Portuguese Language Tips: Contractions


Portuguese Language TipsMastering the finer points of Portuguese 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 the Portuguese language. 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 words for the prepositions to, at, and on are often used with the definite article, the.  The following examples will clarify how the contractions are formed and used.

1. The English to + the in Portuguese is a + o.  In our example, the resulting contraction is: ao

Here it is in a sentence: Eu vou ao mercado. (“I will go to the market.”)

2. The English to + the can also be expressed in Portuguese as a + a, resulting in this contraction:  à

For example: Ela vai  à festa. (“She will go to the party.”)

3. The English on + the translated to Portuguese is a + os, which combines to form this contraction: aos

Look at this sample sentence:  Ela visita a sua amiga aos domingos. (“She visits her friend on Sundays.” )

4. The English at + the in Portuguese is a + as, and creates the contraction:   às

Used in a sentence, we say: Ela regressa às 7:30 da tarde. (“She will arrive this afternoon at 7:30.”)

Study the following examples:
Ela sai da escola às 3 da tarde.
Ele vai ao mercado todos os dias.
Eu só vou ao mercado uma vez por semana.
Tu estudas aos fins de semana.

The differences are subtle, but study the examples and see if you can create your own sentences using these contractions.

Boa Sorte!

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