The word Meio as an adverb in Portuguese

Meio as an adverb in Portuguese

Learn when to use meio and meia in Portuguese

Hello there and welcome to our Portuguese Basic Tips about the word meio as an adverb in Portuguese

On today’s podcast we are going to speak about the word meio as an adverb in Portuguese. I hope at the end of this episode you’ll know when to use “meio” and “meia” in Portuguese.

Click on the link to visit our previous episode, called Enhancement particles – Speaking Portuguese like Brazilians

Meio as an adverb

Listen to the following sentence:

  • Eu acordei meio cansado hoje!

You maybe know we use the word meio meaning “half” in Portuguese. However, it is wrong thinking that the correct translation to that sentence should be “I woke up HALF tired today”. Nobody can be “half tired”.

See: in this case, we are using the word meio as an adverb in Portuguese. I don’t want this topic get complicated here, but I feel I need to explain something about adverbs in Portuguese for you.

This is an invariable word that works as a modifier of a verb, of an adjective or of another adverb. For instance:

  • Dormir pouco (the word pouco is modifying the verb dormir – to sleep)
  • Muito bom (the word muito is modifying the adjective bom)
  • Muito calmamente (The word muito here is modifying the meaning of the adverb “calmamente”).

Another feature of adverbs in Portuguese is that we don’t need to change them when we use masculine or feminine and singular or plural.

For instance:

  • A comida está muito boa! (The food is very good)
  • O cachorro é muito bonito (The dog is very beautiful)
  • Os cachorros são muito bonitos!

The word “muito” remains unchanged when used as adverbs.

Ok, now that you know the basic about adverbs, let’s learn about the word “meio” as an adverb.

  • Eu acordei meio cansado hoje (I woke up a little bit tired today).

That’s the best translation here: meio means a little bit. If you are a girl, you should say “eu acordei meio cansada hoje”.  Despite this, some Brazilians still wrongly say “meia cansada”, but you won’t! You won’t say something like that, right?

Marcos, does this mean that using the word “meia” is always incorrect?

No! I didn’t say that! We sometime use the word “meia” as a numeral, for instance, meaning “metade” (half), as I said in the beginning of the episode. For instance: Meia banana (half of a banana), meia hora (half an hour) and so forth.

Let’s practice some sentences in our old style: I speak, you repeat and in the end we speak together.

  • Estou meio preocupado com a situação (I’m a little worried about the situation).
  • Eles fizeram tudo meio às pressas (They did everything a little hastily).
  • As coisas ficaram meio mal arrumadas (Things got a little messy)

Click on the link to visit a class in video about adverbs in Portuguese (Portuguese only)

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That’s it for today.

I hope you like it.

See you soon.


Marcos Sales


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