This lesson provides an overview of Portuguese personal pronouns, as well as some notes on their usage. As in English, Portuguese pronouns replace nouns and thus help avoid repetition. Portuguese has six types of pronouns: personal, possessive, demonstrative, relative, interrogative, and indefinite. The personal pronouns themselves fall into five categories depending on their usage: subject, reflexive, prepositional, direct object, and indirect object.
Subject pronouns take the place of the subject of a sentence. They are among the most frequently used personal pronouns.
|Subject Pronoun||English Equivalent|
|o senhor/a senhora||you (formal)|
|vocês||(all of) you|
Tu introduces a new verb form. While tu is common in Brazilian Portuguese, it is rarely used in most other regions/dialects. A senhor and a senhora are used formal situations and when addressing your elders or superiors. A gente is an colloquial pronoun used in informal speech. Despite meaning “we,” it takes a singular verb. Elas, the feminine plural of “they,” is used only to replace feminine plural nouns.
A reflexive pronoun follows a reflexive verb, that is to say a verb whose action refers back to the subject. A few things to keep in mind: First, a Portuguese reflexive verb may not translate to a reflexive verb in English. So there are situations in Portuguese where reflexive pronouns need to be included where they would not be in English. Second, a reciprocal action that refers to two or more people is equivalent to saying “each other” in English. Finally, it is common to place the reflexive pronoun before the verb in Brazilian Portuguese.
|Reflexive Pronoun||English Equivalent|
These are used in combination with prepositions. Some prepositional pronouns are contractions of a pronoun and a preposition (see below). Note that si and consigo are normally used in only written Portuguese.
|Prepositional Pronoun||English Equivalent|
|o senhor/a senhora||you|
|vós||(all of) you|
|vocês||(all of) you|
|os senhores/as senhoras||(all of) you|
|si||them, (all of) you [general]|
The preposition com (with) is combined with many of the prepositional pronouns to form a single word. You must use the contraction in these instances. For example, you cannot say con mi when meaning “with me.” You have to use comigo instead.
|Prepositional Pronoun||English Equivalent
|com você||with you|
|com o senhor/com a senhora||with you|
|com ele, com ela||with him/with her|
|consigo||with him/with her/with you [general]|
|connosco (Brazil = conosco)||with us|
|convosco*||with (all of) you|
|com vocês||with (all of) you|
|com os senhores/com as senhoras||with (all of) you|
|com eles/com elas||with them|
|consigo||with them/with (all of) you [general]|
Direct Object Pronouns
As in English, direct object pronouns replace the direct object of the sentence. They help to add variety to sentences and avoid repetition. Direct object pronouns are normally place before the verb in Brazilian Portuguese. Note that lo, la, los, and las are used after the infinitive form of a verb.
|Direct Object Pronoun||English Equivalent|
|os/as/los/las||(all of) you|
Indirect Object Pronouns
Like direct object pronouns, these take the place of indirect objects in a sentence. Also like direct object pronouns, they usually come before the verb in Brazilian Portuguese.
|Indirect Object Pronoun||English Equivalent|
|para mim||to/for me|
|para você||to/for you|
|para o senhor/para a senhora||to/for you|
|para ele/ela||to/for him/her|
|para nós||to/for us|
|lhes||(all of) you|
|para vocês||to/for (all of) you|
|para eles/elas||to/for them|