Posted on July 3, 2015
Grammar differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese
There are a lot of vocabulary and pronunciation differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese. But how about grammar? Here are the main differences:
1. Presente Contínuo (Present Continuous):
Brazilian: Eu estou falando. = I am speaking with you.
European: Eu estou a falar. = I am speaking with you.
Similar to English, Brazilian PT uses the gerund (ING = NDO). European PT uses a + infinitive to express continuity. This is the colloquial way. Brazilians could also use the European way, but that would be common only in poetry and in literature. The same for European PT natives, some songs will present the gerund for a more ‘poetic’ effect, but it’s not common in their everyday language.
2. Pronomes Pessoais (Personal Pronouns):
In Portugal the most common way of saying ‘you‘ is ‘tu‘. In Brazil, in most regions ‘você‘ is used, while ‘tu‘ is very informal and usually conjugated wrongly (e.g. tu fala instead tu falas).
Tu: very informal and usually not conjugated right.
Você: can be used in any region, independent of formality.
Tu: used for family and friends (tip: use with people that look younger than you or that you know well)
Você: used formally and in advertising (tip: use with people that look older than you or that you don’t know well)
Along with these personal pronouns, there are other variations:
– Consigo = With you (formal, used only in Portugal)
– Com você = With you (used only in Brazil)
– Contigo = With you (informal, used in both countries)
– Conosco = With us (in Brazil it is spelled with a single N)
– Connosco = With us (in Portugal it is spelled with double N)
3. Country Gender
In Brazil, most countries finishing with the letter A are considered feminine.
1. Ele é da Espanha.
2. Ele é da Inglaterra.
3. Ele é da Itália.
So we have: a Espanha, a Inglaterra, a Itália, a Suíça, a Alemanha, a Argentina, among others.
Usually, countries that do not finish with the letter A are masculine:
1. Ele é do Brasil.
2. Ele é do Uruguai.
3. Ele é dos Estados Unidos.
Only a few countries are non-gender, or neutral, such as:
1. Ele é de Portugal.
2. Ele é de Angola.
3. Ele é de Moçambique.
4. Ele é de Cuba.
Apart from these neutral cases, the rule seems easy to understand and to apply. But for European Portuguese, things are different!
In European PT, almost all countries are neutral. Such as:
1. Ele é de Inglaterra.
2. Ele é de Espanha.
3. Ele é de Itália.
A few countries are masculine:
1. Ele é do Brasil.
2. Ele é do Japão.
And a few countries are feminine:
1. Ele é da Alemanha.
2. Ele é da Bélgica.
Tip: if you are learning European Portuguese, just stick with the neutral prepositions (de, em) for everything and you will be understood.
4. Colocação Pronominal (Pronoun Positioning)
This case is related to positioning pronouns, such as:
Eu me chamo João. = My name is John.
Eu chamo-me João. = My name is John.
There are many rules to indicate when the pronoun should come before or when it should come after. Brazilian PT only follow these rules in formal writing. Colloquially, the pronoun comes always before. Although comprehensible, It would sound very weird for a Brazilian native to hear someone saying “Eu chamo-me João”, while this is common in Portugal.
Tip: If you are learning Brazilian PT, use pronouns always before the verb. If you are learning European PT, your life will be a little bit more complicated, but try to stick to only a few rules such as: não, nunca and já. When you need to say these three words, put the pronoun before the verb, otherwise, put it after.
5. Terminology in Verb Tenses and Grammar
This can be useful for teachers and for students that need to search for questions related to verb tenses.
Future Tense (e.g. Eu falarei)
Brazil: Futuro do Presente
Portugal: Futuro Imperfeito
Compound Future Tense (e.g. Eu terei falado)
Brazil: Futuro do Presente Composto
Portugal: Futuro Perfeito
Conditional Tense (e.g. Eu falaria)
Brazil: Futuro do Pretérito
Portugal: Condicional Presente
Compound Conditional Tense (e.g. Eu teria falado)
Brazil: Futuro do Pretérito Composto
Portugal: Condicional Pretérito
Personal Infinitive (e.g. Para falarmos)
Brazil: Infinitivo Pessoal
Portugal: Infinitivo Pessoal Presente
Compound Personal Infinitive (e.g. Para termos falado)
Brazil: Infinitivo Pessoal Composto
Portugal: Infinitivo Pessoal Pretérito
Finally, there are other grammar differences, but these ones are the main ones. Soon I will write a post concerning the different verbs that we use in Brazilian PT and in European PT.
For more information about the differences between Brazilian and European Portuguese, visit: