The verb ter (to have) is so important in Portuguese that it’s used to form other verbs; these verbs are conjugated in the same way as the verb they originate from – since ter is a bit irregular, you should drill those conjugations before applying them to these new verbs.
So, here’s a list of 7 essential verbs derived from ter (in alphabetical order) to enhance your vocabulary:
Meaning: to abstain, to refrain from doing something
Sentence: Eu abstive-me de votar nas últimas eleições. I abstained from voting in the last election.
Meaning: to contain, to repress, to hold [something/someone] back
Sentence: A cirurgiã conteve a infeção com ajuda dos enfermeiros. The surgeon contained the infection with the nurses’ help.
Meaning: to stop, to deter, to arrest (someone)
Sentence: Se a polícia tivesse detido o ladrão depois do primeiro assalto, ele não teria roubado a segunda loja. If the police had arrested/detained the thief after the first burglary, he would not have burglarised the second shop/store.
Meaning: to entertain, to keep busy, to stave off boredom, to keep company
Sentence: Eu entretenho os meus avós até os meus pais chegarem. I keep company with my grandparents until my parents arrive.
Meaning: to keep, to maintain
Sentence: Eles sempre mantiveram uma dieta saudável. They have always kept a healthy diet.
Meaning: to obtain, to get
Sentence: O feiticeiro obteve a varinha que queria. The wizard got the wand he wanted.
Meaning: to retain, to hold back, to keep concealed/closed
Sentence: Os alunos retiveram as lições do professor. The students kept the teacher’s lessons in their memory.