4.1 the definitive article

As most languages, German for instance is an exception, in german exists a neutral gender as well, in Portugues we have only feminine and masculine. (Something actually very strange, because from a logical point of view things are neutral and living beings have a gender and this gender is a very important difference, it is astonishing that no language takes that into account. Even in german, where there is a neutral gender, most of the things are feminine or masculine.) The grammatical gender is arbitrary. Some people always wonder why the moon is feminine in Portuguese and the sun masculine, the book masculine and the table feminine. No need to dig there any further, it is just arbitrary.

Only in the case of living beeings we have a gender. That concerns professions, butcher, baker, engineer etc.., members of religious groups, catholics, protestants, moslems, hindus etc.., activities dancer, jogger, writer etc.. and so on. In this case we use the feminine article for feminine member(s) of these groups and the masculine article for the masculine member(s) and we have to distinguish between singular and plural.

masculine singularoo amigo the (boy) friend
feminine singularaa amiga the (girl) friend
masculine pluralosos amigos* the (boy) friends
feminine pluralasas amigas* the (girl) friends


* We have chosen in this chapter only examples where the plural is formed in a regular way, in other words simply by adding an s. Furthermore words ending in o are, except some few exception, masculine, words ending in a are feminine. See 8. the formation of the plural and the masculine and feminine forms.

singular plural sound meaning
o livro os livros the book => the books
a casa as casas the house => the houses
o aluno os alunos the pupil => the pupils (masc.)
a aluna as alunas the pupil => the pupils (fem.)
a faca as facas the knife => the knifes
o exemplo os exemplos the exemple => the exemples
o menino os meninos the boy => the boys
a menina as meninas the girl => the girls


Concerning the form there is no difference between the article and the personal pronoun accusative. (Something actually a little bit confusing.)

articlepronoun
othe he / him / it (subject / direct object mask. sing.)
athe she / her / it (subject / direct object fem. sing.)
osthethey / them (subject / direct object masc. plural)
asthethey / them (subject / direct object fem. plural)


We will discuss these issue later see 6.1.1 the unstressed personal pronouns.

article noun verb article noun sound
O menino come* o bolo.
The boy eats the apple.  
A menina o livro.
The girl reads the book  
Os meninos comen* os bolos.
The boys eat die the cake.  
As meninas comen* as cerejas.
The girls eat the cheries  
article noun pronoun verb  
O menino o come. *
The boy it eats.  
A menina o lê.
The girl it reads.  
Os meninos os comem. *
The boys them eats.  
As meninas as comem. *
The girls them eats  

* Right now we don't care about the conjugation of the verbs, we will do that later. However the conjugation of regular verbs, to which the verb ler = to read doesn't belong to, is easy. There are three types of verbs, those who en in -ar like falar, those who end in -e, like comer and those who end in -ir like partir. For a detailed description see 5. conjugation of the verbs in present.

Since we always need a verb in the conjugated form in order to make a sentence and since we need to make a little bit more complex sentences in order to explain something, we explain the conjugation briefly.

In order to conjugate a regular verb we leave out the endings of the infinitive forms -ar, -er, -er and to what is left we add the respective personal ending. The lê, he / she / it reads, is irregular. We don't care as well about the personal pronouns eu (I), tu (you), ele (he), ela (him) etc.. This is just a short introduction to the conjugation. No need to care about it at the moment.

Verb falar infinitive ends on -ar to speak
personal pronounconjugated verb ending English Audio
eu falo -o I speak
tu falas -as you speak
você* fala -a you speak
ele fala -a he speaks
ela fala -a she speaks
nós falamos -amos we speak
vocês falam -am you speak **
eles falam -am they speak (plural.masc.)
elas falam -am they speak (fem. masc.)

* The second person singular is in general not used in Brasilian portuguese and has been substituted by você. In other words, the distinction between tu, used in European Portuguese in more informal situations and higher intimacy, and você, something between informal and formal situation has vanished in Brasilian Portuguese. In really formal situation we use O senhor / A senhora on both sides of the Atlantic. For a more detailed discussion see 5.conjugation of the verbs in present.
** The plural form can be used on both sides of the atlantic in informal situations and less formal situations. In formal situations Os senhores / As senhores is used on both sides of the Atlantic.

Verb comer infinitive ends on-er to eat
personal pronoun conjugated verb ending English Audio
eu como -o I eat
tu comes -es you eat
você come -e you eat
ele come -e he eats
ela come -e she eats
nós comemos -emos we eat
vocês comem -em you eat
eles comem-em they eat (plur.masc.)
elas comem -em sie essen (plur.masc.)

Verb partir infinitive ends on-ir to leave
personal pronoun conjugated verb ending English Audio
eu parto -o I leave
tu partes -es you leave
você parte -e you leave
ele parte -e he leaves
ela parte -e she leaves
nós partimos -imos we leave
vocês partem -em you leave
eles partem -em they leave (plur.masc.)
elas partem -em they leave (plur.fem.)




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