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Learning Portuguese – Key Verbs

When someone decides to learn Portuguese, a complex process begins in which many important decisions are made! Usually, one of the first decisions made by students of Portuguese is to buy a Portuguese language learning-teaching manual.

When opening the Portuguese textbook for the first time, the student immediately asks himself an important question. Where to start? Is it necessary to memorize all this information? Do I have to memorize all the verb tables? Do I have to focus on the prepositions? What about numbers, are they essential? Cardinal or ordinal? What about sounds, should I memorize the rules that explain each sound? And articles, when to use them? The doubts are many and without an (experienced) teacher it is very difficult to define a route that will lead you to success.

There are several CRUCIAL elements to learn in the Portuguese language. In this article we will talk about just one: verbs which, in our opinion, are essential! Come along with us!

KEY VERBS IN PORTUGUESE

Let’s start with the verb tenses in Portuguese. There are many in the Portuguese language, but an A1 level student (beginner) should ALWAYS start with the present tense.

REGULAR VERBS AND IRREGULAR VERBS IN PORTUGUESE

It is fundamental to know what distinguishes a regular verb from an irregular verb in the Portuguese language. Regular verbs are those that are always conjugated in the same way. The endings we use are always the same. Thus, all students who know how to conjugate a regular verb, necessarily know how to conjugate all regular verbs.

REGULAR VERBS IN THE PRESENT TENSE

In the PRESENT TENSE there are three types of regular verbs:

Verbs ending in -AR. Examples: trabalhar (to work), morar (to live), estudar (to study), comprar (to buy)

ESTUDAR (to study)

  • EU ESTUDO
  • TU ESTUDAS
  • ELE ESTUDA
  • NÓS ESTUDAMOS
  • ELES ESTUDAMOS

Verbs ending in -ER. Examples: Comer (to work), Beber (to drink)

COMER (to drink)

  • EU COMO
  • TU COMES
  • ELE COME
  • NÓS COMEMOS
  • ELES COMEM

Verbs ending in -IR. Example: Partir (to break)

PARTIR (to break)

  • EU PARTO
  • TU PARTES
  • ELE PARTE
  • NÓS PARTIMOS
  • ELES PARTEM

IRREGULAR VERBS IN THE PRESENT TENSE

In the Portuguese language we have a long list of irregular verbs in the present tense. Should an A1 level student memorize all of them? In our opinion, the answer is no, students of Portuguese should not try to memorize all irregular verbs. There are however 4 verbs that every student should know as soon as possible. We are talking about the verbs SER, ESTAR, TER and IR. All other irregular verbs should be learned with exposure to the language. Students need to start communicating regularly. Slowly they will consolidate the conjugations more or less naturally. Now let’s look at the conjugation of the 4 essential verbs!

SER (to BE)

  • EU SOU
  • TU ÉS
  • ELE É
  • NÓS SOMOS
  • ELES SÃO

ESTAR (to Be)

  • EU ESTOU
  • TU ESTÁS
  • ELE ESTÁ
  • NÓS ESTAMOS
  • ELES ESTÃO

TER (TO HAVE)

  • EU TENHO
  • TU TENS
  • ELE TEM
  • NÓS TEMOS
  • ELES TÊM

IR (TO GO)

  • EU VOU
  • TU VAIS
  • ELE VAI
  • NÓS VAMOS
  • ELES VÃO

The importance of regular verbs and these four irregular verbs is TREMENDOUS in the progression of Portuguese students. From the very first day of class, we SHARE this opinion with our students. We regularly test them to make sure that everyone is comfortable with these conjugations. If you study Portuguese, follow our advice and memorize these conjugations! It is one of the basics of the Portuguese language!

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