Portuguese Grammar – Using nouns and genders in Portuguese

Portuguese grammar to indicate nouns and genders in Portuguese

A little bit of Portuguese Grammar

Welcome to our Portuguese Basic Tips (in English) in which we’ll speak a little bit of Portuguese grammar.

On today’s podcast we are going to speak a little about Portuguese grammar in order to explain to you about nouns and genders in Portuguese. Back to one of the first episodes I have launched in this website, you’ll find something more or less alike it, but this time, I’ll try to classify them.

We have specific types, talking about nouns in Portuguese. I could tell you to normally separate masculine nouns, by using the letter “o” in the end of the words; and that you should indicate that the noun is feminine when you use the letter “a” in the end of it.

Ok, that’s a  case in which you can use this rule and it will work on the whole, called “Substantivos biformes” – Nouns that have two genders, but don’t worry about those names. It’s important for you to understand their concepts.

For example:

  • Menino (boy) / Menina (girl)
  • Gato (a masculine cat) / Gata (a feminine cat)
  • Pato (a masculine duck) / Pata (a feminine duck)
  • Aluno (a male student) / Aluna (a female student)

And so on

Portuguese grammar – Uniform nouns

We also have what we call “substantivos uniformes”.

They have the same form for both genders. For example, the word “estudante” (Student). It can be a male or a female student. If you want to differentiate them, you should use the article in the beginning of the word “o estudante” or “a estudante”.

Substantivos comuns de dois gêneros – Uniform nouns in Portuguese

  • O jornalista (the male journalist) / A jornalista (the female journalist)
  • O jovem (the young boy) / A jovem (the young girl)
  • O fã (the male fan) / A fã (the female fan)

Epiceno nouns – Substantivos Epicenos

Within the uniform nouns, you will also find those ones that have only one gender and indicate names of certain animals, requiring the use of the words “male and female” to designate them.

For example:

  • A cobra macho (The male snake) / A cobra fêmea (The female snake)
  • A baleia macho (The male whale) / A baleia fêmea (the female whale)

Substantivos sobrecomuns

Here we have only one way to name male and female. They often name parts of a group in general.

For example:

  • A criança (the child) / As crianças (the children)

A criança is part of a big group. Note that even when you are using the article “a” in front of the name, you can’t refer to a masculine or feminine child in this case. It is simply a human being that is part of a group of children.

Other examples:

A testemunha (The witness) – When you say the word “testemunha” it is not implicit whether if you are referring to a man or to a woman in Portuguese.

A pessoa (the person) – The same happens here. You are referring to part of a group. In this case, you are referring to part of a group of people.

To finish that, pay attention to those phrases:

  • Salvador é a capital do Estado da Bahia (Salvador is the Capital of Bahia State)
  • O capital que tenho não é suficiente ( The Money I have is not enough)

I just want you to know that sometimes when we change the article, the meaning of the noun will also change.

In this case the word “Capital” can mean either Capital or money.

If you think you are already able to read an article entirely in Portuguese, see this link which deepens on the  Potuguese grammar subject about nouns in Portuguese

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That’s enough for today.

I hope you like it.

Marcos Sales

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