October 2016

Portuguese:Present Continuous

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Present Continuous / Verbos – Presente Contínuo

Present Progressive (Present Continuous) – refers to an action that is happening or “going on” right now. Example:
  • I am studying now – Eu estou estudando agora.
  Observe that in English to compose that structure, was used the person Iverb to be conjugated according to the person – “I am” and the action that is happening with the suffix “ing” added to the verb. Forming this kind of structure in Portuguese is easy and very similar to English. You just need the person, conjugate in the present tense verb estar according to the person that you want to refer, and finally use theaction that is going on right now. There are 3 equivalents for “ing” in Portuguese. Each equivalent depends on the termination of the verb in its infinitive form.
Type of verbs Equivalent to “ing” in Portuguese
Verbs ending in ar ANDO
Verbs ending in er ENDO
Verbs ending in ir INDO
In the chart below, observe how to add the suffix to the verb. You must drop the termination of the verb and add the suffixes “ando”, “endo” and “indo”
Infinitive for Adding the right suffix
Falar (to speak) falANDO (speaking)
Comer (to eat) comENDO (eating)
Dormir (to sleep) dormINDO (sleeping)
Now observe how to form the Present Progressive in Portuguese:
Structure  Person  Verb estar (to be) conjugated Action that is happening right now with the appropriate  suffix
English She is eating
Portuguese Ela está comendo
  • Eu estou comendo. – I’m eating.
  • Ela está comendo. – She is eating.
  • Ele está comendo. – He is eating.
  • Você está comendo. – You are eating
  • A gente está comendo. – We are eating.
  • Nós estamos comendo. – We are eating.
  • Elas estão comendo. – They are eating.
  • Vocês estão comendo. – You are eating.

Portuguese:Simple Present Tense

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Present tense / Verbos – Presente do Indicativo

In Portuguese there are 3 different classes of verbs: verbs ending in “ar”, verbs ending in “er”, verbs ending in “ir”. Each class of regular verbs has its own pattern of termination when conjugated. When conjugating regular verbs in Portuguese you just have to preserve the root of the verb and substitute“ar”, “er” or “ir” for the following bold terminations:
Person Amar(to love) Comer(to eat)  Abrir(to open)
Singular  Eu  amo  como abro
 Ele / Ela / Você A gente  ama  come abre
Plural  Nós amamos  comemos  abrimos
 Eles/ Elas/ Vocês amam  comem abrem
  • Eu amo. (I love.)
  • Ela ama. (She loves)
  • Ele ama. (He loves)
  • Você ama. (You love)
  • A gente ama. (We love)
  • Nós amamos. (We love)
  • Eles amam. (They love)
  • Vocês amam. (You love)
Verbs ending in “ir” having the vowel “e” at the second-to-the-last syllable have the root changed when they are conjugated in the Present tense. The vowel “e” is changed for “i” just for the first person“eu”. The other conjugations follow the same pattern that is presented above.
Person  Vestir(to wear)  Mentir(to lie)
Singular Eu  visto minto
 Ele / Ela / Você /   A gente  veste mente
Plural Nós vestimos mentimos
 Eles/ Elas/ Vocês vestem mentem
  • Eu minto. (I lie)
  • Ela mente. (She lies)
  • Ele mente. (He lies)
  • Você mente. (You lie)
  • A gente mente. (We lie)
  • Nós mentimos. (We lie)
  • Eles mentem. (They lie)
  • Vocês mentem. (You lie)
  Verbs ending in “ir” having the vowel “o” at the second-to-the-last syllable have the root changed when they are conjugated in the Present tense. The vowel “o” is changed for “u” just for the first person “eu”.
 Person  Dormir(to sleep) Descobrir(to discover)
Singular  Eu durmo  descubro
Ele / Ela / Você /    A gente  dorme descobre
Plural  Nós dormimos  descobrimos
Eles/ Elas/ Vocês  dormem  descobrem
  • Eu durmo cedo. (I sleep early)
  • Ela dorme cedo. (She sleeps early)
  • Ele dorme cedo.(He sleeps early)
  • Você dorme cedo.(You sleep early)
  • A gente dorme cedo.(We sleep early)
  • Nós dormimos cedo.. (We sleep early)
  • Eles dormem cedo.. (They sleep early)
  • Vocês dormem cedo.. (You  sleep early)

