Imagine that you are going to have dinner with a friend. You call your friend and say: “I’m leaving now. I will be there in 20 minutes.”
You are quietly reading a book at home when you hear a huge noise on the street outside. You look out of the window and wonder: “What is happening?”
These two phrases use the Present Progressive tense, also called Present Continuous. We use the present progressive to talk about actions that are in progress at the moment.
In Portuguese we call it Presente Contínuo. It is an Indicative verb tense.
This is a very useful and easy to learn tense. You’re going to like this: There is no irregular verb in the present progressive in Portuguese. Furthermore, the conjugations are the same for all the different persons of speech: eu, você, ele, a gente, nós, vocês, eles.
Let’s see how this works. In this lesson you will learn:
- The present progressive conjugation
- The structure of phrases using the present progressive tense
- How to say it in a street smart Brazilian way
- When to use the present progressive, with examples for each situation
- The difference between Brazilian and European Portuguese
- A useful bonus phrase
1. Present Progressive Conjugation
In English the present progressive is formed adding –ing to the verb.
In Portuguese you do this:
- Drop the final R of the infinitive form of the verb
- Add: ndo
You do this for every single verb in Portuguese. There are no irregular verbs in the present progressive.
|Falar (to speak, to talk)||Falando|
|Aprender (to learn)||Aprendendo|
|Comer (to eat)||Comendo|
|Fazer (to do, to make)||Fazendo|
|Ver (to see)||Vendo|
|Ir (to go)||Indo|
In other words, you have the following terminations in the present progressive:
- Verbs that end in AR: ando
- Verbs that end in ER: endo
- Verbs that end in IR: indo
2. Present Progressive Structure
The present progressive structure is very similar in English and in Portuguese. What you need to know is that you use the verb Estar as auxiliary verb in Portuguese. Thus you need to conjugate the verb Estar in the present tense.
|Verb Estar – Present Tense Indicative|
|A gente está|
For example, the questions in the lesson introduction are:
- Estou saindo agora. Chego em 20 minutos. = I’m leaving now. I will be there in 20 minutes.
- O que está acontecendo? = What is happening?
You will see several other examples along the lesson.
3. How to Sound Brazilian
In spoken Brazilian Portuguese we very rarely say the verb Estar as it is. We shorten it by dropping the first syllable (es).
You will also see this short form in informal writing such as text messages and Facebook posts.
So in spoken Brazilian Portuguese, the questions above would be spoken like this:
- Tô saindo agora. = I’m leaving now.
- O que tá acontecendo? = What is happening?
I will show you both the regular form and the colloquial, spoken form for the examples that I give you along the lesson.[Tweet “Learn this tip on how to speak like a Brazilian”]
4. When to Use the Present Progressive: Learn from Examples
In the examples below, I will use the verb Estar in its regular form and give you in parentheses how we would say it in spoken Brazilian Portuguese. You do not use both together, but one or another.
We use the present progressive to:
Express actions that are in progress at the moment of speaking
- O que você está (tá) comendo? = What are you eating?
- Eles estão (tão) conversando sobre o novo negócio. = They are talking about the new business.
- Está (tá) rindo de quê? = What are you laughing at?
- Está (tá) chovendo. = It’s raining.
Talk about longer actions that are in progress even though you may not be doing them right now
- Joana está (tá) estudando para o vestibular.= Joana is studying for the vestibular exam.
- A gente está (tá) juntando dinheiro para ir ao Brasil. = We are saving money to go to Brazil.
- Estou (tô) lendo o livro “A Graça da Coisa”, da Martha Medeiros. Estou (tô) adorando! = I am reading Martha Medeiro’s book “A Graça da Coisa”. I am loving it.
Express that something happens repeatedly
- Bia está (tá) sempre reclamando de tudo. = Bia is always complaining about everything.
- Ana é muito simpática. Ela está (tá) sempre sorrindo. = Ana is very friendly. She is always smiling.
- Felipe está (tá) sempre perdendo o telefone. = Felipe is always losing his phone.
In these sentences we use adverbs of frequency such as: sempre, constantemente, o tempo todo. We usually place these words between the verb Estar and the verb that is in the present progressive.
Talk about trends
- Hoje as pessoas estão usando principalmente o telefone para fazer compras pela internet. = Today people are mainly using their phones to shop online.
- As pessoas estão cada vez mais se interessando por aprender línguas. = People are getting more and more interested in learning languages.
In these sentences, it is common to use expressions such as “more and more” and “less and less”.
5. It’s Different in Portugal
In European Portuguese you form the present progressive in a different way:
- Verb Estar in the present tense + a + infinitive of main verb
|Estou estudando.||Estou a estudar.|
|Estamos conversando.||Estamos a conversar.|
6. Useful bonus phrase
Say you are watching TV. Your roommate calls from the kitchen asking for help. You answer, as you get up:
- Estou (tô) indo.
See the difference? In English we’d say: “I’m coming.” In Portuguese we say: I’m going.
Imagine how wonderful it would be to speak Portuguese comfortably and use the different verb tenses without having to think so much about conjugations. It is perfectly possible. Practice is the key. Street Smart Brazil has a wonderful team of well-trained instructors who can help you speak Portuguese with confidence. Don’t struggle with Portuguese. Book a Trial Lesson to get started.