Ask Luís! (#5): Assessment of Duolingo for EP learners / Text revision

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re having a great week – hopefully the weekend will be even better (:

Today, I have a query and a text revision assignment coming all the way from Russia. This one is from Yuliya:

Olá Luís!

Aprendo Português (EP) desde setembro passado. Tenho as aulas no centro da língua e cultura portuguesas. Mas quero ter mais prática e por isso uso curso de Português de Duolingo.
O questão é: acha que Duolingo é útil para practicar a língua no entanto sendo BP orientado? Pode prática de BP ter uma conseqüência negativa para um estudo de EP?

Muito agradeço (não ainda aprendí o tempo futuro :)) se você revisa esta mensagem também.


Hello, Yuliya! First of all, thank you so much for your comments and feedback – it’s always good to know there are people who are invested in learning EP and that my work is somehow making things easier for you.

An answer to your questions, together with a revision of your vocab and grammar like you asked, will follow the jump. This is a big one, so read it calmly and without stress!

P.S. If you’d like your EP skills to be reviewed by me, send me a short message (2 to 3 main paragraphs) to my Q&A form.

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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.

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Ask Luís! (#3): Uses of the gerund in EP

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re all doing well!

This time around, I’m answering a question from Michael Tavares all the way from New Zealand (a message to Portugal doesn’t travel farther than that, since NZ is on the opposite side of the world vis-a-vis the Iberian Peninsula). I believe Michael has some Portuguese blood, so this is an extra special assignment! Anyway, here’s the message:

Olá Luís,

Could you please explain the usage of the gerund in EP?

I already know when NOT to use it in EP, I know it is not used in the progressive sense as it is in BP, Estou bebendo/Estou a beber, but I know that it is used in EP at other times.

Please enlighten us all on when it is used in EP.

Muito obrigado,

Michael Tavares na Nova Zelândia.

Hello, Michael! Thank you so much for reading the blog and for this very pertinent question. I’ll try to be as concise as possible with my answer, which will follow after the jump.

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Ask Luís! (#N/A): A Personal Message

While this message doesn’t really have a question attached (and such I won’t number it with the rest), I still feel the need to answer it since it’s a personal message to me. This one is from Peter Stockwell all the way from France:

Hi Luis,

I missed you on DL, so here I am.

Um abraço da França!

Tudo bem ?

Hello, Peter! It’s so nice to hear from you :) First of all, I’m sorry I didn’t answer your query right away – to be honest, I wasn’t sure exactly what to do with it, especially how I could integrate it within the framework of this particular segment, but I knew I had to answer it somehow: I’m not the kind of person who just leaves someone hanging on like that.

Everything’s alright with me – the state of the world still troubles me immensely, and these last terrorist attacks really struck a chord with me because I’ve been to Brussels last October, I’ve passed by that metro station and that airport, but I’m trying not to get too carried away by emotion; when people do that, they usually just spout nonsense that only makes people more isolated and prone to feeling detached, and I don’t really want to live my life in fear – I like people too much to fall for that.

I’m also doing surprisingly well without Duolingo – it was part of my daily routine for 9 months, but I’m glad of the decision I made and how I made it. I’ve now gotten back to my Dutch, and I’m also trying to dabble a bit in Danish: my mind is always wandering to something else, it can’t be helped!

I hope all is well with you and your family over there in France, and I hope you keep following this blog so we can remain in touch :)

Um grande abraço de Portugal do


Ask Luís! (#2): EP-Eng/Eng-EP dictionaries

Hello, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying your Leap Day – make sure you make it count!

Today, I’m doing double duty (don’t forget to check the new installment of EP Music Mondays I’ve posted earlier today – just scroll down to find it) to answer a question from Louis F. Dow:

Could you recommend a good EP-English/English-EP dictionary? The ones I’ve found so far seem to be BP.

Hello, Louis (nice name, by the way)! Thank you so much for your question – it’s both incredibly pertinent and a good way to help you and others study from an EP perspective (:

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Ask Luís! (#1): levar vs. trazer

On our first Ask Luís! series, I’ll be answering a question from Dries (thank you for your question!):

Olá Luis,

Just finished my Duolingo tree (now trying to make it completely gold), and I think your blog is just the thing I need to proceed my understanding of EP. Muito obrigado.

Questão: could you give me some simple instructions as to get a better feeling for the difference between levar and trazer. I looked it up at Ciberdúvidas but the answers were a bit too theoretical.

Suggestion for the grammar site: tips for the use of the Conjunctivo (presente e preterito imperfeito). We don’t use it anymore in Dutch (I’m from the Netherlands), only in proverbs or some expressions. Bom trabalho!



First of all, I’d like to thank you so much for your kind words (I believe most of my followers at this point have come from Duolingo, so I probably don’t need to explain why that was mentioned in Dries’ comment), and for your suggestions for grammar tips – I’ll place them on the top of my list; meanwhile, I’d like to refer you back to Duolingo and the very helpful Subjunctive Guide that one of its users wrote – it’s long and most sentences are in BP, but it’s a good way as any to start grappling with the tense and its many, many uses.

You’re also spot on in your assessment of Ciberdúvidas: it’s a really helpful website, but it does require an intermediate to advanced level of Portuguese to fully understand, especially since the answers use grammar terminology that’s harder to translate.

Without further ado (and as always, I feel like I’ve written a lot already), I’ll answer your main question after the jump:

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Got a burning EP question that needs answering? Just Ask Luís!

Together with the longer, more elaborate Grammar Tips, I’ve decided to start a Q&A column here on the blog (following on the model of one of my favourite Portuguese grammar websites, Ciberdúvidas da Língua Portuguesa, which you should also follow as soon as you can read and understand Portuguese at a good level).

I’ll expand the question range to anything you’d like to ask about EP and Portugal – grammar, vocabulary, culture, history, politics – if I feel I can answer your question, I’ll glad do so!

You can use the form below to send your questions (the form will also show up from now on the top banner).

Good luck with your studies!