In a previous lesson you learned how to conjugate and correctly pronounce and use the verb Ter in the present tense. Then we taught you how to use the verb Ter to say that you have to do something. Now you are ready to learn how to use the verb Ter to say “there is” or “there are”. This is a very popular and useful use of the verb Ter in Portuguese.
At the end of the lesson you will find practice exercises that will also help you build vocabulary.
Using the Verb Ter to say There is, There are
It is actually very easy to use Ter with the meaning of there is or there are. Check out the examples below:
- Tem um gato no sofá. = There is a cat on the couch.
- Tem três pessoas na reunião. = There are three people in the meeting.
- Tem muitos brasileiros aqui. = There are many Brazilians here.
See what we are doing here? We are simply using the verb Ter in the third person singular conjugation, which is the same conjugation as “você”, “ele” or “ela”. That’s it.
Make sure you say it right
The verb Ter used with this meaning is always conjugated in the singular, in the same conjugation as “você”, “ele” or “ela”. Technically we say that it is an impersonal verb when used in this function.
It will be important to keep this in mind, especially when you use the verb in the past tense. Too many Brazilians will put the verb in the plural, which is a big mistake that you want to avoid.
Here are two examples:
- Tinha dezoito pessoas na fila. = There were 18 people in line.
- Tinha muitas pessoas na festa. = There were many people at the party.
Super Useful Bonus Phrase: Tem Gente
What do you say when you are in the bathroom and someone knocks on the restroom door? In the US it is common to say: “Occupied”.
In Brazil, you can say: Tá ocupado = It’s occupied.
But you will also hear another very common phrase: Tem gente. = There’s a person (in here).
Translate the sentences below to Portuguese. The answers are at the end of the post.
- There are three pens on the floor.
- There are five brigadeiros in the fridge.
- There is a woman at the door.
- There are many people in the restaurant.
- There is a towel in the bathroom.
- There’s a lot of traffic.
- Learn an idiomatic expression that you may need when you are stuck in traffic: Tirar do sério
Check your answers:
- Tem três canetas no chão.
- Tem cinco brigadeiros na geladeira.
- Tem uma mulher na porta.
- Tem muitas pessoas no restaurante. Or, you can say: Tem muita gente no restaurante.
- Tem uma toalha no banheiro.
- Tem muito trânsito.
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