would like, sir? (lit: has the gentleman chosen already?)

You might hear this in a restaurant or hotel when being addressed if you are a man. If you are a lady you will hear: senhora. This variant uses the same form of the verb as ‘he’ (see table above)

Você – we don’t actually hear so much.

Você gosta de piza? – Do you like piza?

can also be

Gosta de piza? – do you like piza?

When we are looking at the person we are speaking to it is obvious that we are addressing them directly.

The plural forms are used when we address more than one person at a time.
First person plural: nós – we

(nós) Gostamos de Portugal – We like Portugal

Second person plural: vocês/os senhores/as senhoras – you all

Vocês gostam de Piza? – Do you all like pizza?

To make an affirmative statement we say:

Eu falo portuguêsI speak Portuguese
Ele fala portuguêshe speaks Portuguese
Nós falamos portuguêsWe speak Portuguese
Vocês falam português you all speak Portuguese
Eles falam português – They speak Portuguese (men or mixed group)

To make a negative statement we place the word ‘não’ (no) before the verb.

Eu não falo português I don’t speak Portuguese
Ela não fala português She doesn’t speak Portuguese
Nós não falamos Portuguêswe don’t speak Portuguese
Vocês não falam Portuguêsyou all don’t speak Portuguese
Elas não falam portuguêsthey don’t speak Portuguese (group of women)

To ask a question the word order does not change like in English but the voice will rise slightly at the end of the phrase.

Ele fala português? – Does he speak Portuguese?
Fala português? Do you speak Portuguese?
A senhora fala Português? – Do you speak Portuguese madam?
Nós falamos português? – Do we speak Portuguese?
Vocês falam português Do you all speak Portuguese?
Eles falam português Do they speak Portuguese (men or mixed group)

Listen to the audios again and try saying the phrases above!

If you liked this lesson and really want to learn Portuguese – try our online courses!


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