All About Portuguese Pronouns
Hello people! Today we are going to learn everything we can about Portuguese Pronouns. Pronouns are words that we use to avoid repetition or to replace a noun. There are 6 types of pronouns in Portuguese:
Now let’s check them one by one!
Portuguese Personal Pronouns
There are several types of personal pronouns in Portuguese. Seems like a lot? Don’t worry, you’ll get it! The important thing to remember is that personal pronouns replace proper nouns — usually the name of people. They are divided into subject, reflexive, prepositional, direct or indirect object pronouns.
|Você = tu||you|
|Ele / ela||he / she / it|
|Nós = a gente||we|
As you can see we have two pronouns to refer to ‘you’: você and tu. In Portugal, they are used differently as formal (você) and informal (tu) forms, each with different conjugations. In Brazil, however, tu is rarely used, and most Brazilians will even conjugate it incorrectly when speaking. To learn more about them, see our Dica about Tu and Você.
We also have two pronouns for ‘we’: nós and a gente. Nós is more formal while a gente is informal. And it’s important to remember that they’re conjugated differently! When using nós, you need to conjugate the verb for the plural form whereas a gente uses the singular form.
Another particularity of the Portuguese language is what we call ‘treatment personal pronouns‘. Those are pronouns used to address people directly. Thus, they vary with context — from the prince to the president to your best friend and neighbor.
The most common Brazilian Portuguese pronouns of this type are você, senhor (sir/mister) and senhora (madame/missus). Senhor and senhora are generally used to address older people, or as a way to show more respect. In some instances, when speaking more informally, you may even hear senhor being shortened as seu.
If you want to know more about subject pronouns, and maybe hear how they sound in Portuguese, why not check out our Dica about Portuguese personal pronouns?
Examples with Subject Pronouns
A gente quer aprender Português no Rio.
We want to learn Portuguese in Rio.
O senhor quer um copo de água?
Do you want a glass of water?
In Portuguese we have reflexive verbs and reflexive pronouns. A verb is reflexive when the subject that performs the action is impacted by the action as well. Reflexive pronouns, therefore, indicate one’s ‘self’:
|Se (singular)||yourself / himself / herself|
|Nos||ourselves / each other|
|Se (plural)||yourselves / themselves / each other|
When using a reflexive pronoun, it’s better to put it before the verb. Putting it after the verb makes you sound more formal. Which is another way of saying that it makes you sound less carioca.
You can read more about reflexive pronouns here.
Examples with Reflexive Pronouns
Hoje eu me diverti muito na aula.
Today I had a lot of fun in the class.
Nós nos conhecemos no Rio.
We met each other in Rio.
Prepositional pronouns are pronouns that are used with prepositions.
|mim / comigo||me / with me|
|você / si / consigo = tu / ti / contigo||you / with you|
|com ele / ela||him / her|
|com a gente / conosco||with us|
|com eles / com elas||them|
You may have noticed that the table above focuses on the prepositional pronouns used with the preposition com. That is because with the exception of the first person singular, all other prepositional pronouns are the same as the subject personal pronouns. So you can say, for example, de nós, para ela, and por você. There are, however, some contractions you should be mindful of:
|de + ele||dele|
|de + ela||dela|
|de + a gente||da gente|
|em + ele||nele|
|em + ela||nela|
|em + a gente||na gente|
|para + a gente||pra gente|
|por + a gente||pela gente|
It’s also important to note that si and consigo are more used in the written form. In other words, they are more formal.
Examples with Prepositional Pronouns
Tudo bem contigo?
Everything is fine with you?
Você quer ir na festa comigo?
Do you want to go to the party with me?
Eu não confio em você.
I don’t trust you.
O João gosta dela?
Does João like her?
Você faria isso pela gente?
Would you do this for us?
Direct Object Pronouns
The idea of Portuguese object pronouns is quite simple: these pronouns replace the object in a sentence. An object is the thing that is affected by the verb. And when we talk about direct objects, it means they need no preposition to connect to the verb in question (ex: I saw her).
|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|
Important! los and las are used after the infinitive form of a verb! Also, there are two more direct object pronouns no(s) and na(s), but those are rarely used.
Brazilians rarely use direct object pronouns when speaking. Most opt for subject personal pronouns, instead. Despite it being grammatically incorrect, it’s become widely accepted and common to do so. So unless you plan on writing essays in Portuguese, you can probably forget they even exist.
In case you want your Portuguese to be spot on and proper, you can read up some more on object pronouns.
Examples with Direct Object Pronouns
Eu o vi ontem na rua.
I saw him yesterday on the street.
Foi um prazer conhecê-lo.
It was a pleasure to meet you.
