After this lesson, you will be able to use the verb Preferir (to prefer) correctly in a sentence. I will show you the conjugation of the verb Preferir in the present tense and will give you examples and 4 power tips to use it correctly and avoid common mistakes.
How to Use the Verb Preferir
I saw the picture below on Facebook and thought of creating this lesson to teach you how to use the verb Preferir in a sentence in Portuguese. The picture says:
“In the morning do you prefer milk or coffee?”
“In the morning I prefer that no one ask me questions”
The verb Preferir is an interesting verb that we use a lot in every day conversations. In this lesson you will learn:
- How to conjugate the verb Preferir in the present tense (hint: it is not completely regular)
- How to correctly use the verb Preferir in a sentence in Portuguese
- Common mistakes to avoid (and you can teach this to your Brazilian friends)
Verb Preferir – Present Tense Conjugation
The verb Preferir is what we call a stem-changing verb. It is simple: In the conjugation of Eu, we have an I where in the infinitive we have an E.
- Eu prefiro
So the verb is almost regular, but not completely.
This change happens for the Eu person in the present tense indicative and will carry over to the imperative (commands) and to the present subjunctive. You will see two examples using the present subjunctive in this lesson .
In the present tense of regular verbs, the stronger syllable is the second to last. This is true for stem-changing verbs as well. Watch the video to practice this pronunciation tip.
The other conjugations are regular:
- Você prefere
- Ele prefere
- Ela prefere
- A gente prefere
- Nós preferimos
- Vocês preferem
- Eles preferem
- Elas preferem
How to Use the Verb Preferir in a Sentence
I will show you how to use the verb Preferir in a sentence. Below are two examples. After that I give you additional examples with power tips to use the verb Preferir correctly and avoid common mistakes.
Cristiano: Vamos ao cinema hoje?
Priscila: Prefiro ficar em casa. A gente pode ver um filme aqui.
Cristiano: Let’s go to the movies today.
Priscila: I prefer to stay home. We can watch a movie here.
- How to use the verb Ir in Portuguese + 5 Tips
- Using “A gente” – Make your Portuguese even smarter
- Making Plans with Your Friends – Combinado
Alexandre: O que você quer tomar? Vinho ou cerveja?
Ângela: Prefiro vinho. Obrigada.
Alexandre: What do you want to drink? Wine or beer?
Ângela: I prefer wine. Thanks.
4 Power Tips to Avoid Mistakes with the Verb Preferir
Tip # 1
When using Preferir followed by another verb, use the other verb in the Infinitive (base form):
- Prefiro ir ao trabalho de carro quando está chovendo.
= I prefer to drive to work when it is raining.
- Prefiro sair cedo para não chegar em cima da hora.
= I prefer to leave early so I don’t get there at the last minute.
Tip # 2
When saying that you prefer one thing over the other, use the preposition “a”:
- Joana prefere forró a samba.
= Joana prefer forró over samba.
- Prefiro o verão ao inverno.
= I prefer the summer over the winter.
Two quick notes:
Don’t mix up the preposition “a” and the article “a”. These are two different things.
In the examples above, when we say “Joana prefere forró a samba”, we are using the preposition “a”.
When we say “Prefiro o verão ao inverno”, we are contracting the preposition “a” and the article “o”.
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You will hear people saying “do que” , such as in:
- Prefiro o verão do que o inverno.
This is common in spoken Brazilian Portuguese, but grammatically it is not recommended.
Tip # 3
If you use Preferir + que, you need to use the present subjunctive after it. In the examples below, the underlined verbs are in the present subjunctive conjugation.
- Prefiro que você fale a verdade.
= I prefer that you tell the truth.
- Ele prefere que a gente chegue lá cedo.
= He prefers that we get there early.
Need practice with the Present Subjunctive? Set 4 of our Flashcard App for Android will help you! It has 120 flashcards with full sentences using the present subjunctive. It is also a great way to learn new words and practice your general grammar to speak better Portuguese.
Get the app!
Tip # 4
You will hear people saying mais (more), muito mais (much more), mil vezes (a thousand times), and other similar expressions to emphasize their preference. Although this is common in spoken Brazilian Portuguese, it is grammatically incorrect. Here is an example:
- Prefiro muito mais verão a inverno.
- = I prefer summer much more than winter.
Grammatically, it is better to leave that “muito mais” out.
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