Agreement in Portuguese: A Comprehensive Guide
Anyone who has studied Portuguese for a while knows that one of the most challenging aspects of the language is agreement. Nouns, verbs, adjectives, and pronouns must all agree in gender and number, and there are countless rules to memorize.
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of agreement in Portuguese, including the importance of gender and number, the different types of agreement, and some common pitfalls to avoid.
Gender and Number
In Portuguese, every noun is either masculine or feminine, and every verb, adjective, and pronoun must agree with the noun it refers to in gender and number. For example, the noun “casa” (house) is feminine, so we use the feminine article “a” (the) and feminine adjectives like “bonita” (pretty) or “grande” (big) to describe it. If the noun were masculine, we would use the masculine article “o” and masculine adjectives, like “bom” (good) or “pequeno” (small).
Number is also important in agreement. If a noun is singular, its articles and adjectives must be in the singular form, while plural nouns require plural forms. For example, “casa” (house) is singular, while “casas” (houses) is plural, so we would use “as” (the) for the plural feminine article and “bonitas” or “grandes” for feminine plural adjectives.
Types of Agreement
There are several types of agreement in Portuguese, including article agreement, adjective agreement, verb agreement, and pronoun agreement. Here are some examples of each:
– Article agreement: “A casa é bonita” (The house is pretty). In this sentence, the article “a” agrees with the feminine noun “casa.”
– Adjective agreement: “As casas são bonitas” (The houses are pretty). In this sentence, the adjective “bonitas” agrees with the plural feminine noun “casas.”
– Verb agreement: “Eu falo português” (I speak Portuguese). In this sentence, the verb “falo” agrees with the first person singular subject “eu.”
– Pronoun agreement: “Ela gosta de livros” (She likes books). In this sentence, the feminine pronoun “ela” agrees with the feminine noun “livros.”
Despite the many rules and exceptions, there are a few common pitfalls to be aware of when it comes to agreement in Portuguese. Here are a few:
– Irregular nouns: Some nouns have irregular gender, like “mão” (hand) or “coração” (heart), which are both feminine. Similarly, some nouns have irregular plurals, like “pão” (bread), which becomes “pães” (breads) in the plural.
– False cognates: Some adjectives in Portuguese look similar to their English counterparts but have different gender or number endings. For example, “simpático” (nice) is masculine, while “simpática” is feminine.
– Verb tenses: Portuguese has several verb tenses that require different agreement forms, so it’s important to use the correct form for each tense. For example, “eu falei” (I spoke) requires a different verb form than “eu falo” (I speak).
In conclusion, agreement in Portuguese is a complex but essential aspect of the language. By understanding the importance of gender and number, learning the different types of agreement, and avoiding common pitfalls, you can improve your Portuguese fluency and communication skills.