Portuguese :Basic Portuguese Phrases

Basic Portuguese Phrases

Remember that, when travelling, if you know a few basic phrases, you can get by in any Portuguese speaking country. Armed with basic Portuguese phrases you can communicate with the locals, even if you don’t know how to say anything else in Portuguese. If you are travelling to a Portuguese-speaking country, I strongly recommend you to go though this page now, and learn the words and expressions you need to get by. OK, so… let’s go straight to business. It’s quite common in any Portuguese speaking country, specially in small towns and villages, to greet people in the streets, even if you don’t know them. So as they pass by you, you’ll be likely to hear: Bom dia. [bong-deer]* which means “Good morning”. Boa tarde. [boah-tard]* for “Good afternoon”. Boa noite. [boah-no-ee-te]* for “Good evening” or “Good night”. You should greet them back the same way. It shows that you respect them and like to be respected as well. You will hear Bom dia from midnight to midday, Boa tarde from 12pm until it gets dark and Boa noite since it gets dark until midnight,or when you want to wish a good night to anyone. Como? [komoo?] is another very important word. If someone comes to you and say something that you can’t hear properly or can’t understand, this is the way you say “Sorry?” or “I didn’t get that”. In other words, you can also use this word to ask someone to repeat something again. Desculpe! [des-cool-peh] is the word you use when you are sorry or when you “did something wrong and you want to apologise for it. In short, this means “I’m sorry!”. You may also use this word to catch someone’s attention as well, for instance at the restaurant when you want to call the waiter. Não faz mal! [nah-fash-mahl] is the way you reply to “desculpe” . Equivalent ways to say “Não faz mal” this in English would be “no worries” or “no problem”. Com licença! [co-lee-sensah] is also one of the most important basic Portuguese phrases. This means “excuse me” You might use this when you want to get out of the bus when it is very crowded inside and you have people in your way. Obrigado/obrigada [oobree-gado] or [oobree-gadah]. Men say “obrigado” and women say“obrigada” to say “thank you”. De nada! [de nah-dah] in Portugal and [chee nah-dah] in Brazil. This is what you say when people thank you for something you did for them. The equivalent in English would be “you’re welcome!” These last 2 basic Portuguese phrases are of extreme importance and you should use them without thinking. Practice them with a friend or with your partner. Por favor! [poorh pha-vohr]. You say this to say “please” in any circumstance you can imagine. However, in Portuguese, when you give commands to people (when you ask them to do something) you don’t have necessarily to say “por favor” all the time, like you do in English. Normally the intonation of your voice will show whether you are being suggestive or bossy! Está bem! [tah baing] to say “It’s OK” when you agree with someone’s suggestion, or to mean “thatºs enough” when the waiter is putting food on your plate and you want him to stop. Fixe! [feesh] (in European and African Portuguese) to say the modern expression “cool!” Legal! [lay-gah-oo] (in Brazilian Portuguese) to say the modern expression “cool!” Então? tudo bem? [eng-ta-ong? too-doo bah-ing?] means in colloquial European Portuguese “So, how are you?” or “So, what’s up?”. Oi! e aí? [oy? ee ah-ee?] means in colloquial Brazilian Portuguese “So, how are you?” or “So, what’s up?”. Como se diz em português + English word? [coo-mo seh deesh en poor-too-gaysh]. You would use this sentence to find out how you say something in Portuguese. You obviously can use this sentence only if you know the person you are talking to knows some English, so they will tell you the meaning you are looking for. (e.g. Como se diz em português “please”? – how do you say in Portuguese “please”?) Como se pronuncia em português + Portuguese word? [coo-mo seh proo-noon-seeah en poor-too-gaysh] this means: How do you pronounce in Portuguese?” Obviously if you are struggling with pronouncing any Portuguese word you see somewhere (in a menu, advert, or article, etc), and you want to pronounce it correctly, you will use this phrase. Como se escreve? [coo-mo seh sh-cray-veh]. You’d use this sentence if you want to know how you’d spell something in Portuguese. This means “How do you spell?”. O que quer dizer “xyz” em inglês? [Oo kay kehr dee-zerh “xyz” en een-glaysh?] is the sentence you use if you have the Portuguese word but you don’t know what it means. So you ask “What does it mean in English?”. Pode repetir? [pod ray-peh-teer?]. This is the same as “como?” see above, but in a more polite way. It means “could you repeat it please?”. Não percebo! [naw pehr-say-boo] – I don’t/can’t understand. Não percebi! [naw pehr-say-bee] – I didn’t understand / I didn’t catch it. Não entendo! [naw en-tehn-doo] – I don’t/cant understand (more used in Brazilian Portuguese). Não entendi! [naw en-tehn-chee] – I didn’t understand (more used in Brazilian Portuguese). Não sei! [naw say] – “I don’t know”. This phrase is particularly useful, because anyone in the streets can come to you and ask for information about something. So this is what you have to say – “I don’t know!”. Não me lembro! [now meh lim-broo] – I don’t/can’t remember.
I’d recommend you print out this page and take it with you every time you need to communicate with someone in Portuguese. One of the reasons you should print this out may be because you may want to put 2 of these sentences together to sound more natural, for instance, “desculpe, não sei”, and you’ll have them at hand to remember. You’ll see that, with these basic Portuguese phrases, you’ll feel more confident when you talk to people or people talk to you. You will also feel much more comfortable when travelling around and socialising with Portuguese native speakers. I’d also advise you not to stop your learning with this basic Portuguese phrases, but to surf through the other pages of this site to find out more useful information about Portuguese and Portuguese speaking countries. And that’s it! These are the basic Portuguese phrases you need to get by! Armed with these basic Portuguese phrases, you can get by without embarrassment. Believe me! Last thing to remember: If you don’t know any more Portuguese, you may choose to walk away… or find out if they speak English. If you want to ask them if they speak English say: Desculpe! Fala inglês? [des-cool-peh! fah-la een-glaysh?]. You may also inform them that you only speak a little Portuguese. If this is the case, you must say. Não falo muito português! [nah fahloo moo-too poor-too-gaysh]. And yes! This is the end of this page now! So these are the basic Portuguese phrases you need to know if you are going to any Portuguese speaking country.


English Portuguese
Hello Bom dia
Good evening Boa tarde
Goodbye Adeus
See you later Até Logo
Yes Sim
No Não
Excuse me! Por favor!
Excuse me Se faz favor
Thanks Obrigada
Thanks a lot Muito obrigado!
Thank you for your help Obrigada pela sua ajuda
Don’t mention it De nada
Ok De acordo !
How much is it? Quanto custa por favor?
Sorry! Desculpe !
I don’t understand Não compreendo
I get it Compreendi
I don’t know Não sei
Forbidden Proibido
Excuse me, where are the toilets? Onde é a casa de banho por favor?
Happy New Year! Feliz ano novo!
Happy birthday! Feliz aniversario!
Happy holiday! Boas festas!
Congratulations! Parabéns


English Portuguese
Hello. How are you? Bom dia. Tudo bem?
Hello. I’m fine, thank you Bom dia Vou bem, obrigado
Do you speak Portuguese? Tu falas português?
No, I don’t speak Portuguese Não, não falo português
Only a little bit Só um pouco
Where do you come from? De onde és ?
What is your nationality? És de que nacionalidade?
I am English Eu sou inglesa
And you, do you live here? E tu, vives aqui?
Yes, I live here Sim, moro aqui
My name is Sarah, what’s your name? O meu nome é Sarah. E o teu?
Julian Juliano
What are you doing here? O que é que fazes por aqui?
I am on holiday Estou de férias
We are on holiday Nós estamos de férias
I am on a business trip Ando em viagem de negócios
I work here Trabalho aqui
We work here Nós trabalhamos aqui
Where are the good places to go out and eat? Quais são os bons lugares para comer?
Is there a museum in the neighbourhood? Há algum museu aqui perto?
Where could I get an internet connection? Onde tenho acesso à internet?


English Portuguese
The restaurant O restaurante
Would you like to eat? Queres comer alguma coisa?
Yes, with pleasure Quero, pois !
To eat Comer
Where can we eat? Onde podemos comer?
Where can we have lunch? Onde podemos almoçar?
Dinner O jantar
Breakfast O pequeno almoço
Excuse me! Por favor!
The menu, please A ementa, se faz favor
Here is the menu Aqui tem o menu
What do you prefer to eat? Meat or fish? O que preferes comer? Carne ou peixe?
With rice Com arroz
With pasta Com massa
Potatoes Batatas
Vegetables Legumes
Scrambled eggs – fried eggs – or a boiled egg Ovos mexidos – estrelados – ou ao casco
Bread Pão
Butter Manteiga
Salad Uma alface
Dessert Uma sobremesa
Fruit Fruta
Can I have a knife, please? Você tem uma faca por favor?
Yes, I’ll bring it to you right away Sim, trago já
a knife Uma faca
a fork Um garfo
a spoon Uma colher
Is it a warm dish? É um prato quente?
Yes, very hot also! Sim, e muito temperado também
Warm Quente
Cold Frio
Hot Temperado com especiarias
I’ll have fish Vou escolher peixe!
Me too Eu também


English Portuguese
Taxi! Táxi!
Where would you like to go? Onde deseja ir?
I’m going to the train station Vou para a estação
I’m going to the day&night Hotel Vou para o hotel Dia e Noite
Can you take me to the airport, please? Podia levar-me ao aeroporto?
Can you take my luggage? Pode levar a minha bagagem, se faz favor?
Is it far from here? Fica longe daqui ?
No it’s close Não, é mesmo aqui ao lado
Yes it’s a little bit further away Sim é um pouco mais longe
How much will it be? Quanto vai custar?
Take me there, please Leve-me aqui por favor
You go right É à direita
You go left É à esquerda
It’s straight on É sempre à direito
It’s right here É aqui
It’s that way É por ali
Stop! Pare!
Take your time Não se apresse
Can I have a receipt, please? Pode-me fazer uma factura por favor?


