Ask Luís! (#4): Condiments in EP / Copy editing an email

Hello, everyone! This message came to me via email; I’m always keen to answer your questions, but I’d like to ask you to write emails only about issues that you feel aren’t covered by the Ask Luís! feature. Simple questions can be sent using the Google Q&A form you can find by clicking the tab; more complex questions/queries/suggestions/general comments about the blog can and should be sent using the email I’ve provided you (:

This person didn’t leave [insertpossessive here] name, so let’s call [insert object pronoun here] CT:

Olá Luis tudo bem,  eu gosto muito dos seus blogues.

Estou a ensiar a si mesmo como falar portugues (pt-pt claro), eu tenho me ensinado faz um ano e um medio. Eu queria saber se tu podes escrever acerca de
condiments (não sei dizer em portugues) por examlpo; ketchup, mustard, bbq sauce, mayonaise… coisas assim.

Qualquer jeito, eu espero que tu podes me entender, obrigado

First of all, thank you for your kind words regarding myself and the blog (it’s really just the one, unless you took a peek at my juvenilia poetry lately, which I find very unlikely). I’d like to thank you for your question as well: I never thought I’d receive one specifically about condiments, but I love it! It’s quirky, slightly odd, but also a perfectly reasonable demand considering the ubiquity of these products in most people’s lives.

The answer will follow, as usual, after the jump.

List of condiment names in European Portuguese

Here’s the list of condiments (in EP, [os] condimentos) I could remember (full disclosure: I’ve also used Wikipedia’s invaluable wealth of knowledge to gather up a few more names):

  • Ketchup: [o] ketchup
  • Mayonnaise: [a] maionese
  • Mustard: [a] mostarda
    • Dijon mustard: [a] mostarda de Dijon
  • BBQ sauce: [o] molho barbecue
  • Worcestershire sauce: [o] molho inglês
  • Soy sauce: [o] molho de soja
  • Fish sauce: [o] molho de peixe
  • Hot sauce: [o] molho picante
  • Piri-piri sauce: [o] piri-piri or [o] molho piri-piri
  • Tartar sauce: [o] molho tártaro
  • Tzatziki: [o] tzatziki
  • Aioli: [o] aioli
  • Chutney: [o] chutney
  • Guacamole: [o] guacamole
  • Pesto: [o] pesto
  • Vinaigrette: [o] vinagrete or [o] molho vinagrete
  • Wasabi: [o] wasabi
  • Pickled food: [os] pickles
  • Salt: [o] sal
  • Pepper: [a] pimenta
  • Olive Oil: [o] azeite
    • Extra-virgin olive oil: [o] azeite extra-virgem
    • Virgin olive oil: [o] azeite virgem
  • Vinegar: [o] vinagre
    • Cider vinegar: [o] vinagre de cidra
    • Balsamic vinegar: [o] vinagre balsâmico
    • Rice vinegar: [o] vinagre de arroz
  • Honey: [o] mel

If you can remember any other condiment names you’d like to see added to the list, please use the comments to point them out (: Thanks in advance!

P.S. Re: Your Portuguese skills

I did understand you perfectly; there are certain words where you seem to be veering towards Spanish (e.g. the a + reflexive pronoun + mesmo construct; or medio instead of meio for “a half”), but all in all it was a pretty good effort! You should try reading more Portuguese books, newspapers, etc.,  and also keep writing to yourself and to others in Portuguese like you did before; that forces your brain to think in Portuguese, and after a while the things you read and learn will translate into better writing skills of your own.

As a teaching exercise, here’s how I’d rewrite your email:

Olá, Luís! Tudo bem? Eu gosto muito dos teus blogues.

Estou a aprender a falar português (pt-pt, claro) sozinho [há/faz] um ano e meio. [Eu] queria saber se [tu] podes escrever acerca de condiments (não sei dizer em português) por exemplo: ketchup, mustard, bbq sauce, mayonaise… [coisas assim/esse tipo de coisas].

De qualquer [maneira/forma], eu espero que [tu] [possas/consigas] entender-me.



  • The verb ensinar doesn’t really work in a reflexive sense (or at least it isn’t used as such), since it implies imparting knowledge to someone else; we prefer aprender even when an activity implies autodidacticism (where English would use I taught myself, EP prefers Aprendi sozinho, transl. “I learned [it] all by myself).
  • The impersonal Fazer followed by an interval of time is much more common in Brazil, but it’s also heard in some EP dialects; it’s perfectly correct and understandable, but Haver + time is just more common.
  • In EP, you can use Fazer + ontem/hoje/amanhã + interval of time to specify the passing of a certain (specific) date:
    • Faz amanhã quatro anos que o meu cão morreu. My dog died four years ago tomorrow.
  • You should always write “um ano e meio”, the um before meio is not necessary; in more informal registers, people may also drop the first um as well:
    • Fui a Paris há [um] ano e meio. I went to Paris one and a half years ago.
  • Be careful with the inner coherence of your speech when it comes to forms of address; it sounds off for you to first use a formal personal pronoun (seus blogues) and later refer to the same person using an informal personal pronoun (se tu podes). Just choose a form of address and stick with it, mutatis mutandis.
  • “Jeito” as a translation of way is BP; we prefer maneira.
  • The verb esperar (que) asks for the subjunctive.
  • I honestly think conseguir [to be able to] is a better way of phrasing the idea you had in mind (i.e. I hope he’ll be able to understand me), since it’s associated with breaking barriers; poder is not wrong either, but it implies an expectation of a stronger effort on the reader’s behalf to understand the message, or a questioning of one’s sheer willingness/capability to do so.


If any of you thought this was an interesting exercise, you can send me snippets of your writing (one of two paragraphs at a time, please) using the Q&A form and I’ll judge them on their EP merits and rewrite them for you (time permitting, of course).

One thought on “Ask Luís! (#4): Condiments in EP / Copy editing an email

  1. Yuliya May 5, 2016 / 1:59 pm

    Olá, Luís! Muito obrigada por este artigo!
    Não posso dizer de que gosto mais: da lista dos condimentos ou da revisão da carta. Ambas são muito úteis.
    Vou enviar os meus questões a “Ask Luís!” e queria receber a revisão semelhante.

    Liked by 1 person

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