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).

Brazilian PT
very informal and usually not conjugated right.
 can be used in any region, independent of formality.
European PT
 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
Subjunctive Mood
Brazil: Subjuntivo
Portugal: Conjuntivo

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:

Mudar X Trocar

Many people have asked me before: “what is the difference between the verb Mudar and the verb Trocar? ”

It will depend on the context. Mudar and Trocar, in most cases, are interchangeable, meaning only ‘to change‘ or ‘to switch‘. You can say:

1. Eu vou mudar/trocar de roupa. = I’m going to change clothes.
2. Eu mudei de ideia. = I changed my mind.
3. Troca de canal, por favor. = Switch the channel, please.

(Mudar/Trocar = To change / To switch)

But Mudar is also to move out:

1. Eu vou me mudar para outra cidade. = I’m going to move to another city.
(Mudar = To move out / To move house)

And Trocar is also to exchange:

1. Eu vou trocar o dinheiro. = I’m going to exchange the money.
2. Eu vou trocar o presente na loja. = I’m going to exchange the present in the shop.
(Trocar = To exchange)

I hope this information can help. If you want to say to change, say any of them. But meaning to move out, you say Mudar (follow the letter M). If you want to say to exchange, say Trocar.

The Best Songs for Learning Portuguese

Music is great for learning languages, when you have the right songs. If you have something too poetic, you won’t be learning useful vocabulary, so here I have selected a list of songs that can be accessed by a YouTube playlist (all videos containing lyrics) and songs that are only carrying essential vocabulary. They are all Brazilian songs, but they can be useful for European Portuguese students as well (in future I also expect to be posting a playlist for learning European PT).

I have organized these songs by verb tenses because they can be used by a Portuguese teacher as lesson resources.

Suggested Activities:

1. A great listening activity is to listen to the song and tick the keyword when you hear it. This will make you concentrate on the language sound and improve your listening skills. To print the activity you can download the PDF file clicking here.

2. Learn the keywords, then watch the videos with the lyrics and try to remember what the words mean.

3. After learning the keywords, try to learn all the lyrics and sing along this playlist everyday. This will help you to memorize words and also with listening and speaking skills.

(the playlist video is below the activity table)

YouTube Playlist: “Learn with Lyrics BR Portuguese”