English Portuguese
Excuse me! I’m looking for the bus stop Por favor! Procuro a paragem de autocarros
How much is a ticket to Sun City? Qual é o preço do bilhete para a cidade do sol por favor?
Where does this train go, please? Por favor, para onde vai este comboio ?
Does this train stop at Sun City? Este comboio pára na cidade do Sol?
When does the train for Sun City leave? Quando parte o comboio para a cidade do Sol?
When will this train arrive in Sun City? Quando chega o comboio da cidade do Sol?
A ticket for Sun City, please Um bilhete para A cidade do Sol por favor
Do you have the train’s time table? Tem o horário dos comboios
Bus schedule O horario dos autocarnos
Excuse me, which train goes to Sun City? Qual é o comboio para A cidade do Sol por favor?
This one É este
Thanks Obrigada
Don’t mention it, have a good trip! De nada. Boa viagem!
The garage A oficina
The petrol station O posto de gasolina
A full tank, please Pode atestar, se faz favor
Bike Bicicleta
Town centre O centro da cidade
Suburb A periferia
It is a city É uma grande cidade
It is a village É uma aldeia
A mountain Uma montanha
a lake Um lago
The countryside A campanha – O campo

In case of trouble

English Portuguese
Can you help me, please? Podes ajudar-me por favor?
Can you help me please? Pode dar-me uma ajuda ?
I’m lost Estou perdido
What would you like? Posso ajudar?
What happened? O que é que aconteceu?
Where could I find an interpreter? Onde posso encontrar um tradutor?
Where is the nearest chemist’s shop? Onde é a farmácia mais próxima?
Can you call a doctor, please Pode chamar um médico por favor?
Which kind of treatment are you undergoing at the moment? Que tratamento é que segue neste momento?
a hospital Um hóspital
a chemist’s Uma farmácia
a doctor Um médico
Medical department Serviço médico
I lost my papers Perdi os meus documentos
My papers have been stolen Roubaram-me os documentos
Lost-property office Seviço de perdidos e achados
First-aid station Posto de socorro
Emergency exit Saida de emergência
The police Polícia
Papers Documentos
Money Dinheiro
Passport Passaporte
Luggage Bagagens
I’m ok, thanks Està tudo bem , nâo obrigado
Leave me alone! Deixem-me em paz!
Go away! Saia!

Portuguese:Possessive Pronouns

Possessive Pronouns / Pronomes Possessivos

Possessive pronouns are used to show ownership. They indicate who the owner of a certain thing is. Those Pronouns can accompany, describe or replace a noun. Example:
  • Meu carro é novo – My car is new (observe that “meu” accompanies and describes the noun “carro”)
In Portuguese the possessive pronouns have feminine, masculine, singular and plural forms. Usually those pronouns agree in gender and number with the thing possessed, not with the person that possesses. But there is an important exception for the possessive pronouns dele / deles / dela / delas. They agree in gender and number with the person. Possessive pronouns can be used alone, without the noun they’re referring to. In this case, they are accompanied by definite articles (except with verb ser). Example:
  • Meu carro é novo. O seu é velho – My car is new. Yours is old. (In the first sentence “meu”accompanies and describe the object “carro”. In the second sentence observe that “seu” is masculine, replaces the word “carro” and it is used along with the definite article “o”)
Study the possessive pronouns in the chart below.
English Masculine Feminine
My / mine Meu      / Meus    Minha    / Minhas   
Your / yours Seu       /  Seus    Sua      / Suas   
His / Her/ hers / its Dele    Dela   
Our / ours Nosso     / Nossos    Nossa      / Nossas   
Their / theirs Deles    Delas   
Examples: Observe that in all examples below the possessive pronouns agree with the thing possessed and are used before the noun.
  • Meu pai – My father
  • Seu pai – Your father
  • Nosso pai – Our father
  • Minha mãe – My mother
  • Sua mãe – Your mother
  • Nossa  mãe – Our mother
Examples: Note that in the examples below the possessive pronouns are used without article, because theycome after verb to be
  • O carro é meu. The car is mine
  • O carro é seu. The car is yours.
  • O carro é dele. The car is his.
  • O carro é dela. The car is hers.
  • O carro é nosso. The car is ours.
  • O carro é deles. The car is theirs.
  • O carro é delas. The car is theirs.
More Examples: Note that in the examples below the possessive pronouns are used with definite articles
  • Minha casa é verde. A sua é vermelha. My house is green. Yours is red.
  • Sua casa é verde. A minha é vermelha. Your house is green. Mine is red.
  • Nossa casa é branca. A dele é azul. Our house is white. His is blue.
  • Nossa casa é branca. A dela é azul. Our house is white. Hers is blue.
Note I The possessive pronouns seu /seus /sua / suas can be used to refer to your (yours), his, her (hers) andtheir (theirs) causing ambiguities, because you don’t know if the pronoun is referring to you or to other person. In some cases to avoid ambiguity of the noun’s ownership, the possessive pronouns dele / deles / dela /delas are used to refer to his – dele, her/hers – dela, their/theirs – deles, their/theirs, but for feminine group – delas. These pronouns agree in gender and number with the person who owns the thing, because these possessive pronouns always refer to the person and not to the object. Examples: Ele não encontrou seu amigo. He did not meet your/his friend. – This sentence has an ambiguity because you don’t know if the person is referring to your or his friend. If the person is referring to his friend is better to say: Ele não encontrou o amigo dele.  He did not meet his friend. – You can observe that “dele” agrees in gender and number with “ele” and comes after noun. More examples:
  • Seu pai – Your father
  • Pai dele – His father
  • Pai dela – Her father
  • Pai deles – Their father
  • Pai delas – Their father
Note II The possessive pronouns teu /teus /tua / tuas can also be used to refer to your and yours. And in this case, they also agree in gender and number with the thing possessed. Examples: 
  • Teu pai – Your father
  • Teu carro – Your ca
  • Tua mãe – Your mother
  • Tua casa – Your house
Note III Usually Portuguese grammar books recommend that it is not necessary to use possessive pronouns before body parts, especially when they are used to complement the verb. But colloquially is very common to use possessive pronouns along with body parts. Example: Eu quebrei o dente. (I broke my tooth). You can observe that there is no possessive pronoun along with the body’s part.]]>

