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Talking About Colors in Portuguese

Colors are one of the simplest and most effective entry points to learning about Portuguese grammar. By learning the colors in Portuguese, and then practicing how to use them with a tutor, you can start to get a feel for how a Portuguese sentence is constructed, and how gender and plurals work in Portuguese grammar. They are also very useful for all sorts of conversations, ranging from talking about your interests to asking for or giving directions.

Below, we go through the words for various colors in Portuguese. There’s also a brief explanation of how to use them in conjunction with the different types of Portuguese nouns.

Basic Colors

White: Branco(a)

Red: Vermelho(a)

Orange: Laranja

Yellow: Amarelo(a)

Green: Verde

Blue: Azul

Indigo: Índigo

Purple: Roxo(a)/Púrpura

Black: Preto(a)

More Colors

Navy Blue: Azul marinho

Turquoise: Turquesa

Pink: Rosa/Cor-de-rosa

Crimson: Carmesim

Brown: Marrom

Beige: Bege

Grey: Cinza/Cinzento(a)

Silver: Prata/Prateado(a)

Gold: Ouro/Dourado(a)

Useful Color Adjectives

Light: Claro(a)

Dark: Escuro(a)

Transparent: Transparente

Opaque: Opaco(a)

Colorful: Colorido(a)

A Note on Inflecting Colors in Portuguese

Like other Portuguese adjectives, colors are sometimes inflected for the gender of the noun to which they refer, and for plural nouns.

In the case of gender, as indicated, some of the colors above end with an “o” when the noun is masculine and an “a” when the noun is feminine. If the color is not marked in that way, it does not inflect for gender. For example, “the yellow car” is o carro amarelo and “the yellow table” is a mesa amarela, whereas the word azul does not inflect for gender and would be the same in both of those phrases.

For plurals, in most cases it’s a simple case of adding an “s” to the end, but there are some exceptions. The plural for azul is azuis, marrom is marrons, and carmesim is carmesins. So, “the blue car” translates as o carro azul, and “the blue cars” is os carros azuis.

Practice Makes Perfect

Once you’ve learned the basic words for the colors in Portuguese, you need to practice how to use them in sentences. This will not only help you learn how to talk about colors, it will also help develop your understanding of Portuguese grammar and make you a better, more confident Portuguese speaker. Working with a tutor is the simplest and surest way of developing these skills. With regular practice and expert coaching, colors can be an entry point to access the whole spectrum of the Portuguese language.

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