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Common Portuguese Verbs You Should Know

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Learning a new language involves acquiring a broad set of skills, one of which includes memorizing common verbs that are pivotal for day-to-day communication. Portuguese, with its melodious sounds and rhythm, is no different. Understanding and using common verbs can significantly improve your ability to form sentences and express a wide range of actions. Here are some fundamental Portuguese verbs that should be a part of your vocabulary repertoire:

Ser – to be (permanent or essential characteristics, time, and date)
This verb is used to describe inherent characteristics, identities, professions, and permanent states of being. It’s an irregular verb meaning that its conjugation doesn’t follow a standard pattern, making it one of the first verbs that learners must memorize.

Eu sou professor. (I am a teacher.)

Estar – to be (temporary states, emotions, or locations)
Estar is another “to be” verb in Portuguese, but it’s used for conditions that are likely to change such as emotions, weather, or someone’s location. It helps in distinguishing between a temporary state and a permanent condition.

Ela está feliz hoje. (She is happy today.)

Ter – to have
Ter is the equivalent of “to have” in English, covering possession, age, and necessity. It is yet another irregular verb which means that its conjugation must be learned distinctively for each tense.

Nós temos uma casa grande. (We have a big house.)

Fazer – to do, to make
Fazer is a highly versatile verb used for creating something, performing actions, and in idiomatic expressions related to the weather and time.

Ele faz um bolo. (He makes a cake.)

Ir – to go
Ir is your go-to verb for expressing motion towards a place or a direction. It is an irregular verb, so pay close attention to how it’s conjugated in different tenses.

Vou ao supermercado. (I am going to the supermarket.)

Dizer – to say, to tell
Dizer is used to refer to the act of verbal communication. It is another verb that doesn’t follow the regular conjugation patterns, which makes it crucial to learn and practice.

Ela disse que vem amanhã. (She said that she is coming tomorrow.)

Ver – to see
Ver is straightforward; it’s about the ability to see or the act of watching something. Although regular in most tenses, its past participle is irregular.

Você viu aquele filme? (Did you see that movie?)

Ouvir – to hear
To express the act of hearing sounds or listening to something, ouvir is used. It is a regular verb, making it easier to conjugate.

Ela ouve música clássica. (She listens to classical music.)

Comer – to eat
A cornerstone in any conversation about food, comer is regular and thus follows a predictable pattern in its conjugation.

Nós comemos arroz e feijão. (We eat rice and beans.)

Beber – to drink
Similarly, beber is the act of drinking any liquid, also a regular verb and easy for learners to conjugate.

Ele bebe água. (He drinks water.)

Escrever – to write
From jotting down notes to authoring books, escrever expresses the act of writing. As a regular verb, its conjugation is less intimidating for Portuguese learners.

Eu escrevo um diário. (I write a diary.)

Dormir – to sleep
Dormir is what every living creature needs to do to rest. It is a stem-changing verb, which means that its radical changes in some conjugations.

Eles dormem oito horas por noite. (They sleep eight hours per night.)

Poder – can, to be able to
A modal verb that is used to express capability or possibility, poder is an essential verb and it’s irregular, so attention should be paid to its various forms.

Posso ajudar-te? (Can I help you?)

By familiarizing yourself with these common Portuguese verbs, you can improve your conversational skills and deepen your understanding of the language’s structure. Always remember to practice them in context to better retain their meanings and conjugations. Happy learning!

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