Portuguese: Interrogative

  • Interrogatives are also very important words of the Portuguese vocabulary. Interrogatives are the question-words. They allow us to ask questions like “Onde?” [on-deh] – “where”, “Quando” [kwando] – “When”, etc.
The interrogatives of the Portuguese vocabulary are like this:
Portuguese Interrogative Word sound Meaning
A que horas? [ah kay oh-rash? What time at?
Com que frequência? [con kay fray-kwen-ceeah?] How often?
Com quem? [con kaing?] With who?
Como? [koh-moh?] How / What?
Como (é)? [koh-moh (ay)?] what (is it) like?
Donde? [don-deh?] EU {don-chee?] BR Where from?
De que côr? [deh kay cohr?] EU [chee-kee-cohr] BR What colour?
Há quanto tempo? [ah kwan-too teing-poo?] How long ago?
* (O) que? [oo kay?] what?
Onde? [on-deh?] EU [on-chee?] where?
Para onde? [pah-rah on-deh?] EU [pah-rah on-chee?] where to?
Para que? [pah-rah kay?] EU [pah-rah kee?] What for?
Porque? / Por que? [poohr kay?] EU [poohr kee?] Why?
Qual Quais? [kwal?] [kwaiss?] Which one Which ones?
Quando? [kwan-doo?] When?
Quanto? [kwan-too?] How much?
Quantos? [kwan-toosh?] EU [kwan-tooss?] How many?
Quantos anos? [kwan-toos ah-noos?] How old?
De que tamanho? [deh kay tah-mah-nyio?] EU [chee kee tah-mah-nyio?] How big/small? What size?
Quem? [kaying?] Who?
Quem? [kaying?] Who?
* “O que?” is normally followed by a verb, (e.g. “O que bebe?” – “what would you like to drink?”), whereas “Que?” is followed by a noun (e.g. “Que carro tem?” – “What car do you have?”). Note: When European (EU) Portuguese native speakers ask a question, they normally emphasize these question words of the Portuguese vocabulary with “é que” (e.g. Quem é que come carne? – Who eats meat?). If you ask questions with this “é que”, you’ll impress your Portuguese friends, because normally, only native speakers use it! However, it has to be said really fast to sound natural. My suggestion is: practise them all running the words together like this: “Como é que?” [koo-may kay?], “porque é que?” [poohr-kay-kay?], and so on.]]>

Portuguese Prepositions

Portuguese Prepositions

Prepositions are small words or combination of words that connect some elements (nouns, pronouns or phrases)  to other words in a sentence. Thus, it’s very important to learn PREPOSITIONS and its structure because they are used in every day conversation. Are also vital words in the Portuguese vocabulary because they are linking words. These words place the position or movement of something in time and place. There are many but, basically, we only need 9 to communicate. In Portuguese some of them must be contracted with the definite articles above.

Prepositions of Location

The following prepositions are common in expressing location:
      • à – at
A generally carries the meaning to
      . It means
      in certain sentences.
      • Vamos nos  sentar à mesa? – Let’s sit at the table?
      • em – in/on/at
This preposition indicates places/locations. When used with definite or indefinite articles, a contraction is formed; these contractions coincide in gender and number with the place they refer to.

Definite Article








Em +





on / in / at + the

Indefinite Articles








Em +





on / in / at + a (or some(plural))

      • Em um restauranteIn a restaurant
      • Estou no Brasil – I am in Brazil
      • O presente está na mesa. – The gift is on the table.
      • Ela mora nos Estados Unidos. – She lives in the United States.
    • ao longo [de] – along
      • Caminho ao longo da avenida. – I walk along the avenue.
    • ao lado [de] – next [to]
      • Estou ao lado da companhia – I am next to the company.
    • em redor [de] – around
      • Estou em redor da companhia – I am around the company.
    • acima [de] / por cima [de] – above
      • Estou acima da companhia – I am above the company
    • perto [de] – near
      • Estou perto da companhia – I am near the company
    • debaixo [de] – under/below
      • Estou debaixo do escrivaninha – I am under the desk.
    • à frente [de] – in front of
      • Estou à frente da companhia – I am in front of the company.
    • dentro [de] – in/inside
      • Estou dentro da companhia – I am in/inside the company.
    • atrás [de] – behind
      • Estou atrás da companhia – I am behind the company.
    • em cima [de] – on top [of]
      • Estou em cima do telhado – I am on top of the roof.
    • em frente [de] – in front [of]
      • Estou em frente da companhia – I am in front of the company.
    • no meio [de] – in the center [of] / in the middle [of]
      • Estou no meio da companhia – I am in the middle of the company.
    • entre – [in] between
      • Estou entre as companhias – I am in between the companies.
  • fora [de] – outside [of]
    • Estou fora da companhia – I am outside the company.

Prepositions of Direction

    • a – to
      • Vou a São Paulo – I go to São Paulo
    • de – from
      • Venho de São Paulo – I come from São Paulo
    • através [de] – through
      • Vou através do parque – I go through the park
    • sobre – over
      • Salto sobre o rio – I jump over the river
      • para – for/to
Para frequently indicates an end point, goal, target, comparison or objective of a direction in time or space. Also be aware that, particularly in spoken Brazilian Portuguese, para is frequently shortened to pra or p’ra.
    • Vou para Lisboa – I go to Lisbon

Prepositions of Time

    • antes [de] – before
      • Vi o homem antes de ir ao cinema – I saw the man before going to the cinema
      • Tenho que visitar uma tia antes da festa. – I have to visit a friend before the party.
    • dentro [de] – in
      • Vou ver a competição dentro de alguns minutos – I will see the competitionsin a few minutes
    • depois [de] – after
      • Vou ver o filme depois de amanhã – I will see the movie after tomorrow
      • Estarei em casa depois do trabalho. – I’ll be home after the work.
    • desde – since
      • Conheço essa mulher desde ontem – I know that woman since yesterday
      • Estou estudando espanhol desde as dez da manhã. – I’ve been studying Portuguese since ten in the morning.
    • durante – during / for
      • Vi o filme durante cinco minutos – I saw the movie for two minutes
    • entre – between
      • Vou encontrar-me com a mulher entre as onze e as doze – I will meet the woman between 11:00 and 12:00.
    • até – until
      • Viajo para Brasil até amanhã – I will travel to Brazil you until tomorrow
      • Vou estudar espanhol até as três da tarde. – I will study Portuguese until three in the afternoon.
    • em – in + months
      • Eu estarei em férias em Cusco. – I’ll be on vacation in Cusco.
    • em – in + year
      • Nasci em 1981. – I was born in 1981.
  • em + day – on the + day + month/ on + month + day
    • Nasci em trinta e um de maio. – I was born on the thirty-first of May. – or – I was born on May thirty-first.

