Compared with verbs and adjectives, Portuguese adverbs are relatively straightforward for an English learner of the language–they function in much the same way in English and Portuguese, and there aren’t so many extra rules and inflections to think about. There are, however, some areas where there are differences, and you’ll need the support of an expert tutor to make sure you’re learning them correctly.
Below, we take a look at some of the most common types of Portuguese adverbs from the perspective of an English learner.
Adverbs Formed from Adjectives
Just like in English, Portuguese adverbs are often formed by adding a suffix to an adjective. In English, this is done using the suffix “-ly”; Portuguese adverbs formed in this way use the suffix -mente. The feminine singular form of the adjective is always used in this process.
For instance, if we want to say “quickly” in Portuguese, we take the adjective rápido(a), meaning “quick” or “fast,” and add the suffix -mente to the feminine singular form, rápida, forming the adverb rapidamente. Note that the acute accent is dropped from the letter “a”; all orthographic accents from the original adjective are always dropped when forming -mente adverbs.
Below are five more examples of this process:
Adverbs of Place
In English, the distinctions between locating words are clear-cut: an object is either “here” or “there.” For Portuguese adverbs of place, the distinctions are subtler: an object can be “close to me,” “close to you,” “far from both of us,” and so on. A total of six Portuguese words correspond to the English “here” and “there.” Precise usage of these words depends on where you are–there are differences between European and Brazilian Portuguese, and between the various Brazilian dialects. The best way to tackle this subject is to work on it with your tutor.
Aí, ali, lá, acolá
Adverbs of Quantity or Intensity
Again, the shades of meaning for Portuguese adverbs of quantity or intensity differ somewhat from the English. Grasping this subject is probably easier than location adverbs, but it’s still advisable to practice with a tutor to get a sense of what word to use in a specific situation. Vocabulary in this area includes:
Very, much, too, too much
So much, as much, too much
A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and an adverb that forms a single semantic unit, essentially creating a two-word verb. This is very common in English: examples include “turn down,” “get by,” and “put up.” Portuguese contains fewer phrasal verbs than English, but there are two in particular that you will probably encounter a lot: ir embora (to leave) and jogar fora (to throw away).
Learn More About Portuguese Adverbs
Adverbs are very useful words that will help your Portuguese sound much more precise and fluent. What’s more, they’re not too difficult to learn compared with verbs and adjectives. Your tutor will help you to use these helpful words in sentences. With regular practice, you’ll soon be using them with confidence.