Song Title
Verb Tenses
Eu e o Sabiá
Chitãozinho e Chororó
– Infinitivo
– Presente
– Imperativo
– Condicional (Futuro do Pretérito)
– Pretérito Perfeito Simples (PPS)
□ Sabiá = Brazilian bird (Rufous-bellied thrush)
□ Asas = Wings
□ Voar = To fly
□ Beleza = Beauty
□ Cantar = To Sing
□ Esquecer = To Forget
□ Dor = Pain
□ Forte = Strong
Pense em Mim
Leandro e Leonardo
Em vez de = Instead
Pensar = To Think
□ Chorar = To Cry
□ Ligar = To Call (telephone)
□ Lembrar = To Remember
Te amo = I love you
Felicidade = Happiness
Não Aprendi Dizer Adeus
Leandro e Leonardo
– Pretérito Perfeito Simples (PPS)
– Futuro Imediato
□ Aprender = To Learn
□ Dizer = To Say
□ Adeus = Goodbye (forever)
□ Saber = To Know
□ Olhar = To Look
□ Guardar = To Store,  To Put Away
□ Dor = Pain
□ Melhor = Better
□ Assim = Like this
□ Deixar = To Leave Behind / To Allow
□ Machucar  = To Hurt
□ Inverno = Winter
□ Nada = Nothing
Edson e Hudson
– Pretérito Perfeito Simples (PPS)
– Futuro Simples (Futuro do Presente)
□ Manhã = Morning
□ Encontrar = To meet
□ Doce = Sweet
□ Olhos Tristes – Sad eyes
□ Adorar = To like a lot
□ Amar = To love
□ Beijar = To Kiss
□ Estrela = Star
□ Sonhar = To Dream
□ Como = As, such as, like
Céu = Sky
Mar Azul = Blue Sea
□ Coração = Heart
□ Encher = To Fill
Por Te Amar Assim
Marlon e Maicon
– Presente Contínuo
– Futuro Simples (Futuro do Presente)
Ficar = To Stay
Dentro = Inside
Alma = Soul
Nunca = Never
□ Pegar = To catch
□ Jeito = Way, Manner
□ Grito = Shout
□ Garganta = Throat
□ Lado = Side
□ Esperar = To Wait
□ Assim = Like this
□ Felicidade = Happiness
□ Sonhar = To Dream
□ Desejar = To Wish
□ Boca = Mouth
□ Vento forte = Strong wind
Ôba, Lá vem ela
Jorge Ben Jor
– Presente
– Presente do Subjuntivo
□ Oba = Wow, That’s good!
□ Vir = To Come
□ Estar de Olho = To keep an eye on someone/something
□ Olhar = To Look
□ Linda = Beautiful
□ Mais ainda = Even more
Rosa = Pink / Rose
Pois = Because
Águas de Março
Tom Jobim
Bossa Nova
– Presente
– Presente Contínuo
Pau = Stick
Pedra = Stone
Vidro = Glass
□ Morte = Death
□ Madeira = Wood
□ Vento = Wind
□ Chuva = Rain
□ Águas de Março = Water of March
Pão = Bread
Caminho = Way, Path
Garrafa = Bottle
Cama = Bed
Lama = Mud
□ Sapo = Toad
□ Rã = Frog
□ Fechar = To Close
Verão = Summer
Garota de Ipanema
Tom Jobim
Bossa Nova
– Presente
– Imperativo
– Pretérito Imperfeito do Subjuntivo
□ Garota = Girl
□ Olhar = To Look
□ Coisa = Thing
Linda / Lindo = Beautiful
Graça = Grace, Fun
Menina = Girl
□ Moça =  Young Woman
□ Corpo Dourado = Golden Body
Sol = Sun
Por que = Why
Sozinho = Alone
Triste = Sad
Beleza = Beauty
□ Quando = When
□ Amor = Love
O Barquinho
Bossa Nova
– Presente
Dia de Luz = Bright Day
Festa de Sol = Sun Party
Barquinho = Little Boat
Mar = Sea
Verão = Summer
Sem Parar = Non-stop
Canção = Song
□ Beijar = To Kiss
□ Dias tão azuis = Very Blue Days
□ Voltar = To Return
□ Cantar = To Sing
□ Ilhas = Islands
□ Paz = Peace
A Banda
Chico Buarque
Marchinha de Carnaval
– Pretérito Imperfeito (PI)
– Pretérito Perfeito Simples (PPS)
□ Chamar = To Call (over)
□ Ver  = To See
□ Cantar = To Sing
□ Dinheiro = Money
□ Parar = To Stop
□ Namorada = Girlfriend
□ Estrelas = Stars
□ Ouvir = To Hear, To Listen
□ Moça = Sad Woman
□ Sorrir = To Smile
□ Meninada = Children (slang)
□ Gente = People
□ Despedir = To Say Goodbye
□ Dor = Pain
□ Velho Fraco = Weak Old Man
□ Sair = To Go Out
□ Moça Feia = Ugly Woman
□ Lua Cheia = Full Moon
□ Doce = Sweet
□ Acabar =  To Finish
A Casa
Vinicius de Moraes
– Pretérito Imperfeito (PI)
Engraçada = Funny
Teto = Ceiling, Roof
Nada = Nothing
□ Chão = Floor
□ Dormir = To Sleep
□ Rede = Hammock
□ Parede = Wall
□ Fazer Pipi = To Take a Pee
Bobos = Fools

If you can’t see the video, use this link:


My name is Ian, I was born in Brazil (yes, although not very Brazilian, Ian is my real name!) and I currently live in the UK.  For the last 7 years I have been working with languages, teaching, translating and interpreting. I finally decided to build a Blog where all Portuguese learners in the world can have access to unique language resources that I have been developing. I hope you will find this beneficial to you.

For Portuguese lessons (1 to 1 or groups) in Liverpool (UK) or by Skype, please contact me.