Have you noticed how often we compare things and people? This restaurant is more expensive than that one. This language is easier than that other one. Maria is less outgoing than José.
This is what you will learn in this lesson: How to say that something is more expensive (or any other adjective or adverb) or less expensive than something else.
In other words, you will learn how to make comparisons of inequality (more than and less than) in Portuguese.
I will talk about comparisons of equality (as outgoing as, for example) in another lesson.
How to Make Comparisons Using More than
- more than = mais que OR mais do que
You can use adjectives, adverbs, or nouns in your comparisons.
Diogo é mais alto que Tiago.
Or: Diogo é mais alto do que Tiago.
= Diogo is taller than Tiago.
Diogo dirige mais cuidadosamente que Tiago.
Or: Diogo dirige mais cuidadosamente do que Tiago.
= Diogo dirige more carefully than Tiago.
Essa casa tem mais quartos que aquela outra.
Or: Essa casa tem mais quartos do que aquela outra.
= This house has more rooms than that other one.
Moral of the story:
In Portuguese, the size of the word does not matter in comparisons as it does in English (taller, more responsible). To make comparisons using “more than”, you simply use:
- mais _____ que
- mais _____ do que
Using que or do que is up to you. They are both correct and they mean exactly the same.
What to avoid
I often hear this version of comparisons:
(wrong) Diogo é mais alto de Tiago.
This is incorrect. You need to use either que or do que in the second part of the comparison.
Also avoid “de que”.
How to Make Comparisons Using Less than
It is the same as shown above. You just use menos = less, instead of mais.
- less than = menos que OR menos do que
Daniela é menos tímida que Camila.
Or: Daniela é menos tímida do que Camila.
= Daniela is less shy than Camila.
Camila é menos ocupada que Daniela.
Or: Camila é menos ocupada do que Daniela.
= Camila is less busy than Daniela.
Camila trabalha menos que Daniela.
Or: Camila trabalha menos do que Daniela.
= Camila works less than Daniela.
Camila tem menos amigos que Daniela.
Or: Camila tem menos amigos do que Daniela.
= Camila has fewer friends than Daniela.
Did you notice?
Did you notice that in Portuguese we say menos both for “less” (less shy = menos tímida) and for “fewer” (fewer friends = menos amigos)? Next time your Brazilian friends mix those two up, you know why 🙂
What to avoid
Please do not say “menas”. Never say “menas”. Some Brazilians do, but the word doesn’t even exist. This is a bad mistake.
Yes, There Are Exceptions
Of course there are exceptions 🙂
Some comparatives are irregular. They are not many and it’s easy to learn them. You will sound much better in Portuguese if you use the irregular comparatives correctly.
Learn how to make irregular comparisons in this other lesson.