Portuguese verb conjugation

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Portuguese verbs display a high degree of inflection. A typical regular verb has over fifty different forms, expressing up to six different grammatical tenses and three moods. Two forms are peculiar to Portuguese within the Romance languages:

It has also several verbal periphrases.

Overview[edit]

Portuguese verbs have the following properties.

1. Two numbers—singular, plural
2. Three persons—first, second, third
3. Three aspects—perfective, imperfective, progressive*
4. Two voices—active, passive*
5. Six morphological forms for tenses, aspects, and/or moods — present, preterite, imperfect, pluperfect, future, and conditional.
6. Three (or four) moods—indicative, subjunctive, imperative (and conditional, according to some authors)

Classes with an asterisk are entirely periphrastic. The passive voice can be constructed in two different ways. The pluperfect and the future of the indicative mood, as well as the conditional form, are often replaced with other verbal constructions or verbal periphrases in the spoken language.

Basic tenses and forms[edit]

Conjugation is demonstrated here with the important irregular verb fazer "to do". The Portuguese names of the tenses (tempos) and forms (modos) are given along with their English translations.

number person Indicative form Conditional(3)
Present Preterite Imperfect Pluperfect(1) Future(2)
singular 1st faço fiz fazia fizera farei faria
2nd fazes fizeste fazias fizeras farás farias
3rd faz fez fazia fizera fará faria
plural 1st fazemos fizemos fazíamos fizéramos faremos faríamos
2nd fazeis fizestes fazíeis fizéreis fareis faríeis
3rd fazem fizeram faziam fizeram farão fariam
number person Subjunctive form Personal
infinitive(4)
Present Preterite Imperfect Pluperfect Future(4)
singular 1st faça tenha feito fizesse tivesse feito fizer fazer
2nd faças tenhas feito fizesses tivesses feito fizeres fazeres
3rd faça tenha feito fizesse tivesse feito fizer fazer
plural 1st façamos tenhamos feito fizéssemos tivéssemos feito fizermos fazermos
2nd façais tenhais feito fizésseis tivésseis feito fizerdes fazerdes
3rd façam tenham feito fizessem tivessem feito fizerem fazerem
Imperative form(5) Infinitive fazer
2nd pers. sing. faz/ faze Past participle feito
3rd pers. sing. faça Present participle faciente
2nd pers. plur. fazei Gerund fazendo

Or in English (escrever, "to write"):

(Eu) Basic Progressive Perfect Perfect progressive
Present Escrevo Estou escrevendo Tenho escrito Tenho estado escrevendo
Past Escrevi Estava escrevendo Tinha escrito Tinha estado escrevendo
Future Escreverei Estarei escrevendo Terei escrito Terei estado escrevendo

Notes[edit]

  1. The pluperfect indicative can also be expressed with an equivalent periphrasis.
  2. The future indicative is usually replaced with a periphrasis or the present indicative in the spoken language.
  3. The Portuguese conditional is sometimes replaced with a periphrasis or with the imperfect indicative in the spoken language. Some authors regard it as a form of its own, others treat it as a tense of the indicative form.
  4. In regular verbs, the future subjunctive and the personal infinitive are formally identical.
  5. See the section on the imperative, below.

Description[edit]

The tenses correspond to:

  • Present (presente): "I do" or "I am doing".
  • Preterite (pretérito, or pretérito perfeito): "I did" or "I have done".
  • Imperfect (imperfeito, or pretérito imperfeito): "I did", "I used to do", "I was doing".
  • Pluperfect (mais-que-perfeito, or pretérito mais-que-perfeito): "I had done".
  • Future (futuro, or futuro do presente in Brazilian Portuguese): "I will do", "I am going to do".
  • Conditional (condicional, or futuro do pretérito in Brazilian Portuguese): "I would do". Used in some types of conditional sentences, as a form of courtesy, or as a future-in-the-past.

