Portuguese relative pronouns – Using o qual as a relative pronoun

Using o qual as a relative pronoun

Portuguese relative pronouns – Using “o qual” as a relative pronoun in Portuguese

Welcome to our Portuguese Basic Tips (in English) called Using o qual as a relative pronoun

This is the second episode of our series about Portuguese relative pronouns: using o qual as a relative pronoun.

We are going to keep talking about relative pronouns in Portuguese. Today I’ll teach how to use the term “o qual” here in Brazil.

If you have not visited our last episode, in which I talked about the pronoun “que” in Portuguese, I suggest you do that before listening to this one. Following this sequence will help you in your learning process.

Well, what’s the main point about relative pronouns? We already know that we use them to avoid the repetition of the same term in the sentences, right?

Today we are going to learn when to use “o qual” in Portuguese.

It has the same semantic value of “que”, it has the same meaning of it. The difference is that you’ll use “o qual” mainly in written Portuguese.

So, let’s take a few phrases as example:

  • Eu encontrei este garoto. O garoto estava com medo. (I found this kid. The kid was afraid.)

Instead of using the word “garoto” twice, we normally say:

  • Eu encontrei este garoto, que estava com medo (I found this kid, that was afraid).

And I could also use the term “o qual” as a pronoun:

  • Eu encontrei este garoto, o qual estava com medo (I found this kid, who was afraid)

So, the ways we use the pronouns “que” and “qual” are the same so far, right? But, do you remember I said that “que” is a universal pronoun? That is to say that we don’t need to modify it either in plural or singular forms, or even when we are referring to a male or a female noun.

Here are the differences! When we use “o qual” we need to modify it.

See the differences:

  • Eu encontrei estes garotos, que estavam com medo (I found these kids, who were afraid)
  • Eu encontrei estes garotos, os quais estavam com medo. (I found these kids, who were afraid)

 Now, note that when we are referring to a feminine noun “o qual” becomes “a qual”.

  • Eu encontrei esta garota, a qual estava com medo (I found this girl, who was afraid)

Much like the pronoun “que”, we need to pay attention to the verbal regency. So, if the verb needs a preposition as a complement, we need to use it in front of the pronoun.

For instance:

  • Esta é uma fruta. Eu gosto desta fruta. (This is a fruit. I like this fruit).
  • Esta é a fruta da qual gosto (This is the fruit that I like)

 If you want to use the plural way, you could say “Estas são as frutas das quais gosto”

It is important for you to understand that this is a very formal way of speaking. We barely use it in a daily conversation, but I think you should learn it, just in case you want to read something in Portuguese, for instance.

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See you next time.


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