Learn how to say to start doing something in Portuguese. No, we do not use the -ING conjugation to say it. A literal translation here will render incorrect Portuguese.
This is one of those simple things that give a lot of trouble to learners of Portuguese. After this lesson you will no longer make mistakes when saying that you will start doing something or have started doing something. Your Portuguese will sound much better when you use this simple structure correctly. It is really easy to do so.
After this lesson you will know how to:
- Avoid common mistakes that most English and Spanish speakers make when they use the verb Começar in Portuguese
- Correctly say that you will start doing something or have started doing something
- Correctly say that you will start by doing something”. This is a different structure
The verb Começar in Portuguese
Começar = to start, to begin.
It is a regular verb. When writing it, you need to pay attention to the use of “ç” before “a” and “o”, and a simple “c” before “e” and “i”;
The simple present and simple past conjugations of the verb Começar in Portuguese are below. The bold syllable is the stronger one when you pronounce it.
|Presente do Indicativo||Pretérito Perfeito do Indicativo|
|Eu começo||Eu comecei|
|Você começa||Você começou|
|Ele começa||Ele começou|
|A gente começa||A gente começou|
|Nós começamos||Nós começamos|
|Vocês começam||Vocês começaram|
|Eles começam||Eles começaram|
Avoid mistakes that English and Spanish speakers commonly make
Notice that there is no “n” anywhere in the verb Começar. Both English and Spanish speakers love saying “començar”. Forget the “n”.
Two additional tips for Spanish speakers:
- You need to focus on the pronunciation of the final syllable “çar”. It does not sound like a “z”. It sounds like a simple “s”.
- There is no “empezar” in Portuguese. I keep hearing the verb “empezar” conjugated as if it was Portuguese. Conjugating it according to the Portuguese rules does not make it a Portuguese verb 🙂
How to say: To start doing something in Portuguese
The structure is as follows:
- Verb Começar conjugated + preposition “a” + infinitive of main verb
1) O jantar é às 9 horas. Eu vou começar a cozinhar às 5. = Dinner is at 9 o’clock. I will start cooking at 5.
2) Você precisa começar a me ouvir. = You need to start listening to me.
3) Você sabe quando as crianças começam a falar? = Do you know when children start to speak?
4) Joanne vai morar no Brasil. Ela precisa começar a aprender português com a Street Smart Brazil urgentemente. = Joanne is going to live in Brazil. She needs to start learning Portuguese with Street Smart Brazil urgently.
5) Meu computador começou a fazer um barulho estranho sem mais nem menos. = My computer has started making a strange noise out of the blue.
6) Começou a chover. = It has started to rain.
Notice the verb tenses in examples 5 and 6
Examples 5 and 6 show you a difference between English and Portuguese. When in English you use the present perfect (has started), in Portuguese we simply use the simple past (começou). This causes trouble for both English and Spanish speakers, so keep it in mind. It will make a difference in your Portuguese.
Now you will be able to choose the correct alternative in the cover picture of this Portuguese lesson:
- Comecei a aprender português. = I’ve started learning Portuguese.
How to say: To start by doing something in Portuguese
This is a different structure. I want to show it to you so you don’t get confused when you see it.
The structure is as follows:
- Verb Começar conjugated + present progressive of main verb
Please notice: there is no preposition in this structure in Portuguese.
1) A reunião é às 10h. O Presidente vai começar falando das demissões. = The meeting is at 10am. The President will start by talking about the layoffs.
2) A conversa com o cineasta brasileiro Eryk Rocha foi muito bacana. Ele começou agradecendo ao público e ao festival. = The conversation with Brazilian filmmaker Eryk Rocha was very cool. He started by thanking the audience and the festival.
3) Se você realmente quer falar português bem, você pode começar marcando uma aula experimental com a Street Smart Brazil. = If you really want to speak Portuguese well, you can start by booking a trial lesson with Street Smart Brazil.
How would it feel to speak Portuguese comfortably with your family, friends, and coworkers? You can do it. Street Smart Brazil specializes in Brazilian Portuguese lessons via video meetings. Our instructors are native Brazilian speakers, fluent in English, college-educated, and well trained to help you speak Portuguese comfortably. Book a Trial Lesson to see for yourself how we can help you.