The five non-finite forms generally correspond to:

  • (Impersonal) infinitive (infinitivo, or infinitivo impessoal): equivalent to English "to do".
  • Past participle (particípio, or particípio passado): equivalent to English "done".
  • Present participle (particípio presente): equivalent to English "doing".
  • Gerund (gerúndio): equivalent to English "doing".
  • Personal infinitive (infinitivo pessoal): "(for me) to do", an infinitive which inflects according to its subject; a rare feature that Portuguese shares with Galician.

The forms are used roughly as follows:

  • Indicative (indicativo): for factual statements or positive beliefs. Example of an English equivalent: "I have done".
  • Subjunctive (subjuntivo, or conjuntivo): mostly used when speaking of unreal, uncertain, or unassumed conditions: "Were I to do".
  • Imperative (imperativo): for direct commands or requests; equivalent to the English "Do!"

For the Portuguese personal pronouns (which are omitted whenever they can be inferred from the form of the conjugated verb or the context), see Portuguese personal pronouns and possessives.

Conjugations[edit]

Regular verbs belong to one of three conjugation classes, distinguished by the ending of their infinitive forms (which is also their citation form):

  • Those whose infinitive ends in -ar belong to the first conjugation (e.g. lavar, matar, ladrar);
  • Those whose infinitive ends in -er belong to the second conjugation (e.g. correr, comer, colher);
  • Those whose infinitive ends in -ir belong to the third conjugation (e.g. partir, destruir, urdir);

The verb pôr is conventionally placed in the second conjugation by many authors, since it is derived from Old Portuguese poer (Latin ponere). In any event, this is an irregular verb whose conjugation must be learned on its own. Other verbs with infinitives ending in -or, such as depor, compor, and propor are derivatives of pôr, and are conjugated in the same way.

First conjugation (cantar)[edit]

  • Non-finite forms
    • Infinitive: cantar
    • Gerund: cantando
    • Past participle: cantado
    • Present participle: cantando
    • Personal infinitives: cantar, cantares, cantar, cantarmos, cantardes, cantarem
  • Indicative
    • Present: canto, cantas, canta, cantamos, cantais, cantam
    • Imperfect: cantava, cantavas, cantava, cantávamos, cantáveis, cantavam
    • Preterite: cantei, cantaste, cantou, cantámos (EP) or cantamos (BP), cantastes, cantaram
    • Pluperfect: cantara, cantaras, cantara, cantáramos, cantáreis, cantaram
    • Future: cantarei, cantarás, cantará, cantaremos, cantareis, cantarão
    • Conditional (Preterite Future): cantaria, cantarias, cantaria, cantaríamos, cantaríeis, cantariam
  • Subjunctive
    • Present: cante, cantes, cante, cantemos, canteis, cantem
    • Imperfect: cantasse, cantasses, cantasse, cantássemos, cantásseis, cantassem
    • Future: cantar, cantares, cantar, cantarmos, cantardes, cantarem
  • Imperative
    • canta (tu), cante (você), cantemos (nós), cantai (vós), cantem (vocês)

Second conjugation (comer)[edit]

  • Non-finite forms
    • Infinitive: comer
    • Gerund: comendo
    • Past participle: comido
    • Personal infinitives: comer, comeres, comer, comermos, comerdes, comerem
  • Indicative
    • Present: como, comes, come, comemos, comeis, comem
    • Imperfect: comia, comias, comia, comíamos, comíeis, comiam
    • Preterite: comi, comeste, comeu, comemos, comestes, comeram
    • Pluperfect: comera, comeras, comera, comêramos, comêreis, comeram
    • Future: comerei, comerás, comerá, comeremos, comereis, comerão
    • Conditional: comeria, comerias, comeria, comeríamos, comeríeis, comeriam
  • Subjunctive
    • Present: coma, comas, coma, comamos, comais, comam
    • Imperfect: comesse, comesses, comesse, comêssemos, comêsseis, comessem
    • Future: comer, comeres, comer, comermos, comerdes, comerem
  • Imperative
    • come (tu), coma (você), comamos (nós), comei (vós), comam (vocês)

