In this post, we’ll look at how to talk about making and doing things in Portuguese. This important part of everyday speech involves using irregular Portuguese verbs, which means you can’t just work out the conjugated verb forms—you have to learn them individually. For the best chance of success, you should learn with our expert tutors.
One Verb in Portuguese for Two in English
The first thing to learn about making and doing in Portuguese is that the English verbs “to make” and “to do” both translate to the same Portuguese verb, fazer. Portuguese has no distinction between making and doing something—you have to work it out from context. This might seem strange if you’re a native English speaker, accustomed to making and doing being clearly distinct concepts, but in practice, conflating the two works perfectly well. It also means you have one less verb to remember, which is helpful given the relatively complex nature of Portuguese verb conjugation.
Fazer is an irregular verb. This means that the standard rules for conjugating Portuguese verbs do not apply—you have to memorize the specific verb forms. For the sake of simplicity, in this post we’ll just look at the six tenses of the indicative mood, plus the imperative mood, the gerund, and the past participle, and we won’t use the semi-obsolete second-person pronoun vós. The verb forms for these tenses and moods are listed below.
Note: If you’re unfamiliar with Portuguese personal pronouns, the ones used here translate as eu–I, tu–you (informal), nós–we, ele–he/it, ela–she/it, você–you (singular), eles/elas–they, and vocês–you (plural).
Infinitive; “to do/make”
Past participle; “done/made”
Indicative mood: simple present; “do/does/make/makes”
Indicative mood: simple past; “did/made”
Indicative mood: past imperfect; “used to do/make”
Indicative mood: pluperfect; “had done/made”
Indicative mood: simple future; “will do/make”
Indicative mood: conditional / future of the past; “would do/make”
Imperative mood: affirmative; “do/make”
Note: for the imperative mood, the pronouns are in parentheses because they would not usually be articulated.
Imperative mood: negative; “don’t do/make”
(Tu) não faças
(Nós) não façamos
(Você) não faça
(Vocês) não façam
These are not all the verb forms for fazer, but they’re enough for a person relatively new to Portuguese verbs to get by in pretty much any situation.
Using “Fazer” in Sentences
Now we’ll look at some Portuguese “making/doing” sentences using some of the verb forms listed above.
I’m making a cake.
Eu estou fazendo um bolo.
She’s doing her homework.
Ela está fazendo o dever de casa.
The work is already done.
O trabalho já está feito.
He makes frequent reports.
Ele faz relatórios frequentes.
We did a lot of work today.
Nós fizemos muito trabalho hoje.
My granny used to make a delicious chocolate cake.
Minha avó fazia um bolo de chocolate delicioso.
Before they arrived, I had made a cake.
Antes de eles chegaram, eu fizera um bolo.
They’ll do the work tomorrow.
Eles farão o trabalho amanhã.
If we helped him, he would do it.
Se nós o ajudássemos, ele faria isso.
Do the work now, please.
Faz o trabalho agora, por favor. (for tu)
Faça o trabalho agora, por favor. (for você)
Please don’t make any more cake.
Por favor, não faças mais bolo. (for tu)
Por favor, não faça mais bolo. (for você)
Learn More about Making and Doing
There’s still more to learn about how to use Portuguese verbs for making and doing. For example, we haven’t looked at the subjunctive mood here. Also, as you can see, there’s quite a lot to learn in terms of just conjugating this one verb, and it’s irregular, so you can’t just use the standard conjugation rules. To master this subject, your best bet is to practice with our tutors.