Prepositions

1. General Overview

 

Prepositions are words which are used before a noun or pronoun to indicate their place, position, or time. Some verbs are also followed by prepositions. 

The preposition must always agree with the word that follows it. 

To use the right preposition it is important to know whether the word it relates to is a verb (with no gender) or whether it is a masculine, feminine, plural or singular noun.

Prepositions may not translate predictably between languages and lead to charming errors, but rarely misunderstandings.

 

2. Most frequently used prepositions

 

de of/from
em in/on/at
a to/for/at
para to/for
por for/by/through
com with

Remark: Keep in mind that some verbs like gostar/precisar (to like/to need) require a preposition in Portuguese, but not in English. 

 

Examples:

 

Ela gosta de dançar. She likes dancing.
Eu vou para casa. I go home.

3. Prepositions and the definite article

 

de + o/s – a/s do/s da/s of/from + the
em  + o/s – a/s no/s na/s in/on/at + the
a + o/s – a/s ao/s à/s to/for/at + the
para + o/s – a/s para o/s para a/s to/for + the
por + o/s – a/s pelo/s pela/s for/by/through + the
com + o/s – a/s com o/s com a/s with + the

Examples:

 

Eles moram no Brasil. They live in Brazil.
Obrigado pela informação. Thanks for the information.

4. Prepositions and the indefinite article

 

de + um/uma de um de uma of/from + a
em  + um/uma em um = num em uma = numa in/on/at + a
a + um/uma a um a uma to/for/at + a
para + um/uma para um para uma to/for + a
por + um/uma por um por uma for/by/through + a
com + um/uma com um com uma with + a

Remarks:  

 

  • Contractions dum/duma (de um/de uma) are rarely used in Brazil nowadays.
  • The contractions of prepositions and the indefinite article have a plural form, but they are rarely used.

 

Examples:

 

Ela trabalha num banco. She works in a bank.
Vamos a um barzinho depois. We are going to a pub later.

5. Prepositional Phrases

 

If a preposition has more than one word it is called a prepositional phrase. You have to memorize prepositional phrases.

Remember that some prepositions can vary in gender (do/da) or in number (dos/das) depending on the context.

 

antes de before
a partir de from…on
de acordo com according to
em vez de instead of
por causa de because of/due to

Examples:

 

A escola fica perto do banco. The school is close to the bank.
Quem é aquele senhor atrás de você? Who is that gentleman behind you?

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