Portuguese relative pronouns – Using quem as a relative pronoun

Episode about Portuguese relative pronouns. On today's podcast we are going to speak about using quem as a relative pronoun

Using quem as a relative pronoun in Portuguese

Welcome to our Portuguese Basic Tips number 41 (in english). This will be the last episode of our series and today we are going to speak about using quem as a relative pronoun in Portuguese

Well, this is going to be the last episode about relative pronouns in Portuguese. We’ve been talking about them for so long. You’ve learned about the pronouns “que”, “cujo” and “qual” so far. Today we are going to speak about the relative pronoun “quem”.

If you have not listened to our last episodes, I suggest you do that before listening to this one. This will help you to understand what I say here.

Click on the link to visit our episode about the portuguese relative pronoun que

This link will lead you to a page about the portuguese relative pronoun qual

Click on the link to listen to our episode about the Portuguese relative pronoun cujo

We use the relative pronoun “quem” to refer to a person or to a personified thing.

What? To a personified thing? Yeah! I’ll get there.

You already know that we normally use relative pronouns when we want to avoid the repetition of words in a sentence, in a speech, right?

So, listen to this phrase:

  • Eu não conheço a médica com quem você falou (I do not know the doctor with whom you spoke)

Note that we are referring to a woman; we are referring to a person. In this case, the doctor.

Listen to this other sentence:

  • Com quem você vai sair esta noite? (Whom are you going out with tonight?)

Again, we are referring to a person. It’s implicit on the speech. Even when we don’t know exactly about whom we are speaking, if we are referring to a person, we use “quem”.

Now, let’s talk about a personified object.

  • Esse é o livro a quem prezo como companheiro (This means something like “This is the book to whom I value as a companion”)

Note that I’m speaking about a “thing”. But this thing has “human qualities”. The book is a friend!

To finish this, remember not using “quem” to refer to an object that has no human qualities.

For example:

Este é o livro quem eu li – That’s wrong!

In this case you could say “Este é o livro que eu li” – I think you already know about it.

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That’s enough for today

See you next time!

Thanks.

Marcos Sales

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