2 Mistakes Brazilians Make, but You Don’t Have To


Speak great Brazilian Portuguese

English is my native language and I surely make mistakes in it here and there. One of my problems is where to put a comma. I don’t always know (and I’m speaking in general, not just about the Oxford comma, for example). It should be a pretty basic thing to fix, yet here I am in my 30s and I still feel like I use commas in the wrong place sometimes. It’s easier to be a speaker of a language than a writer of it. But we all make at least some kind of mistakes, whether written or spoken.

In Brazilian Portuguese, there are two mistakes I hear even educated people make. I know, it’s a rather taboo subject, speaking about what native speakers of other languages say incorrectly. Thats why I started with my own faults first. Plus, we’re not talking about ALL Brazilians, of course, just a portion of them (from different backgrounds, of different ages, and with different levels of education) that I’ve been in contact with over the years.

The interesting thing is this very group of people, who use the two words I mention below, probably know the difference between right and wrong very well.

One of the words in question is aonde (= to what place). It is not the same as onde, but Brazilians mix them up all the time. Street Smart Brazil has a lesson on these words so that you can use them correctly. Visit the lesson here.

The other word is vim. It is the simple past tense of the verb Vir (to come) in the conjugation of Eu. For example:

  • Eu vim aqui para falar com você. = I came here to talk to you.

It is pretty surprising the number of people here in Brazil who use the past tense when they should use the infinitive. For example, they will say: “Pode vim amanhã” instead of “Pode vir amanhã”, which is the correct way. This is a pretty bad mistake in Luciana‘s opinion. It really bothers her.

Looking at my own language and my fellow native speakers of English, we do the same thing. Irregardless of how correct we think we’re speaking, there are mistakes we’re gonna make and words we should of known better.

“To err is human; to forgive, divine.” – Alexander Pope

By the way, in Brazil they say: Errar é humano = To err is human.