Third conjugation (partir)[edit]

  • Non-finite forms
    • Infinitive: partir
    • Gerund: partindo
    • Past participle: partido
    • Personal infinitives: partir, partires, partir, partirmos, partirdes, partirem
  • Indicative
    • Present: parto, partes, parte, partimos, partis, partem
    • Imperfect: partia, partias, partia, partíamos, partíeis, partiam
    • Preterite: parti, partiste, partiu, partimos, partistes, partiram
    • Pluperfect: partira, partiras, partira, partíramos, partíreis, partiram
    • Future: partirei, partirás, partirá, partiremos, partireis, partirão
    • Conditional: partiria, partirias, partiria, partiríamos, partiríeis, partiriam
  • Subjunctive
    • Present: parta, partas, parta, partamos, partais, partam
    • Imperfect: partisse, partisses, partisse, partíssemos, partísseis, partissem
    • Future: partir, partires, partir, partirmos, partirdes, partirem
  • Imperative
    • parte (tu), parta (você), partamos (nós), parti (vós), partam (vocês)

Quick reference[edit]

Non-Finite Forms Imperative
Infinitive Past Participle Present Participle Gerund
-ar
-er
-ir
-ado
-ido
-ido
-ante
-ente
-inte
-ando
-endo
-indo
Tu -a
-e
-e
Vós -ai
-ei
-i
Indicative Subjunctive Future Subj. or
Personal Infin.
Per. Present Preterite Imperfect Pluperfect Future Conditional Present Imperfect
Eu -o -ei
-i
-i
-ava
-ia
-ia
-ara
-era
-ira
-arei
-erei
-irei
-aria
-eria
-iria
-e
-a
-a
-asse
-esse
-isse
-ar
-er
-ir
Tu -as
-es
-es
-aste
-este
-iste
-avas
-ias
-ias
-aras
-eras
-iras
-arás
-erás
-irás
-arias
-erias
-irias
-es
-as
-as
-asses
-esses
-isses
-ares
-eres
-ires
Ele -a
-e
-e
-ou
-eu
-iu
-ava
-ia
-ia
-ara
-era
-ira
-ará
-erá
-irá
-aria
-eria
-iria
-e
-a
-a
-asse
-esse
-isse
-ar
-er
-ir
Nós -amos
-emos
-imos
-ámos(1)
or -amos(2)
-emos
-imos
-ávamos
-íamos
-íamos
-áramos
-êramos
-íramos
-aremos
-eremos
-iremos
-aríamos
-eríamos
-iríamos
-emos
-amos
-amos
-ássemos
-êssemos
-íssemos
-armos
-ermos
-irmos
Vós -ais
-eis
-is
-astes
-estes
-istes
-áveis
-íeis
-íeis
-áreis
-êreis
-íreis
-areis
-ereis
-ireis
-aríeis
-eríeis
-iríeis
-eis
-ais
-ais
-ásseis
-êsseis
-ísseis
-ardes
-erdes
-irdes
Eles -am
-em
-em
-aram
-eram
-iram
-avam
-iam
-iam
-aram
-eram
-iram
-arão
-erão
-irão
-ariam
-eriam
-iriam
-em
-am
-am
-assem
-essem
-issem
-arem
-erem
-irem
  1. European Portuguese
  2. Brazilian Portuguese

Important irregular verbs[edit]

The following irregular verbs are used as auxiliary verbs in various periphrastic constructions.

