Mastering the finer points of grammar will have you sounding more natural and accomplished no matter what your current skill level is. Indeed, your language learning success depends on paying attention to the details. Contractions are an important detail because they occur so frequently in Portuguese. As you know from English usage, contractions are formed when two words combine to create a single new word. Let’s look at four significant combinations closely.
The Portuguese word for the preposition of is often used with the definite article, the.
The following examples will clarify how the contractions are formed and used:
1. The English of + the in Portuguese is de + o. The resulting contraction is: do
Here it is used in a sentence: Eu gosto do livro. (I like the book.)
2. The English of + the can also be expressed in Portuguese as de + a, resulting in this contraction: da (a casa da Maria = Mary’s house)
For example: Ela está em casa da Maria. (She is at Mary’s house.)
3. The English of + the can also be expressed in Portuguese as de + os, which combines to form this contraction: dos
Look at this sample sentence: Ela gosta dos seus primos. (She likes her cousins. )
4. The English of + the in Portuguese can be de + as, and creates the contraction: das
Used in a sentence, we say: Ela gosta das suas primas. (She likes her cousins.) (female cousins)
The differences are subtle, but study the examples and see if you can create your own sentences using these contractions.