European Portuguese word of the week (#190): [o] (modo) condicional

Bom dia/tarde/noite a tod@s, dependendo de onde estiverem (e de quando estiverem a ler este post, claro)!

Palavra do dia de hoje é, na verdade, uma série de palavras para um tempo/modo verbal português. O modo condicional, normalmente referido apenas como condicional, é o modo verbal utilizado quando se quer estabelecer algo como uma condição: uma ação que se só pode ser feita, terminada ou cumprida caso outra aconteça. No Brasil, o condicional é chamado de [o] futuro do pretérito, e é considerado um tempo verbal do indicativo. É assim chamado por se considerar que também serve para descrever ações passadas, mas que ocorreram num passado mais próximo face a outras ainda mais antigas.

blueberries cake chocolate chocolate cake
Eu dar-te-ia um pedaço deste bolo de chocolate se me fosses buscar um garfo.

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EP word of the week (#105) / Grammar Tips (#21): [o] conjuntivo, the subjunctive mood

Continuing a thread started last Wednesday with vosso and on Sunday with A Portuguesa (the Portuguese national anthem), today’s Word of the Week will showcase another interesting and relevant EP-specific word, this time returning to Portuguese grammar.

This time, we’re talking about [o] (modo) conjuntivo, the EP word for the subjunctive (mood). As you’re probably aware by now, Portuguese has three distinct grammatical moods which clarify the intent of a given verb form: the indicative – [o] indicativo (expressing fact), the imperative – [o] imperativo (expressing a command) and the subjunctive – [o] conjuntivo (expressing a hope, a wish, a desire, a doubt, or a possibility, in relative clauses and if clauses). In Brazilian Portuguese, the word for subjunctive is [o] (modo) subjuntivo, similar to the term used in English, French, Spanish, German and other languages.

Click on the link below for a general explanation of the subjunctive and some tricks to figure out their tense endings, which doubles as a Grammar Tips lesson!

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Ask Luís! (#13): Stress and vowel height changes in different verb forms

Hello, everyone! Today I bring you a question about sound changes and stress patterns in verb forms. A quite pertinent question, something that we usually just take for granted but that can be hard for someone to learn. Here’s the question:

Olá Luís,
Gosto muito do seu blog!!
Há umas regras gerais sobre como pronunciar os vogais nas palavras como ‘meter’ e ‘ganhar’ etc que não mudam no processo de inflexão?
Por exemplo, metem, mete, meto, e metam (de Conjuntivo), e ganhava, ganho, ganham, e ganhe, ganhem (de Conjuntivo), etc. São muitas diferenças entre EP e BP?
Obrigado pela ajuda!


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EP words of the week (#76): rabanada[s] / fatia[s] dourada[s]

Christmas is very close, and I’m sure everyone in Portugal is already thing about [a] Consoada, which is our word for the day before Christmas (the 24th) – that’s when people gather with family to spend some time together, eat and drink (also, presents) :)

Amongst the many traditional dishes Portuguese cuisine has gifted us, there’s one really cheap, easy to make and practical dessert: we call them either [as] rabanadas or [as] fatias douradas (also [as] fatias paridas). Basically you use slices of bread (either stale bread or sliced, sandwich bread), dunk them in an egg and milk mixture and fry them until they’re brown and crunchy. Afterwards, they’re are usually sprinkled with cinnamon (and sometimes sugar or icing sugar) while still hot, and then served to your happy guests!

By the way, [a] fatia is the Portuguese word for slice, and it’s the word used when you’re referring to slices of bread, cake or ham (just to give a few examples). Fatia dourada means golden slice, which is suitable given the colour of the dessert once it’s finished!


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EP word of the week (#69): lembrar-se (de)

Today, our foray into verb differences between EP and BP reaches the trickiest echelons of the language: reflexive verbs.

As it turns out, there are a few verbs that are reflexive in EP but not in BP (and I’m sure there are some examples of the opposite). This means you have to conjugate the verb together with a reflexive pronoun at all times to achieve a certain meaning (there are a few verbs which change meaning depending on whether you’re using the pronoun or not, and this inside a variant, not as an EP vs. BP comparison).

