How to say ‘this’ in Portuguese

Do you get confused with ‘this’ and ‘that’ in Portuguese?

You are not the only one, these tiny words drive people crazy! Should I use ‘isto, este or esta’?

This short article will give you some insight into how to say ‘this’ in Portuguese. The online course Speak like a Native Speaker addresses this subject in more detail.


This just seems like a fancy grammer word, but don’t be put off. Learning ‘this’ and ‘that’ in portuguese doesn’t have to be too hard. Once you learn these simple words you will transform your shopping experience in Portugal.

So let’s make it simple. I am going to tell you how to say ‘this’, none of that…or that over there, but just how to say ‘this’, in Portuguese.

Isto / este / esta

We have three types, the neutral, masculine and feminine isto / este / esta, these demonstratives are referring to things close to you and they all mean ‘this’

Isto – this

We can say to a degree, that this word is neutral. It doesn’t change gender or number. This means that it doesn’t change – it is an invariable. (always ‘isto’)

It is used to identify objects.


O que é isto? ( What is this?)

Isto é uma caneta? (Is this a pen?)

Quem disse isto? (who said this?)

So we use ‘isto’ when we are unsure of the noun or the object in question, or when speaking in an abstract context like something that was said.

Este & esta

The others, este & esta, are variables, this means they do change. We have feminine and masculine.

Este – this

For this, this…we need to know the gender of the noun. This word does change and it is called a variable. Este is used for masculine nouns, those are the nouns with the article ‘o’.

o carro – the car (m)

Este carro aqui (this car here)

o hotel – the hotel (m)

Este hotel é muito bom (This hotel is very good)

Esta – this

This one is used for the feminine nouns, the ones with the article ‘a’, therefore we have to pay attention to the gender!

a mesa – the table (f)

Esta mesa aqui (this table here)

a mala – this bag

Esta mala é minha (this bag is mine)

Now, here is where we begin to see the poetry. Yes, poetry! Thing if words having to rhyme. (well it is kind of like that)


os carros – the cars

estes carros (these cars)

as mesas – the tables

estas mesas (these tables)

Practice saying the words in this article and using the respective demonstrative. You can try with other nouns too!

If you have any questions you can ask in the comments below.

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