You may have already heard the word cadê. Maybe you were running late and your date called you and asked: “Cadê você?”. Or your spouse could not find his/her glasses and wondered out loud: “Cadê meus óculos?”
Although most books will teach you how to use Onde to ask “Where is?”, in Brazil Cadê is a perfectly valid option, especially in spoken Portuguese.
In this lesson I will tell you how to use these four ways to ask “Where is?” in Portuguese:
- Onde está?
- Onde é?
- Onde fica?
Wondering about Aonde? No, it is not the same as “Onde”. Visit this other lesson to learn more and speak correctly: Aonde versus Onde: Say It Right in Portuguese
Here is the video for this lesson:
We use Cadê to ask about the temporary location of people, animals, or objects. When we use it, we are often looking for something or someone.
- Cadê você? = Where are you? (picture above)
- Cadê meus óculos? = Where are my glasses?
- Cadê o gato? = Where is the cat?
Did you notice that Cadê does not take a verb after it? When you use Onde, you need to conjugate the verb in the singular or plural according to the object of the sentence. With Cadê there is no mystery, as it does not take a verb.
In informal Brazilian Internet slang, you may have already seen Cadê? written as kd?
Origin of the word Cadê
Cadê comes from the antiquated phrase: “Que é feito de…?” (lit. “What is made of…?”).
Over time, this question became: “Que é de…?” Later it was further reduced to: “Quede…? And then to the current: “Cadê?”
2. Onde está?
Just like Cadê?, we use Onde está? to ask about the temporary location of people, animals, or objects.
Cadê? is simply an alternative to Onde está? Both mean the same thing: Where is?
Cadê is considered more informal and is predominant in spoken Brazilian Portuguese.
When using Onde está? keep in mind that you need to conjugate the verb:
- Onde está o meu carro? = Where is my car?
- Onde estão os carros? = Where are the cars?
- Onde está a minha carteira? = Where is my wallet?
- Onde estão meus óculos? = Where are my glasses?
3. Onde é?
We use Onde é? to ask about the permanent location of places and buildings, or where an activity takes place.
You need to conjugate the verb.
- Onde é o banheiro? = Where is the restroom?
- Onde é o restaurante? = Where is the restaurant?
- Onde são suas aulas? = Where are your classes?
We do not use Onde é to ask about the location of objects, people or animals since these are not fixed anywhere. The difference between using Onde é and Onde está relates to the difference between the verbs Ser and Estar. Yes, it is confusing if you do not come from another romance language. It takes time and practice to use them correctly, and that is just fine.
4. Onde fica?
You can think about Onde fica? as: “Where is/are… located?” I don’t mean where it is located right now or for the next few moments. I mean where its usual locations is.
Remember to conjugate the verb.
- Onde fica o banheiro? = Where is the restroom located?
- Onde fica a farmácia mais próxima? = Where is the closest drugstore?
- Onde fica o restaurante? = Where is the restaurant?
I see some people teaching that you use Onde fica? to ask about the permanent location of places and buildings. But it is not always the case. Imagine this situation: You have friends over for dinner and movies. You are all in the living room and one of your friends heads to the kitchen to get a plate. She doesn’t know where you keep your plates, so she asks:
- Onde ficam os pratos? = Where are the plates located? (Where do you keep the plates?)
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