Indirect Object Pronouns
As you can probably guess after reading the last entry, these pronouns replace indirect objects. Indirect objects are objects that need a preposition in order to link to the verb in the sentence (ex: I think of you).
|me = para mim||me – to/for me|
|lhe = te = para você||you – to/for you|
|lhe = para ele/para ela||him – to/for him/her|
|nos = para nós||us – to/for us|
|lhes = para vocês||you – to/for you|
|lhes = para eles/para elas||them – to/for them|
Once again, it’s very rare for you to hear these pronouns anywhere – with the exception of te and me. You’re more likely to find them in novels and books than amongst the words spoken by Brazilians around the streets of Rio.
Examples with Indirect Object Pronouns
Ele pode te fazer um favor?
Can he do you a favor?
Elas me deram o recado.
They gave me the message.
Possessive Portuguese Pronouns
Possessive pronouns in Portuguese indicate ownership of something. Depending on what is owned, the pronoun can be masculine or feminine, singular or plural.
|meu(s) / minha(s)||mine|
|seu(s) / sua(s) = teu(s) / tua(s)||yours|
|dele = seu(s) / dela = sua(s)||his / his / her /hers / its|
|da gente = nosso(s)||our / ours|
|seu(s) = de vocês||your / yours|
|dele(s) = seu(s)||their / theirs|
Pay attention to the third person pronouns! Dele will always refer to something that belongs to a male, and dela to a female. However, seu(s) and sua(s) will vary according to the thing that is owned and not to its owner! That is, to say ‘his grandma’ in Portuguese could be the same as saying ‘her grandma’: sua avó.
You can learn more about possessive pronouns by clicking here.
Examples with Possessive Pronouns
Qual é o seu nome?
What is your name?
Esta caneta é deles.
This pen is theirs.
Demonstrative pronouns are used to point at things. They can be feminine, masculine or neutral. But keep in mind that the neutral form can never be used in the plural! Demonstrative pronouns in Portuguese can also be contracted (i.e. shortened) when used with the prepositions em and de.
To learn more about them you can also check out this Dica with exercises: Demonstrative Pronouns.
Examples with Demonstrative Pronouns
O que foi aquilo, Diogo?
What was that, Diogo?
Esta garrafa aqui é minha.
This bottle here is mine.
Relative Portuguese Pronouns
Relative pronouns 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|
Examples with Relative Pronouns
Onde está o celular dele?
Where is his phone?
Este é o livro que eu te falei.
This is the book that I told you about.
Here’s an interrogative Portuguese pronouns list and some adverbs often 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|
As you can see, these pronouns overlap with some of the most common Portuguese question words.
Examples with Interrogative Pronouns
De onde você é?
Where are you from?
Quando ela vai chegar?
When will she arrive?
Indefinite Pronouns in Portuguese
And, finally, indefinite pronouns refer to people or things that aren’t specific.
|alguém > ninguém||somebody > nobody|
|algum(ns) > nenhum||some/any > none (masculine form)|
|alguma(s) > nenhuma||some/any > none (feminine form)|
|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/a||any, any one/either one|
Be careful, though! Some countable nouns in English are uncountable in Portuguese. If you’d like to practice the specifically then you can check out our Dica for indefinite pronouns in Portuguese.
Examples with Indefinite Portuguese Pronouns
Você conhece alguém que tenha feito o CELPE-Bras?
Do you know anyone who did the CELPE-Bras exam?
Eu sinto tanta saudade…
I miss you so much.
Complete the dialogues with the correct pronouns:
– Licença. O _____ sabe onde fica a estação Cinelândia?
– Sei, sim. _____ tá vendo _____ rua ali?
– _____? Ali no palácio?
– Essa mesma. Segue por lá e vira na primeira esquerda.
– _____ sabe onde tá o _____ vestido vermelho?
– _____? _____ com decote?
– É. Eu não ___ acho.
– Eu pensei que você tinha ___ emprestado para a Mônica.
– Que? Eu não emprestei nada para _____.
– Ela foi numa festa _____ e tava usando um vestido igual.
– Bem que _____ veio aqui semana passada.
– Eu _____ disse que ela roubava as coisas dos outros.
– Não pensei que ela fosse _____ roubar! E _____ vestido é ainda por cima o _____ favorito!
– Perdeu, amiga. Já era.
WOW! We learned a lot today about Portuguese pronouns, right? Hopefully this cleared up all your questions!
See you in the next Dica!
– Licença. O senhor sabe onde fica a estação Cinelândia?
– Sei, sim. Você tá vendo aquela rua ali?
– Onde? Ali no palácio?
– Essa mesma. Segue por lá e vira na primeira esquerda.
– Você sabe onde tá o meu vestido vermelho?
– Qual? Aquele com decote?
– É. Eu não o acho.
– Eu pensei que você tinha o emprestado para a Mônica.
– Que? Eu não emprestei nada para ela.
– Ela foi numa festa comigo e tava usando um vestido igual.
– Bem que ela veio aqui semana passada.
– Eu te disse que ela roubava as coisas dos outros.
– Não pensei que ela fosse me roubar! E aquele vestido é ainda por cima o meu favorito!
– Perdeu, amiga. Já era.