Other prepositions

    • de – from [origin, possession, composition]
      • Este livro vem da América Latina – This book comes from América Latina
      • A Rússia é o maior país do mundo. – Russia is the largest country in the world.
      • É completamente de prata – It’s entirely made of silver
    • para – for/in order to [recipient, goal]
      • Este livro é para ti – This book is for you
    • por – for/because of [cause]
Por generally indicates an intermediate point of time.
    • Eu morei no Perú por 5 anos. – I lived in Peru for 5 years.
    • Você faria isso por mim? – Would you do that for me?
    • Obrigado por tudo. – Thanks for everything.
Por sometimes form contractions with definitive articles:

Definite Article













For / by / through + the

      • Dou-te este presente pela tua ajuda. – I give you this gift for you assistance.
      • Estilhaços voaram pelas janelas. – Shards flew through the windows.
      • Enviei o cartão pelo correio. – I sent the card by post.
      • Luis caminhou  pelos  campos. – Luis walked across the fields.
      • com – with
This preposition combines with many of the prepositional pronouns.
      • Vou com o meu tio – I go with my uncle.
    • contra – against
      • Sou contra o aborto – I’m against the miscarriage
    • sem – without
      • Vou sem o meu pai – I go without my father
  • sobre – about
    • Falo sobre a história – I speak about the history
  • por causa [de] – because of
  • menos – except, but
  • apesar [de] – despite, in spite of
  • a respeito [de] – regarding, concerning
  • conforme, segundo – according [to]
  • em vez [de] – instead [of]
  • junto [com] – together [with]

The use of the preposition “de”

This preposition is used to specify possession (of), origin (from), location (in, on), and material.
  • Comprei um anel de ouro. – I bought a gold ring.
  • Eles são de México. – They are from Mexico.
In some cases “de” is used with definite articles forming contractions. Generally these contractions are used to show the ownership of something.

Definite Article








De+ da das do dos From / of + the
  • O Brasil é o maior país da América Latina. – Brazil is the largest country in Latin America.
  • Ela não encontrou os agendas das amigas. – She did not find her friends’ notebooks.
  • Ele gosta dos novos amigos. – He likes the new friends.
  • Eu sou do Perú. – I am from Peru.
1) Eu vou viajar depois de amanhã. (I’m going to travel after tomorrow.) 2) João vai estudar Português comigo próximo ano. (João will study Portuguese with me next year.)/ Eu  estou com ela. (I’m with her) 3) O cachorro está dentro de casa. (The dog is inside the house.) 4) As chaves estao sob a mesa. (The keys are under the table.) 5) Eu quero encontrar você antes do pôr-do-sol. (I want to see you before the sunset.) 6) Onde você está? Eu estou em casa. (Where are you? I’m at home) 7) Entre eu e você só existe amizade. (Between me and you there is only friendship.) 8) Há sete alunos e um professor entre nós. (There are seven students and one teacher among us) Some verbs are also followed by preposition, such as GOSTAR, PRECISAR. In Portuguese these verbs are ALWAYS followed by the preposition “DE”(in English it is not necessary): Eg: Eu gosto de você. (I like you) Ana gosta de chocolate. (Ana likes chocolate.) Carlos gosta de feijoada. (Carlos likes feijoada.) Many students have difficulties to make difference between: DE and DO, DOS, DA, DAS. There are many situations where you can use them,  let’s see some exemples how to use it properly. First of all, remember that main preposition is “DE”, the other ones are combination of DE + articles: DE + A: DA (feminim, singular) DE + AS: DAS (feminim, plural) DE + O: DO (masculin, singular) DE + OS: DOS (masculin, plural)
  • DE:
__De onde você é? (Where are you from?) __Eu sou de Fortaleza. /Eu sou de Sao Paulo/ Eu sou de Brasília/ Eu sou de Bogotá/ Eu sou de Buenos Aires/ Eu sou de Londres. *exceptions: Rio de Janeiro and Bahia. Eu sou do Rio de Janeiro/ Eu sou da Bahia. Use “DE” when you’re talking about the city where you’re from.
__De onde você é? (Where are you from?) __ Eu sou do Brasil/do Japao/do Peru./da Colômbia/da Inglaterra/ da República Tcheca/dos Estados Unidos/das Ilhas Malvinas. *exceptions: Eu sou de Portugal./ Eu sou de Cuba Use DO/DA/DOS/DAS when you’re talking about the country you’re from. To use the correct preposition in this case you must learn the gender of the countries in Portuguese. We have a helpful list for you: Speak Portuguese Let’s look at the Prepositions, and then their contractions.
From Of About
[deh] EU [chee] BR
Do da dos das
From the Of the About the
To At (with time)
Ao À Aos Às
To the At the
Up to Until Even (e.g. Even Maria was there)
Até o Até a Até os Até as
Up to the Until + time Even the
In On At
No Na Nos Nas
In the On the At the
Por *
For Through Via By
Pelo Pela Pelos Pelas
For the Through The Via The By the
Para *
To Towards For (as aim) In orther to
Para o Para a Para os Para as
To the Towards the For the In order to
Com o Com a Com os Com as
With the
Sem o Sem a Sem os Sem as
Without the
Sobre o Sobre a Sobre os Sobre as
About the

Prepositions in German

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Prepositions in German

Prepositions are used as a union between a noun, verb or adjective with another noun, verb, adjective or adverb. The use of one preposition determines the case used for nouns, articles, adjectives and pronouns

Prepositions with Accusative

  • bis
  • durch
  • für
  • gegen
  • ohne
  • um
  • wider


  • until (LOCATIVE or TEMPORAL)

    bis bald (see you soon)

    bis in den Tod

    von Kopf bis Fuß (from head to toe)


  • by means of, through (LOCATIVE)

    Eine Reise durch Deutschland (a trip through Germany)

    Wir fahren durch den Fluss (we are driving through the river)


10 [geteilt] durch 5 ist gleich 2 (10 divided by 5 is 2)

Used in the construction of the passive voice:

Google wird durch Werbung finanziert (Google is financed by advertisements)

Important verbs followed by the preposition durch:

waten durch (to wade through)


  • for (PURPOSE)

    sterben für dich (to die for you)

  • of (PURPOSE)

    Institut für Allgemeine Physik (Institute of General Physics)

Contractions: fürs (für + das) Important verbs followed by the preposition für:
  • abstellen für (to send to)
  • adaptieren für (to adapt to/for)
  • agitieren für (to campaign for)
  • Geld ausgeben für (to spend money for)
  • bürgen für (to vouch for)
  • einstehen für (to be responsible for something)
  • sich entscheiden für (to decide on)
  • entschuldigen für (to apologize for)
  • interessieren für (to be interested in)
  • sorgen für (to take care of something)
  • vertauschen für (to change for)


  • against (LOCAL)

    Kampf gegen den Krebs (the fight against cancer)

    gegen die Wand (against the wall)

  • toward, about, approximately (TEMPORAL)

    Er kommt gegen 9.00 ins Büro (He’s coming to the office at 9:00) [approximately]

Important verbs followed by the preposition gegen:
  • abdichten gegen (to seal against)
  • abhärten gegen (to strengthen against)
  • abschirmen gegen (to protect against)
  • agitieren gegen (to campaign against)
  • protestieren gegen (to protest against)