ter - to have[edit]

number person Indicative mood Conditional
Present Preterite Imperfect Pluperfect Future
singular 1st. tenho tive tinha tivera terei teria
2nd. tens tiveste tinhas tiveras terás terias
3rd. tem teve tinha tivera terá teria
plural 1st. temos tivemos tínhamos tivéramos teremos teríamos
2nd. tendes tivestes tínheis tivéreis tereis teríeis
3rd. têm tiveram tinham tiveram terão teriam
number person Subjunctive mood Personal
infinitive
Present Preterite Imperfect Pluperfect Future
singular 1st. tenha tenha tido tivesse tivesse tido tiver ter
2nd. tenhas tenhas tido tivesses tivesses tido tiveres teres
3rd. tenha tenha tido tivesse tivesse tido tiver ter
plural 1st. tenhamos tenhamos tido tivéssemos tivéssemos tido tivermos termos
2nd. tenhais tenhais tido tivésseis tivésseis tido tiverdes terdes
3rd. tenham tenham tido tivessem tivessem tido tiverem terem
Imperative mood Infinitive ter
2nd. pers. sing. tem Past participle tido
2nd. pers. plur. tende Gerund tendo

estar - to be[edit]

number person Indicative mood Conditional
Present Preterite Imperfect Pluperfect Future
singular 1st. estou estive estava estivera estarei estaria
2nd. estás estiveste estavas estiveras estarás estarias
3rd. está esteve estava estivera estará estaria
plural 1st. estamos estivemos estávamos estivéramos estaremos estaríamos
2nd. estais estivestes estáveis estivéreis estareis estaríeis
3rd. estão estiveram estavam estiveram estarão estariam
number person Subjunctive mood Personal
infinitive
Present Preterite Imperfect Pluperfect Future
singular 1st. esteja tenha estado estivesse tivesse estado estiver estar
2nd. estejas tenhas estado estivesses tivesses estado estiveres estares
3rd. esteja tenha estado estivesse tivesse estado estiver estar
plural 1st. estejamos tenhamos estado estivéssemos tivéssemos estado estivermos estarmos
2nd. estejais tenhais estado estivésseis tivésseis estado estiverdes estardes
3rd. estejam tenham estado estivessem tivessem estado estiverem estarem
Imperative mood Infinitive estar
2nd. pers. sing. está Past participle estado
2nd. pers. plur. estai Gerund estando

ser - to be[edit]

number person Indicative mood Conditional
Present Preterite Imperfect Pluperfect Future
singular 1st. sou fui era fora serei seria
2nd. és foste eras foras serás serias
3rd. é foi era fora será seria
plural 1st. somos fomos éramos fôramos seremos seríamos
2nd. sois fostes éreis fôreis sereis seríeis
3rd. são foram eram foram serão seriam
number person Subjunctive mood Personal
infinitive
Present Preterite Imperfect Pluperfect Future
singular 1st. seja tenha sido fosse tivesse sido for ser
2nd. sejas tenhas sido fosses tivesses sido fores seres
3rd. seja tenha sido fosse tivesse sido for ser
plural 1st. sejamos tenhamos sido fôssemos tivéssemos sido formos sermos
2nd. sejais tenhais sido fôsseis tivésseis sido fordes serdes
3rd. sejam tenham sido fossem tivessem sido forem serem
Imperative mood Infinitive ser
2nd. pers. sing. Past participle sido
3rd. pers. sing. seja Present participle ente
2nd. pers. plur. sede Gerund sendo

haver - to have, to happen, there to be[edit]

number person Indicative mood Conditional
Present Preterite Imperfect Pluperfect Future
singular 1st. hei houve havia houvera haverei haveria
2nd. hás houveste havias houveras haverás haverias
3rd. houve havia houvera haverá haveria
plural 1st. havemos(1) houvemos havíamos houvéramos haveremos haveríamos
2nd. haveis(2) houvestes havíeis houvéreis havereis haveríeis
3rd. hão houveram haviam houveram haverão haveriam
number person Subjunctive mood Personal
infinitive
Present Preterite Imperfect Pluperfect Future
singular 1st. haja tenha havido houvesse tivesse havido houver haver
2nd. hajas tenhas havido houvesses tivesses havido houveres haveres
3rd. haja tenha havido houvesse tivesse havido houver haver
plural 1st. hajamos tenhamos havido houvéssemos tivéssemos havido houvermos havermos
2nd. hajais tenhais havido houvésseis tivésseis havido houverdes haverdes
3rd. hajam tenham havido houvessem tivessem havido houverem haverem
Imperative mood Infinitive haver
2nd. pers. sing. Past participle havido
2nd. pers. plur. havei Gerund havendo
  1. or hemos (archaic)
  2. or heis (archaic)

