Nouns are words for naming persons, things, places and animals.
In Portuguese, a noun can be either masculine or feminine in gender and singular or plural in number.
It is very important to know the gender, otherwise you will not be able to speak the language correctly. The best way to learn the gender of a noun is to memorize it with its definite article.
In general nouns ending in –o as in carro (car) or nouns referring to male persons like amigo (male friend) or animals like gato (male cat) are masculine, and nouns ending in –a as in casa (house) or nouns referring to female persons like amiga (female friend) or animals like gata (female cat) are feminine.
|o amigo||a amiga||the male/female friend|
|o espanhol||a espanhola||the Spanish guy/lady|
|o professor||a professora||the male/female teacher|
|o inglês||a inglesa||the English guy/lady|
|o alemão||a alemã||the German guy/lady|
|o pai||a mãe||the father/mother|
|o/a colega||the male/female colleague|
|o/a chefe||the male/female boss|
|o/a repórter||the male/female reporter|
|a criança||the child|
|a cobra||the snake|
In general nouns ending in –o are masculine, but there are also other endings which indicate a noun is masculine. Even though there are some exceptions, in general most of the words with these endings are masculine.
|o sofá||the sofa|
|o restaurante||the restaurant|
|o hotel||the hotel|
|o bar||the bar|
|o trem||the train|
|o cinema||the cinema|
|o problema||the problem|
|o programa||the program|
|o dia||the day|
|o mapa||the map|
|o samba||the samba|
In general nouns ending in –a are feminine, but there are also other endings which indicate a noun is feminine.
|a cidade||the city|
|a viagem||the trip|
|a lição||the lesson|
|a mansão||the mansion|
|a confusão||the confusion|
|a sessão||the session|
|a razão||the reason|
Exception: o coração (heart)
Nouns can be singular or plural. Generally, you just add –s to make the plural form. However, there are also some useful rules which should be followed in order to be structurally accurate.
|a casa||as casas||the house/houses|
|o jardim||os jardins||the garden/gardens|
|o hospital||os hospitais||the hospital/hospitals|
|o fóssil||os fósseis||the fossil/fossils|
|o barril||os barris||the barrel/barrels|
|o mês||os meses||the month/months|
|a lição||as lições||the lesson/lessons|
|o pão||os pães||the bread/loaves of bread|
|o limão||os limões||the lemon/lemons|
|a mão||as mãos||the hand/hands|
Exception: o/os lápis (pencil), ônibus (bus), etc.
In Portuguese there are suffixes which can change the size of a noun.
The diminutive is frequently used in Brazil. It is usually used to show a small version of something, but depending on the context, it is also used for emphasizing, expressing affection, irony and even in idiomatic expressions. It is particularly used usually when one talks to small children or refers to their things.
The most common diminutive suffixes are –inho/inha and –zinho/zinha.
Diminutive suffixes can also be used with adjectives and adverbs.
|a mesa||a mesinha||the small table|
|o café||o cafezinho||the small coffee|
|um pouco||um pouquinho||a little bit|
The augmentative is less used than the diminutive and very seldom used in the plural form. It is usually used to show a large version of something, but sometimes it can also be used for emphasizing, expressing admiration or scorn.
The most common augmentative suffixes used in colloquial Portuguese are –ão/zão and –ona/zona.
Augmentative suffixes can also be used with adjectives.
|um carro||um carrão||a car, a big car|
|uma mesa||uma mesona||a table, a big table|