  • Welt ohne Krieg (a world without war)


  • at (TEMPORAL)

    um zehn Uhr (at ten o’clock)

    um ein Haar(very nearly)

  • at, around (LOCAL)

    um die Ecke (around the corner)

Important verbs followed by the preposition um:
  • bitten um (to ask for/ to request)
  • kümmern um (to care for)


  • against

    Er handelt wider das Gesetz (He is acting against the law)

    Wider Erwarten kam der Gast doch noch (Against all expectations, the guest arrived)

Prepositions with Dative

  • ab
  • aus
  • außer
  • bei
  • entgegen
  • entsprechend
  • mit
  • nach
  • seit
  • von
  • zu


  • starting at/on (TIME)

    ab dem 24. Februar (starting on the 24th of February)

  • from (PLACE, ORIGIN)

    Wir fliegen ab Köln (we fly from Cologne)


  • from (PLACE, origin)

    Wein aus Italien (Wine from Italy)

    Ich komme aus Spanien (I come from Spain)

    Wir kommen aus der Stadt (We come from the city)

  • from, out of (MATERIAL)

    Tisch aus Holz (Table out of wood)

Important verbs followed by the preposition aus:
  • auswählen aus (select from)
  • bestehen aus (consists of, to be composed of)
  • ableiten aus (to derive from)
  • kommen aus (to come from)
  • vertreiben aus (to expel from)


  • without

    Außer der Liebe nichts (Nothing else besides love)

    Wir sprechen alles außer Hochdeutsch (We speak everything except high German)

  • (expressions)

    außer Betrieb (out of service)


  • next to, near to (PLACE)

    Die Schule ist bei der Apotheke (the school is next to the pharmacy)

  • in, with, at

    Ich arbeite bei Porsche (I work at Porsche)

    bei Montage (during assembly)

Contractions: beim (bei + dem) Main article: preposition bei


  • against, contrary to

    entgegen allen Erwartungen (contrary to all expectations)

  • (expressions)

    entgegen dem Uhrzeigersinn (counter-clockwise)


  • according to

    entsprechend dieser Regel (according to this rule)

    den Umständen entsprechend (according to the circumstances)


  • with (MODAL)

    Spiel mit mir (Play with me)

    Er reist mit dem Fahrrad (He’s traveling with his bike)

Important verbs followed by the preposition mit:
  • ausrüsten mit (to equip with)
  • beginnen mit (to begin with)
  • eindecken mit (to supply with)
  • hantieren mit (to be busy with, to temper with)
  • multiplizieren mit (to multiply by)
  • protzen mit (to make a show of)
  • rechnen mit (to count on, reckon)
  • reden mit (to talk with)
  • sprechen mit (to speak with)
  • teilen mit (to share with)
  • sich treffen mit (to meet with)
  • zusammenhängen mit (to be related with)


  • to, toward (LOCATIVE)

    Sie geht nach Berlin (She’s going to Berlin)

    nach is used for cities or countries that don’t have an article – Expression: nach Hause ([I’m going] home)
  • to (LOCATIVE)

    nach links (to the left)

  • after (TEMPORAL)

    Sie studiert nach der Arbeit (She studies after work)

Main article: preposition nach


  • since (TEMPORAL)

    Besucher seit 2008 (visitors since 2008)



    das Lied von der Erde (the song from the Earth)

Contractions: vom (von + dem) Important verbs followed by the preposition von:
  • abbringen von (to dissuade from)
  • abhängen von (to depend on)
  • ablassen von (to desist from)
  • abschreiben von (to copy from)
  • abweichen von (to deviate from)
  • entbinden von (to absolve from)
  • zurücktreten von (to resign from/ to back out of)
Used in the construction of the passive voice:

Google wurde von 2 Mathematikern gemacht (Google was made by 2 mathematicians)


  • towards

    er kommt zu mir (he is coming to me)

    “Zu” is used with the meaning of to – when we are heading to a person or a specific place (with a name)
  • on, at, to

    Er kommt zu Fuß (He’s coming on foot)

    Übergang zu der Demokratie (Transition to democracy)


    Ich bleibe zu Hause (I stay at home)

    Der Weg zum Meer (The way to the sea)

    Informationen zu Italien (Information on Italy)

Contractions: zum (zu + dem), zur (zu + der) Main article: preposition zu

Prepositions with Genitive

  • anstatt
  • aufgrund
  • außerhalb
  • dank
  • statt
  • während
  • wegen


  • instead of

    Ich will anstatt der Pommes lieber mehr Salat (I want more salad instead of French fries)


  • due to, based on

    Diskriminierung aufgrund des Glaubens (Discrimination due to beliefs)


  • outside of, out of

    Außerhalb des Bereichs (Out of the area)


  • thanks to

    Dank deines Tipps hat es geklappt (It worked thanks to your tip)


  • instead of

    Sie gab ihren Schmuck statt des Gelds (She gave her jewelry instead of the money)


  • during

    Während des Jahres 2008 (During 2008)


  • because of, due to

    Wegen eines Fehlers (Due to a mistake)

Important verbs followed by the preposition wegen:
  • zerstreiten wegen (to quarrel because of)

Prepositions with Accusative/Dative

They are also called “Wechselpräpositionen”. They are accusative if they indicate movement and dative if they indicate a state (of rest).
  • an
  • auf
  • hinter
  • in
  • neben
  • über
  • unter
  • vor
  • zwischen
There are some verbs that always indicate movement and other that always indicate a state of rest.
Verbs of movement (regular and transitive) Verbs of state (irregular and intransitive)


  • on, in, next to

    Wenn ich an deiner Stelle wäre, würde ich … (If I were in your position, I would…)


    Am Sonntag (On Sunday)

    Am Abend (in the evening)

Contractions: am (an + dem), ans (an + das) Main Article: preposition ‘an’ auf


  • in, about, on
Contractions: aufs (auf + das) Important verbs with auf:
  • absetzen auf (to set down on)
  • achten auf (to pay attention to)
  • achtgeben auf (to look out for)
  • anstoßen auf (to toast for)
  • antworten auf (to reply to)
  • ausweisen auf (to expel from)
  • sich freuen auf (to be happy about)
  • warten auf (to wait for)
  • zielen auf (to aim for)
  • zuschießen auf (to hurdle toward)
Main article: preposition auf


  • behind

    Gehen Sie bitte hinter das Haus (Please go behind the house)



  • in, inside
Important verbs followed by the preposition in:
  • einbauen in (to insert into)
  • einbinden in (to include in)
  • sich verlieben in (to fall in love with)
  • versunken in (to engulfed in)
  • zerteilen in (to divide into)
Contractions: im (in + dem), ins (in + das) Main article: preposition in


  • next to, near


  • over, about, on top of (but without contact)
Important verbs followed by the preposition “über”:
  • nachdenken über (to think about)
  • reden über (to talk about)


