Portuguese/Contents/L1/Lesson Five - Going Shopping

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Dialogue 5Edit

Ricardo: Bom dia. Quero comprar uma camisa.
Carla: Sim, certamente. As roupas estão ali.
Ricardo: Obrigado. Quero uma camisa branca.
Carla: O senhor quer também uma camisa preta?
Ricardo: Não. Mas quero um chapéu
Carla: Certamente. Obrigada.

Here, Ricardo is in a clothes shop. He asks the attendant, Carla, if he can have a white shirt - uma camisa branca. He also asks for something else - um chapéu. This means "a hat". We've come across the words for "a". These are called, properly, "indefinite articles" (as opposed to the words for "the", which are called "definite articles"). This is because the word "a" or "an" is indefinite - it doesn't specify which shirt or hat. Let's have a look at this table.

um uma uns umas

Some examples? Sure.

o gato e um gato - the cat and a cat

os pêssegos e uns pêssegos - the peaches and some peaches

a casa e uma casa - the house and a house

as árvores e umas árvores - the trees and some trees

Quickly, what does that e mean by itself? Simple - e means "and". Let's have some practice.

Convert the following from "the" to "a" or "some

1. Os sapatos = ______ sapatos (some/the shoe)

2. As gravatas = ______ _________ (the/some ties)

3. A saia = ______ _________ (a/the skirt)

4. O chapéu = ______ _________ (the/a hat)


1. uns

2. umas

3. uma

4. um

Another major word we need to get to know is Quero. This word means "I want". Of course, there are other conjugations...

Você quer alguma coisa? - Do you want something? Sim, quero uma camisa branca. - Yes, I want a white shirt.

O senhor quer também uma camisa preta?

Também means quite simply "also". So we have "Do you want also a black shirt?". But what on earth is this phrase, o senhor? Well, we've already learnt that você is more polite than tu. However, there is another level of politeness used in Portuguese. This form of "you" is used with people you don't know well, or people you have to show respect to, like bosses or teachers. Basically, this form allows you to refer to people indirectly. So rather than address someone directly by name or with a pronoun such as "você", you address them as if you were addressing a third person, "o senhor" ("the gentleman") or "a senhora" ("the lady"). This added distance makes the speech more polite. Take note, however, that this form of "you" changes according to the gender of the person you're talking to, plus how many people you are talking to as well!

Have a look at the table below...

o senhor
talking to only one male
(equivalent to "Mr")
a senhora
talking to only one married female
(equivalent to "Mrs")
a menina
talking to only one unmarried female
(equivalent to "Miss")
os senhores
talking to more than one male or a mixed group
as senhoras
talking to more than one married female
as meninas
talking to more than one unmarried female