A pronoun is used to replace a noun. Sometimes it is also used to avoid repetition.
In Portuguese there are six types of pronouns (personal, possessive, demonstrative, relative, interrogative and indefinite pronouns).
There are five types of personal pronouns in Portuguese: subject, reflexive, prepositional, direct and indirect object pronouns.
The subject pronouns are probably the most frequently used pronouns.
|você = tu||you|
|o senhor/a senhora||you (mark of respect)|
|nós = a gente||we|
- Você and tu(you) have the same meaning in Brazil, but você is more frequently used than tuthroughout Brazil. In most regions tu is rarely heard. Use você because it is easier. Tu introduces a new verb form.
- Você (you) is informal and it is widely used in almost any situation while o senhor/a senhora (you) is more formal and it is used as a mark of respect, normally when addressing to older people (including parents), important people or people you do not know, but mainly in really formal situations.
- A gente (we) is a colloquial form and it is usually used in the spoken language instead of nós (we). Even though it means we, it is a singular form and therefore followed by a singular verb.
- In Portuguese there is also the female plural form of elas (they), which is used only to replace feminine nouns (women/animal/things).
|Você fuma?||Do you smoke?|
|O senhor mora aqui?||Do you live here? (mark of respect)|
In Portuguese there are reflexive verbs like sentar-se (to sit down) which are followed by the reflexive pronoun se (oneself) in the infinitive form. A verb is reflexive when the action refers back to the subject. If the action is reciprocal and it refers to two or more people, the reflexive pronoun can be translated as each other.
A reflexive verb in Portuguese is not always reflexive in English. For this reason, it appears strange in the beginning.
In Brazil, the placement of reflexive pronouns before the verb is very common in the spoken and also in the written language.
Tip: Always put the reflexive pronoun before the verb. This avoids learning any complicated rules.
|Eu não me lembro.||I (myself) do not remember.|
|A gente se conheceu no Brasil.||We met each other in Brazil.|
Prepositional pronouns are pronouns used in conjunction with prepositions. Sometimes prepositional pronouns are contractions of the pronoun and preposition.
|você/si/consigo = tu/ti/contigo||you/with you|
|o senhor/a senhora||you|
Remark: Prepositional pronouns (si/consigo) are normally used only in the written form.
|Você se lembra de mim?||Do you remember me?|
|Eu ligo para você mais tarde.||I will call you later.|
A direct object pronoun is normally used to replace a direct object in a sentence in order to avoid repetition. A direct object can be a noun (person or thing).
The direct object pronoun is normally not used correctly in spoken form while in the written form (newspapers/magazines) it is used correctly.
In Brazil, the placement of direct object pronoun before the verb is usual.
Tip: Always put the direct object pronoun before the verb. This avoids learning any complicated rules.
|o, a, lo, la = te||you|
|o, a, lo, la||him/her/it|
|nos = a gente||us|
|os, as, los, las||you|
|os, as, los, las||them|
- Lo(s)/la(s) are used after the infinitive form.
- There are two more direct object pronouns (no(s)/na(s), but they are rarely used.
|Eu não te/o conheço.||I don't know you.|
|Prazer em conhecê-lo.||It is a pleasure to meet you.|
|É um prazer te conhecer.||It is a pleasure to meet you.|
Remark: Even though the direct object pronoun te (you) refers to the subject pronoun tu (you), it is widely used when referring to the subject pronoun você (you) instead of the direct object pronoun o/a (you). Its use is easier and acceptable in the colloquial form.
An indirect object pronoun is normally used to replace a indirect object in a sentence in order to avoid repetition. An indirect object can be a noun (person).
In Brazil, the placement of indirect object pronoun before the verb is usual.
Tip: Always put the indirect object pronoun before the verb. This avoids learning any complicated rules.
|me = para mim||me – to/for me|
|lhe = te = para você||you – to/for you|
|lhe = para o senhor/para a senhora||you – to/for you|
|lhe = para ele/ela||him – to/for him/her|
|nos = para nós||us – to/for us|
|lhes = para vocês||you – to/for you|
|lhes = para eles/elas||them – to/for them|
|Você pode me fazer um favor?||Can you do me a favor?|
|Você pode fazer um favor para mim?||Can you do a favor for me?|
|Ele lhe/te deu o recado?||Did he give you the message?|
|Ele deu o recado para você?||Did he give the message to you?|
Remark: Even though the indirect object pronoun te (you) refers to the subject pronoun tu (you), it is widely used when referring to the subject pronoun você (you) instead of the indirect object pronoun lhe (you). Its use is easier and acceptable in the colloquial form.