  • under

    Die Ente liegt unter dem Tisch (The duck is under the table) vor


  • in front of

    Sie wartet vor der Schule (She is waiting in front of)

  • ago

    Ich bin vor vier Jahren nach Deutschland gekommen (I arrived in Germany four years ago)



  • between

    Ein Vertrag zwischen Vatikan und der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg (A contract between the Vatican and the free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg)


German Prepositions taking the Accusative Case

Spoken German Classes

German Prepositions taking the Accusative Case

In German, prepositions can be followed by different cases. An accusative preposition will always be followed by an object (a noun or pronoun) in the accusative case. There are two kinds of accusative prepositions: (1) those that are always accusative and never anything else, and (2) certain “two-way” prepositions that can be either accusative or dative, depending on how they are used. See the chart below for a complete list of each type. Luckily, there are only five accusative prepositions you need to learn and memorize. Another thing that makes this group of prepositions easier is the fact that only the masculine gender (der) changes in the accusative case. Neither the plural nor the feminine (die) and neuter (das) genders change in the accusative. In the German-English examples below, the accusative preposition is bolded. The object of the preposition is italicized:
  • Without  money  it could not . | Without  money  it will not work.
  • She goes  the river  along. |  She is walking  along  the river.
  • He works  for  a big company . |  He works  for  a big company .
  • We drive  through  the city . |  We’re driving  through  the city .
  • Do you write a letter  to  your father? Are you writing a letter  to  your father ?
Notice in the second example above that the object (Fluss) comes before the preposition (entlang). Some German prepositions use this reverse word order, but the object must still be in the correct case. Here is a list of the accusative-only prepositions and their English translations. The most commonly used are italicized.
Accusative Prepositions
Deutsch English
up * until, to, by
by through, by
along along, down
NOTE: The accusative preposition entlang, unlike the others, usually goes after its object, as in the example above.
For for
against against, for
without without
one around, for; at (time)
*NOTE: The German preposition bis is technically an accusative preposition, but it is almost always used with a second preposition (bis zu, bis auf, etc.) in a different case, or without an article (bis April, bis Montag, bis Bonn).
German Language
Two-Way Prepositions Accusative/Dative
NOTE: The meaning of a two-way preposition often depends on whether it is used with the accusative or dative case. See below for the grammar rules.
Deutsch Englisch
an at, on, to
auf at, to, on, upon
hinter behind
in in, into
neben beside, near, next to
über about, above, across, over
unter under, among
vor in front of, before; ago (time)
zwischen between
The basic rule for determining whether a two-way preposition should have an object in the accusative or dative case is motion versus location. If there is motion towards something or to a specific location (wohin?, where to?), then usually the object is accusative. If there is no motion at all or random motion going nowhere in particular (wo?, where (at)?), then that is usually dative. This rule applies only to the so-called “two-way” or “dual” prepositions in German. (For example, a dative-only preposition like nach is always dative, whether there is motion or not.) Here are two sets of examples showing motion versus location:
  • Wir gehen ins Kino. (in das, accus.) | We’re going to the movies/cinema. (motion towards)
  • We are  in the cinema.  ( Where, dat. ) | We’re  at the movies / cinema . (location)
  • Put the book  on the table.  ( Accusative ) | Put / Lay the book on the table. (motion towards)
  • The book is  on the table.  ( Dative ) | The book’s lying  on the table. (Location)
Accusative Prepositions
prepositions Examples  – Examples
by  through, by by the city  through the city through the forest  through the forest by the wind  (Caused) by the wind
along  along, down the road  down the street along the river  along the river Walk along this road.  Go down this path.
NOTE: Remember, entlang usually goes follows its object, as above.
for  for for the book  for the book for him  for him for me  for me
compared  against, for against all expectations  against all expectations against the wall  against the wall against headache  (medicine) for a headache against me  against me
without  without without the car  without the car without him  him without without me  without me (count me out)
um around, for, at the lake  around the lake to a spot  (apply) for a job he is applying for a job.  He’s applying for a position. At ten o’clock  at ten o’clock
them  I mich me
du you (fam.) you  you
er he sie she es it him  him they  ago it  it
we  we us  us
her  you (guys) you  you (guys)
they  they they  them
You  you (formal) You  you (formal)
da- Compounds
All of the accusative prepositions except “entlang,” “ohne” and “bis” form what are called “da-compounds” to express what would be a prepositional phrase in English. Da-compounds are not used for people (personal pronouns). Prepositions beginning with a vowel add a connecting r. See the examples below.
dadurch through it, by it by him / her  through him / her
it  for it for him / her  for him / her
hand  against it against him / her  against him / her
therefore  for that reason around him / her  around him / her
A single German two-way preposition—such as in or auf—may have more than one English translation, as you can see above. In addition, you’ll find many of these prepositions have yet another meaning in common everyday idioms and expressions: auf dem Lande (in the country), um drei Uhr (at three o’clock), unter uns (among us), am Mittwoch (on Wednesday), vor einer Woche (a week ago), etc. Such expressions can be learned as vocabulary without worrying about the grammar involved.  

Greetings and Introduction in German

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Greetings and Introduction in German

How do you say hello and introduce yourself in German? The basics of the German language. Greetings, saying goodbye and basic phrases to start speaking German Welcome to the first article for learning German from Lingua World. We hope that the material we have prepared is helpful to you. Here we go!

Saying hello

hallo Hello in German is as easy as saying:

Hallo! Hello!

The following is a list of the most common greetings in German:
Greetings Meaning
Hallo Hello
Servus Hello (southern Germany)
Moin Hello (northern Germany)
Grüß Dich Hello (informal)
Grüß Gott Hello (southern Germany)
Guten Morgen Good morning (until 10:00)
Guten Tag Good morning (from about 10:00 to 5:00)
Mahlzeit Good morning (from 11:00 to 1:00)
Moin moin Good morning (northern Germany)
Guten Abend Good evening (starting at around 5:00)
Gute Nacht Good night
Sehr geehrter Herr Merkel Dear Mr. Merkel (only in letters or e-mails)
Sehr geehrte Frau Merkel Dear Mrs. Merkel (only in letters or e-mails)

Saying our name

We usually have to say our name when we introduce ourselves:

Mein Name ist Karl My name is Karl


Ich heiße Karl My name is Karl

or more simple with the verb sein (to be):

Ich bin Karl I’m Karl

Asking what another person’s name is


Wie heißen Sie? What’s your name?

To remain polite when we mention the name of another person, we do so with their last name preceded byHerr (Mr.) or by Frau (Mrs.). the informal way:

Wie heißt Du? What’s your name?

With the informal way we can refer to another person with their first name.

Saying what our profession is

Spoken German One of the phrases that you will be asked most is what you do. A simple way to answer is:

Ich bin Lehrer I’m a teacher


Ich arbeite als Lehrer I work as a teacher

Asking what another person’s profession is

The formal way:

Was sind Sie von Beruf? What’s your profession?

