5-Minute Portuguese

7 common pitfalls in Portuguese grammar

Grammar is always tough, but it doesn't have to be. We've prepared the seven most common traps that you can fall into while learning Portuguese. Write them down and avoid making such mistakes again. Let's get started!


Mistake: confusing the verbs "ser" and "estar," which both translate to "to be" in English, but have distinct uses in Portuguese.
"Ele é triste" (He is sad) vs. "Ele está triste" (He is feeling sad). In this case, "ser" used in the first sentence implies a permanent or inherent characteristic, while "estar" used in the second sentence indicates a temporary state or condition.

Pronoun placement

Mistake: incorrect placement of object pronouns in relation to verbs.
For example, "Eu vejo ele" (I see him) instead of "Eu o vejo."

In Portuguese, object pronouns usually come before the verb, so the correct form is "Eu o vejo" (I see him).


Mistake: misusing prepositions or omitting them when necessary.
For instance, "Eu estou trabalhando na casa" (I am working in the house).

The correct preposition here is "em," so the sentence should be "Eu estou trabalhando em casa" (I am working at home).

Verb conjugation

Mistake: incorrect conjugation of irregular verbs.
For example, "Eu fui para a praia ontem" (I went to the beach yesterday) instead of "Eu fui à praia ontem."

The verb "ir" (to go) is irregular in the past tense, so it should be conjugated as "fui" and combined with the preposition "a" (to) to form "à."


Mistake: incorrectly forming plurals of nouns and adjectives.
"Os casa" (the houses) instead of "as casas" (the houses).

The plural form of "casa" (house) is "casas," and it requires the feminine plural article "as."

Gender and agreement

Mistake: failing to match nouns with the appropriate gender or failing to make agreement between nouns and adjectives.
For instance, "A menino feliz" (The happy boy) instead of "O menino feliz" (The happy boy). The article "a" and the adjective "feliz" should agree in gender with the masculine noun "menino."


Mistake: omitting or misplacing accent marks.
For instance, "ele esta" (He is) instead of "ele está" (He is).

The verb "estar" (to be) requires an accent mark on the final "a" to indicate the correct pronunciation and differentiate it from the preposition "esta."

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