Possessive pronouns are used to show ownership. In Portuguese, possessive pronouns can be either masculine or feminine, singular or plural.
|seu/s = teu/s||sua/s = tua/s||your/yours|
|do senhor = seu/s||da senhora = seu/s||your/yours|
|dele = seu/s||dela = sua/s||his/his/her/hers/its|
|da gente||da gente||our/ours|
|seu/s = de vocês||sua/s = de vocês||your/yours|
|dele/s = seu/s||dela/s = sua/s||their/theirs|
Remark: In Portuguese, parts of the body are usually used with the definite article, not with the possessive pronoun. Example: Ele quebrou o braço. (He broke his arm.).
|Qual é o nome dele?||What is his name?|
|(O) meu livro é novo. E o seu?||My book is new. And yours?|
Demonstrative or adjectives pronouns are used to point out a thing or person specifically.
In Portuguese, demonstrative pronouns can be either masculine, feminine or neither masculine or feminine.
- Este(s)/esta(s)/isto (this) normally followed by aqui (here) are used to point out things or people close to the speaker.
- Esse(s)/essa(s)/isso (this) normally followed by aí (there with you) are used to point out things or people close to the person the speaker is talking to.
- Aquele(s)/aquela(s)/aquilo (that) normally followed by ali/lá (there/over there) are used to point out things or people far from the speaker and the person the speaker is talking to.
- Demonstrative pronouns can be contracted with the preposition em and de.
|Este livro é seu?||Is this book yours?|
|O que é isto?||What is this?|
|Você também mora neste prédio?||Do you also live in this building?|
|Ele não trabalha mais naquela empresa.||He no longer works in that company.|
|Não gosto desta música.||I don't like this music.|
|O que você acha deste vinho?||What do you think of this wine?|
A relative pronoun is used to refer back to an earlier noun or pronoun.
|que||o/a qual||os/as quais||which/that|
|onde||no/na qual||nos/nas quais||where|
|de quem||do/da qual||dos/das quais||of whom|
- Que (which) is the most frequently used relative pronoun.
- Quem (whom) is always preceded by a preposition (de/com/para/a, etc.).
- Qual/quais (which) preceded by the definite article or a preposition can also be used as a relative pronoun, but its use is rare and more complicated.
- Cujo(s)/cuja(s) (whose) show ownership and they always match the following noun, but are rarely used.
|Onde está o livro que/o qual comprei?||Where is the book which I have bought?|
|Esta é a casa onde/na qual ele mora.||This is the house where he lives.|
Interrogative pronouns and some adverbs are commonly used to make questions.
|que, o que||what|
|de que, em que, para que||what about, what about, what for|
|com quem, de quem, em quem, para quem||with whom. about whom, in whom, to whom|
|onde, de onde, para onde||where, from where, to where|
|quanto(s), quanta(s)||how much, how many|
- Sometimes que and qual have the same meaning in English and are usually confused. Que is always followed by a noun while qual is not. Qual usually implies a choice.
- Question words using que (o que, por que, etc.) have a circumflex accent if they stand alone at the end of a sentence. Example: Não sei. Por quê? (I don't know. Why?)
|Como/Qual é seu nome?||What is your name?|
|De onde ele é?||Where is he from?|
Indefinite pronouns and adjectives are words used to refer to people or things non-specifically rather than specifically.
|alguém > ninguém||somebody/anybody > nobody/no one|
|algum/alguns > nenhum||some/any > none (male)|
|alguma(s) > nenhuma||some/any > none (female)|
|alguma coisa/algo > nada||something/anything > nothing/anything|
|cada (um/uma)||every/each (one)|
|mais >menos||more > less|
|muito/muita > pouco/pouca||much > little|
|muitos/muitas > poucos/poucas||many > few|
|qualquer, qualquer um/uma||any, any one/either one|
Remark: There are nouns that are countable in English, but uncountable in Portuguese. Example: muito dinheiro (a lot of money), muita gente (a lot of people).
|Alguém me telefonou?||Has anyone called me?|
|Vocês entenderam tudo?||Did you understand everything?|