One of the verbs that follows the first paradigm (EP vs. BP differences) is lembrar-se [de] (to remember), which is pronominal/reflexive in EP but not in BP – across the Atlantic, it’s simply conjugated as lembrar [de]. Interestingly, the verb to forget follows the same pattern: in EP it’s esquecer-se [de], in BP it’s esquecer [de].

In EP, this yields the following verb conjugations for the present indicative (without vós):

  • [Eu] lembro-me [de]
  • [Tu] lembras-te [de]
  • [Ele/Ela/Você] lembra-se [de]
  • [Nós] lembramo-nos [de]
  • [Eles/Elas/Vocês] lembram-se [de]


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EP word of the week (#68): amámos [and other 1st person plural preterite forms]

Two weeks ago I mentioned the reasons why I haven’t used many verbs as Words of the week, but I’m trying to change this slightly but highlighting aspects of verb forms that are different between EP and BP, which is hopefully help you get a better idea of the main differences between variants overall.

If with descolar the focus was in spelling changes, today’s word is a slightly more complicated issue and one that most people don’t notice: the fact that 1st person plural forms on the preterite in verbs of the 1st conjugation (ending in -ar) have a different spelling of the stressed vowel (á, which also shows a change in its sound).

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EP word of the week (#58): sumo

Our short foray into beverages best served cold ends today with the Portuguese word for juice[o] sumo.

As those of you who’ve spend some time with the Duolingo (Brazilian) Portuguese course already know, Brazilians use a different word for the drinkable juices (the ones you can buy or make to drink yourself), [o] suco.

While I’ve heard that some Brazilians make a distinction between juice as a by-product of squeazing/grinding fruit and as a drink/liquid used to flavor food, and occasionally using sumo for the former, that doesn’t seem to be set in stone. In any case, when it comes to European Portuguese, [o] sumo is used for all meanings – but there are ways you can tell the different between a juiced fruit and a beverage:

  • In a recipe, juices are usually labeled using numerals [i.e. the amount of fruit you’ll need to use to make a certain quantity of juice]: an example of a recipe instruction could be: “exprema o sumo de meia laranja para dentro da mistura” (trans. “squeeze the juice of half an orange into the mixture”);
  • The beverage follows the pattern (in food and drinks) of adding the main ingredient[s] as a partitive element separated from the more generic noun with deo sumo de morango (strawberry juice); o sumo de laranja (orange juice); o sumo de pêssego (peach juice).
  • We also have a word for lemonade[a] limonada, which sets it apart from regular lemon juice (since lemonade has added sugar).

P.S. Other plant secretions and or by-products have different names: for example, sap – the fluid secreted by plant stems, is known as [a] seiva, resin is [a] resina, and pollen is [o] pólen.

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Grammar Tips (#20): Possessives in EP

The full range of possessive adjectives and pronouns in EP is as follows:

Referent subject pronoun Possessive adjectives (prepositioned) / pronouns Special cases (postpositioned)
Eu meu[s] / minha[s]
Tu teu[s] / tua[s]
Você seu[s] / sua[s]
Ele dele
Ela dela
Nós nosso[s] / nossa[s]
Vocês vosso[s] / vossa[s]¹
Eles seu[s] / sua[s] deles
Elas delas

Note: on the middle column, masculine adjectives/pronouns are to the left of the slash, with their feminine counterparts to the right

¹ If you found this website via Duolingo or another BP language learning software, please take note of how vosso[s]/vossa[s] is used as the possessive of vocês in EP (in BP, the third person seu[s]/sua[s] is used).

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Grammar Tips (#19): The Dance of Adjectives (or the before and after conundrum of adjective placement)

Adjective placement can be a tricky issue for many Portuguese learners; English speakers are generally used to finding adjectives before their referent nouns, but Portuguese works in reverse: the norm is to have adjectives follow nouns, with the exceptions being borne out of either poetic license or to capture a figurative meaning of a given adjective.

Hopefully the following rules will help clear out these issues for you!

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