Portuguese AR verbs — Are They Really That Easy?
You may have heard it from your teacher — or even from me — if you have learned Brazilian Portuguese for some time.
“The Portuguese AR verbs are the easiest to learn.”
But is that true?
It is, but with some caveats. Read on and find out what they are and pick up some tricks that will help you express yourself with even more ease.
The three big groups
In Brazilian Portuguese, verbs are divided into three big groups:
- verbs ending in AR (this group)
- verbs ending in ER
- and verbs ending in IR
And those verb groups are just like McDonald’s restaurants. Even though you can get the Mac burger in any of them, some franchises are bigger than others (terrible comparison…).
The biggest group is by far the ones with the verbs ending in AR.
But Eli, you’ve been talking all this time about verbs ending in AR and I don’t even know how to identify them.
Well, that’s quite easy.
What Are Verb Stems and How Do They Help You Understand Portuguese Verbs?
Verbs in Portuguese are comprised of two parts — the stem and the ending.
You can see them better in the dictionary. And whenever I refer to the verb as you find them in the dictionary I’ll be using “the dictionary form of the verb”. That’s also known as “the infinitive”.
When you have the dictionary form of a verb, take a look at the two last letters.
- Falar. To speak.
In the example above, the two last letters are the verbs ending. It’s an AR verb.
And the remaining part is called the verb stem. You must append the verb endings of the conjugations to the verb stem when you speak or write Portuguese.
- Eu falo com você. I speak with you.
If you are able to single out the verb stem, you’ll manage to manipulate verbs very easily.
Now, back to the AR verbs.
Good news — most of the AR verbs in Portuguese are regular.
And that’s very good news. You don’t have to worry much about their conjugation.
Just to give you an example, I include here a simple table with three verbs conjugate in the present tense.
|pronouns||Viajar (travel)||Comprar (buy)||Falar (speak)|
|você, ele / ela, a gente||viaja||compra||fala|
|vocês, eles / elas||viajam||compram||falam|
- Eu sempre viajo nas minhas férias. I always travel in my vacations.
- Não compro esse tipo de roupa. Não gosto. I don’t buy this kind of clothing. I don’t like it.
- Falo português e alemão.I speak Portuguese and German.
You notice that the verb stem doesn’t change. And the endings are regular.
But it’s not always like that. In a moment I’ll tell you why. But first…
First, I would like to take a moment and tell you why I don’t include all conjugation tables here.
Why Conjugation Tables Won’t Help Us… Here
I, for one, think they are very in productive use of my space on this website. It would be unnecessarily long.
And there is a better resource I always recommend to my students and readers — it’s the https://conjugacao.com.br.
I suggest you visit this website, bookmark it, and use it whenever you have a question about the conjugation of any given verb.
Now, with that out of the way, let me point out some important aspects to you.
Almost all of them are regular but —
The following verbs present some differences that their brothers and sisters don’t have.
You either add a vowel to them to make them easier to pronounce…
Or pronounce them differently and need to use an accent to indicate that…
Or must learn completely different forms for some conjugations…
Verbs Ending in -EAR
With verbs ending in -EAR, you’ll be adding an extra “i” in some tenses. See the examples below.
Verbs: passear (stroll, go for a walk), presentear (give as a gift)
- Eu sempre passeio com meu cachorro depois do trabalho. I always walk my dog after work.
- O filho presenteia a mãe com uma bicicleta. The son gifts the mother a bike.
Verbs Ending in -DIAR
Specifically with the verb “to hate” you need to add the letter E to make it easier to pronounce in some tenses and forms.
Verbs: odiar, remediar (remedy), mediar (mediate – as in mediate a conflict)
- Eu odeio brócolis com arroz. I hate brocolli with rice.
Again, I’m not going to include all the conjugations here because you know by now where you can find them more conveniently.
A mind-boggling trick to increase your vocabulary with the step of fingers
I am as opposed to “life hacks” as one can be. Some other day I will explain to you why…
But I’m not completely opposed to language hacks.
And now I’m giving one to you. Use it wisely and at your discretion.
Whenever an English noun ending in —ATION meaning an action (so “nation” is definitely out), you can try this.
First, transform it into a Portuguese word.
- Transformation >>>Transformação.
Then remove the -ação part. And lastly, add the verb ending AR.
- Transform- >>> transformar.
And shazam! You have a new verb in your vocabulary bank.
Does it work every time?
Obviously not. That’s why I stress the word try. But if you try it and it’s wrong, it won’t be too far from the actual word you need or want.
Unless it’s “translation”, which in Portuguese is “tradução” — it comes from an IR verb. And pronunciation isn’t pronunciação, but rather pronúncia (and the infinitive is “pronunciar”).
Other verbs that can be found this way.
Another linguistic hack you should be aware of
Being an internationally used language, English has made incursions into other languages.
And since Portuguese is so receptive — at least Brazilian Portuguese — we accepted bucket loads of words coming from English.
Whenever a new English word enters the Portuguese language, it’s given a “Portuguese vocabulary starter pack” — a gender, if it is a noun, or a verb ending, if it’s a verb.
And all the verbs coming into the Portuguese language this way are regular AR verbs.
You’ll find them more profusely in the technology field.
Can you identify some of the words below?
- to set
- to reboot
- to check
Keep your ears wide open to those words.
If you somehow are involved in the technology field – or if you simply need to reboot your computer — you’ll probably end up using one of those words.
Now, now, let’s see what we’ve learned
Now you have the best introduction to the verbs ending in AR in Portuguese.
You also know that most of them are regular, and you know which ones are not.
Of course, this is just a brief introduction.
You’ll still need to understand the tenses and how to put them together in a sentence form.
If you want to master the Portuguese verb tense system, I suggest you grab today your complementary verb report.
It has been a mainstay of our Portuguese instruction materials, and a few hundred students have used it to great benefit.
To download your complimentary copy, please visit the report page by clicking here. There, you’ll need to fill out a simple form.
And if you have any questions about this article, leave them below.
Quick question: would you know what the verb “resetar” means in Portuguese?