As you probably know, words have a gender in Portuguese. For instance, beach is a feminine word and map is a masculine word. The goal of this lesson is to show you the gender of adjectives in Portuguese and how adjectives need to agree in gender with the words (nouns) that they refer to.
In this lesson I will show you:
- Adjectives that have their masculine and feminine forms
- Adjectives that have one form for both masculine and feminine
- Four tips to help you master the gender of adjectives
I show you the main rules to identify the gender of nouns in Portuguese in this other lesson.
Adjectives that end in A or O
Adjectives that end in “a” or “o” have their feminine and masculine forms, and must agree in gender with the noun that they modify.
- a casa bonita = the beautiful house
- o apartamento bonito = the beautiful condo
- a menina alta = the tall girl
- o menino alto = the tall boy
- a gata pequena = the small female cat
- o gato pequeno = the small male cat
The colors have a gender in Portuguese
This might surprise you: The colors have a gender in Portuguese and need to agree in gender with the noun that they describe. For example:
- o casaco vermelho = the red coat
- a camiseta vermelha = the red t-shirt
- a bolsa preta = the black purse
- o sapato preto = the black shoe
There are two exceptions. These colors end in “a” but have a single form for both masculine and feminine nouns. This is because they are nouns used as colors.
- cinza = gray (as noun: ash)
- rosa = pink (as a noun: rose)
Adjectives with a single form for masculine and feminine
Other adjectives have a single form for both masculine and feminine. These adjectives usually do not end in “a” or “o”.
- a casa grande = the big house
- o carro grande = the big car
- a menina inteligente = the intelligent girl
- o menino inteligente = the intelligent boy
- a mulher feliz = the happy woman
- o homem feliz = tha happy man
- a camisa elegante = the elegant shirt
- o sapato elegante = the elegant shoe
Four tips to help your Portuguese
Tip # 1
The general rule is that the noun comes before the adjective.
- O prédio alto = the tall building
- A mulher bonita = the beautiful woman
- O gato amarelo = the yellow cat
Tip # 2
Objects do not change genders. If an object is feminine, it is always feminine. If an object is masculine, it is always masculine.
- A mesa: Table is always a feminine word
- O carro: Car is always a masculine word
Tip # 3
Nouns rule the relationship. If a noun is masculine, the adjectives that refer to that noun will be used in the masculine form. If a noun is feminine, the adjectives that refer to that noun will be used in the feminine.
Tip # 4
Verbs do not have a gender. Verb conjugations do not depend on the gender of who is speaking or who the verb refers to.
- Ela fala português. = She speaks Portuguese.
- Ele fala português. = He speaks Portuguese.
- Ana: Eu falo inglês. = I speak English.
- Tom: Eu falo inglês. = I speak English.
Practice with your Portuguese teacher
- Describe a girlfriend or a woman in your family
- Describe a guy friend or a man in your family
- Describe yourself.
- Describe your home.
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