When to use eu fui and eu era in Portuguese

When to use eu fui and eu era in Portuguese

Learn when to use eu fui and eu era in Portuguese

Hello there and welcome to our Portuguese Basic Tips 100, about when to use eu fui and eu era in Portuguese

On today’s podcast, we are going to speak a little bit about Portuguese grammar: you’ll know when to use eu fui and eu era in Portuguese.

There are plenty of people who have doubts about when to use “fui” or “era” in Portuguese. So today we are going to explain grammatically how to use each of them and the situations in which they should be used.

Click on the link to visit our previous episode, called Meaning of voz de veludo, gato e sapato and lavar roupa suja

First of all, we have to understand that we are talking about verb tenses in Portuguese.

The first expression (Eu fui) is the verb to be in the first person of pretérito perfeito do indicativo ( the past perfect tense) in Portuguese.  The second one (eu era) is the verb to be in the first person of the pretérito imperfeito (the past imperfect tense in Portuguese).

And what is the main difference between perfect and imperfect verb tenses in Portuguese?

Well, the pretérito perfeito tends to indicate an action that was already completed in the past.

For instance:

  • Eu fui feliz (I was happy).

In this sentence, the idea that the happiness is over is implicit. I was happy at one time in the past, but I am no longer happy.

Let’s take advantage of the fact that we are talking about the pretérito perfeito to conjugate the verb ser (to be) in this tense.

eu    fui  ( I was)

tu     foste (You were)

ele ou ela foi (He or she was)

nós  fomos  (we were)

vós   fostes (You all were)

eles  foram (they were)

 

On the other hand, when we talk about the pretérito imperfeito (the past imperfect tense), we are talking about an action that not necessarily is finished. We are speaking of something that tends to be continuous.

Listen:

Eu era feliz! (I was happy).

Here we got information of something that it is not necessarily finished. Maybe I’m still happy today and maybe not.

So the answer to our initial question – when to use eu fui or eu era is: it depends on the meaning you want to imply to the sentence.

It is worth saying that we Brazilians use “eu fui” more often – in both cases.

Come with me to practice the verb to be in pretérito imperfeito.

Repeat, please:

eu    era (I was)

tu     eras (You were)

ele   era (He / She was)

nós  éramos (We were)

vós   éreis (You all were)

eles  eram (They were)

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See you soon.

Thanks!

Marcos Sales

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