Conditional and future[edit]

There are few irregular verbs for these tenses (only dizer, fazer, trazer, and their compounds - also haver, ter, ser, ir, pôr, estar, etc. - for the Subjunctive Future Imperfect). The Indicative Future Imperfect, Conditional and Subjunctive Future Imperfects are formed by adding to the infinitive of the verb the Indicative Present inflections of the auxiliary verb haver (dropping the h and av), the 2nd/3rd conjugation endings of the Preterit Imperfect and the Personal Infinitive endings, respectively. Thus, for the majority of the verbs, the Simple Personal Infinitive coincides with Subjunctive Future.

Imperative[edit]

The affirmative imperative for second person pronouns tu and vós is obtained from the present indicative, by deletion of the final -s (in some cases, an accent mark must be added to the vowel which precedes it). For other persons, and for negative clauses, the present subjunctive takes the role of imperative.

Pronunciation of present inflections[edit]

In the present tense, the stress fluctuates between the root and the termination. As a rule of thumb, the last radical vowel (the one that can be stressed) will retain its original pronunciation when unstressed (atonic) and change into [a], [e] (Subjunctive or Indicative 1st pers sing)/[ɛ] (Infinitive), or [o] (Subjunctive or Indicative 1st pers sing)/[ɔ] (Infinitive) - depending on the vowel in question - in case it is stressed (is in a tonic syllable). Other vowels (u, i) and nasalized sounds will probably stay unchanged.

Example: Consider the conjugation of correr (analogous to comer, presented above) in the Indicative Present Simple. The first-person singular corro has [o] in the stressed vowel, while other forms corres, corre, correm have [ɔ].

In Portugal, all verbs with /o/ or /e/ in the stem vowel alternate similarly (/e/ alternates between [e] in the first-person singular and [ɛ] elsewhere). In the forms where the stem vowel is unstressed, the /e/ is pronounced [ɨ] and the /o/ is pronounced /u/ in some verbs (e.g. comer) and /ɔ/ in others (e.g. absorver, below). The difference is probably due to whether the stem syllable is open (followed by at most one consonant) or closed (followed by at least consonants).

In Brazil, the following difference apply:

  • Alternation in stem-stressed forms is similar, but is blocked when a nasal consonant (/m/, /n/ or /ɲ/) follows, in which case the higher alternant (i.e. /o/ or /e/) is used in all forms. For example, in the verb comer, all of the forms como, comes, come, comem have /o/.
  • Stem-unstressed forms consistently have /o/ or /e/.

Example, absorver "to absorb" ([u] in Portugal, [o] in Brazil).

It will be conjugated in Portugal as [ɐpˈsoɾvu], [ɐpˈsɔɾvɨʃ], [ɐpˈsɔɾvɨ], [ɐpsɔɾˈvemuʃ], [ɐpsɔɾˈvɐjʃ], [ɐpˈsɔɾvɐ̃j].

In Brazil, it is pronounced approximately as [abiˈsoxvu], [abiˈsɔxvis], [abiˈsɔxvi], [abisoxˈvemus], [abisoxˈvejs], [abiˈsɔxvẽj]. ("Approximately" because some dialects don't have the "i" sound after b, and some substitute different sounds for the [x] and the final [s].)

This also has repercussions in the Imperative, for its inflections are constructed from the Indicative Present Simple.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Manuela Cook (2013) Portuguese Pronouns and Other Forms of Address, from the Past into the Future - Structural, Semantic and Pragmatic Reflections, Ellipsis vol. 11, www.portuguese-apsa.com/ellipsis

External links[edit]