Was machen Sie beruflich? What do you do for a living?

The informal way:

Was bist Du von Beruf? What’s your profession?

Was machst Du beruflich? What do you do for a living?

Saying Your Age

To say how old you are is simple:

Ich bin 30 Jahre alt I’m 30 years old

Click on this link if you would like to review numbers in German.

Asking how old someone is

The formal way:

Wie alt sind Sie? How old are you?

The informal way:

Wie alt bist Du? How old are you?

Saying where you are from

German Classes The masculine form:

Ich bin Argentinier I’m Argentinian

The feminine form:

Ich bin Argentinierin I’m Argentinian

Where we are from and where we live

Learning these phrases is not a bad idea; you’ll have to use them hundreds of times:

Ich komme aus Madrid I’m from Madrid

Ich wohne in Stuttgart I live in Stuttgart

Asking about someone’s nationality

Welche Staatsangehörigkeit haben Sie? What’s your nationality?

Language knowledge

We will frequently have to talk about which languages we know:

Ich spreche Spanisch, Englisch und Deutsch I speak Spanish, English and German

Ich spreche kein Deutsch [formal or informal] I don’t speak German

Ich kann kein Deutsch I don’t speak any German

Ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch I speak a little German

Asking about someone’s German


Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Do you speak German?


Sprichst du Deutsch? Do you speak German?

Being Polite

Danke Thanks

Vielen Dank Thanks a lot

Bitte You’re welcome / no problem (response to “Danke”)

What to say at special occasions

Frohe Weihnachten Merry Christmas

Frohes neues Jahr Happy New Year

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag Happy Birthday

Saying Goodbye

The most common way to say goodbye is:

Tschüss !!!! Bye!

In addition, below are the most common ways to say goodbye:
Ways to say goodbye Meaning
Tschüss goodbye
Ciao goodbye
Ade goodbye
Auf Wiedersehen see you
Auf Wiederhören goodbye (only on the phone)
Bis bald see you soon
Bis später see you later
Mit freundlichen Grüßen Sincerely (formal way to say goodbye in letters or e-mails)
Mit herzlichen Grüßen Kind regards (informal way to say goodbye in letters or e-mails)


We are not going to be too tough on you because it’s the first lesson. It’s okay if you learn to say:

Hallo Hello

Mein Name ist … My name is …

Bis bald See you soon

I don’t think that was difficult, we’ll see each other in the next German language article.

Tschüss !!!! Goodbye


Negation and Affirmation in German

German Classes

Negation and Affirmation

No in German. The types of negation: “nein”, “nicht”, “kein”, “nie”, “niemand”, “nichts”…


We form negative sentences in German with the words nicht and kein.

Using «nicht»

We use nicht for the negation:
  • of verbs (nicht comes at the end of the sentence with simple tenses, but with compound tenses it comes before the full verb at the end of the sentence)
    Er schläft nicht.
    Er hat gestern Nacht nicht geschlafen.
  • of nouns with definite articles or possessive pronouns (nicht comes before the definite article)
    Er hat nicht das Essen bezahlt, sondern die Getränke.
    Ich habe nicht seine Adresse, sondern ihre.
  • of proper names (nicht comes before the proper name)
    Das ist nicht Udos Auto, sondern Susis.
  • of pronouns (nicht comes before the pronoun)
    Ich habe nicht dich gerufen, sondern Petra.
  • of adjectives (nicht comes before the adjective)
    Das ist nicht fair!
  • of adverbs (nicht comes before the adverb)
    Sie geht nicht gerne schwimmen.
  • of place, time, and manner (nicht comes before the preposition that goes with the indicator of place/time/manner)
    Wir wohnen nicht in Berlin.
    Der Zug kommt nicht um 18 Uhr an.
    Otto hat das Loch nicht mit dem Spaten gegraben.

To Note

Except with verbs, nicht always comes before the word it negates.

Using «kein»

We use kein:
  • with nouns that don’t have an article
    Ich habe Hunger. – Ich habe keinen Hunger.
  • instead of an indefinite article
    Das ist eine Katze. – Das ist keine Katze.
The endings for kein match the endings of the possessive articles (see table below).
nominative genitive dative accusative
masculine kein keines keinem keinen
feminine keine keiner keiner keine
neuter kein keines keinem kein
plural keine keiner keinen keine

Using «kein/nicht» with nouns

In comparisons with sondern we can use both kein and nicht.
Ich habe nicht Kaffee, sondern Tee bestellt.
Ich habe keinen Kaffee, sondern Tee bestellt.
Sie hat sich nicht eine Jacke gekauft, sondern eine Hose.
Sie hat sich keine Jacke gekauft, sondern eine Hose.

Types of Negation: “Nein”, “nicht”, “kein”


We use “nein” when we answer negatively to a direct question.

Hast du einen Kuli? Nein Do you have a pen? No


We use “nicht” in several cases:
  • When we negate a verb.

Willst du kommen? Nein, ich will nicht gehen . Do you want to come? No, I do not want to go

  • When we negate an adjective or adverb.

Dieses Auto ist nicht groß This car is not big


It can be translated as “none”. We recommend that you study the pronoun “kein” in detail because the way it functions is not obvious and it is used very often in German. “Kein” has 2 functions:
  • attributive (accompanying a noun)
  • not attributive, without an article

“Kein” with an attributive function

When “kein” comes before a noun (attributive function) its function is similar to that of an article:

Hast du einen Kuli? nein, ich habe keinen Kuli Do you have pen? No, I don’t have a pen.

Declension of “Kein” (attributive) It is declined as the indefinte article, except in plural forms:
Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative kein keine kein keine
Accusative keinen keine kein keine
Dative keinem keiner keinem keinen
Genitive keines keiner keines keiner

“Kein” with no attributive function and without an article

Hast du ein Auto? Nein, ich habe keines . Do you have a car? No, I don’t have one.

“Kein” without an attributive function is declined with the strong declension:
Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative keiner keine keines keine
Accusative keinen keine keines keine
Dative keinem keiner keinem keinen
Genitive keines keiner keines keiner

Other types of negation

The particles nichts, nie and niemand are also used for negation:
  • nichts (nothing)

Ich habe nichts zu verlieren I have nothing to lose

    • nie (never)

      Ich war nie dort I was never there

    • niemand (no one/nobody)

Niemand war dort No one/nobody was there

The affirmation “Ja”

“Ja” means “yes” and, just like in English, it is used to answer closed questions:

Hast du Kulis? Ja, ich habe drei . Do you have pens? Yes, I have three.

Answering questions with negation: “Doch” and “Nein”

Questions are often asked in German with negation. We could answer negatively to this type of question with “nein” or affirmatively with “doch.”

Hast du keinen Kuli? Nein, ich habe keinen Kuli. Don’t you have a pen? No, I don’t have a pen.

Hast du keinen Kuli? Doch, ich habe drei. Don’t you have a pen? Yes, I have three.


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