Portuguese Basics: Lesson 6

You definitely know this already but:

The Portuguese word for why is por que.

Literally, it means for what. It actually makes sense because when you are asking why you are asking for what reason, for what purpose, for what.

Using this knowledge, you can tell me the Portuguese word for what:


In fact, the word que not only means what but it also means that.

The Portuguese word for because is actually forthat. Can you guess it:


Yes, it is the same as the word for why (except spelled together to make a difference). Porque is both because and why.

Just by knowing it, you know a lot of Portuguese words already. Talk to am man, say:

?You are hungry.|O senhor tem fome.

If you want to ask something, you don’t use do or does as English does. You’d simply say, in this case, for example: why you are hungry (i.e. why you have hunger). Ask it:

?Why are you hungry?|Por que o senhor tem fome?

This is a legitimate question and it can be asked but there is something more to say in practice.

First, do you remember how to say:

?It is.|É.

How would you say:

?It is that…|É que...

That’s what the Portuguese say in questions as well.

The Portuguese looove to add é que after question words.

So, in practice, the Portuguese aren’t actually saying why are you hungry but they are saying why is it that you are hungry (or, literally: why it is that you have hunger). This happens a lot in Portuguese questions:

?Why is it that you are hungry?|Por que é que o senhor tem fome?

I will write is it in the beginning to help you remember that the Portuguese say it but it should soon become natural to you to write it so I will stop writing it in English sentences.

Also, know that you often don’t write é que in short sentences as well. It’s not a very important thing to use, it just sounds more natural if you do.

Anyway, if we are talking about hunger, let’s talk about eating.

The word for to eat is comer.

How would you ask a man:

?Do you want to eat?|O senhor quer comer?

There isn’t é que because there is no question word (like why, what, when, where, etc.) in this sentence. Also, it’s too short of a sentence to have é que on its own. You could havei t, though, if you really want to: there is no big mistake about having or not having it.

In any case, if the answer to the previous question is yes, you might want to ask what one wants to eat. Note one thing first:

The word que for what is said as the what so it becomes o que.

So, ask a very Portuguese question:

?What is it that you want to eat?|O que é que o senhor quer comer?

Imagine you get asked that in a restaurant. Answer it:

?I don’t want to eat because I don’t have money.|Não quero comer porque não tenho dinheiro.

Ask the man:

?Why is it that you don’t have money?|Por que é que não tem dinheiro?

The man got embarrased and ran out of the restaurant so we won’t be continuing this conversation.

Better, practice speaking with women. Ask a woman a what do you have question:

?What is it that you have?|O que é que a senhora tem?

Another question:

?Why don’t you have much time?|Por que é que a senhora não tem muito tempo?

Let’s end this on a sad note and say for the missus:

?I don’t have much time because I don’t have much money.|Não tenho muito tempo porque não tenho muito dinheiro.

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