My previous post showed you the main rules that will help you determine if a noun is masculine or feminine.
Now you need to learn about the gender of adjectives so you can match nouns and adjectives correctly and speak better Portuguese.
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 nouns
- Four tips to help you master the gender of adjectives
- Bonus: Two words that cause a lot of trouble to leaners
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 apartment
- 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
This Might Surprise You
This is true for the colors as well:
- 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:
- cinza = gray
- rosa = pink
Adjectives with a single form
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. 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.
A bola vs. O bolo
These two nouns are a great source of confusion for learners:
- a bola de futebol = the soccer ball
- o bolo de chocolate = the chocolate cake
Avoid getting in trouble! Watch this fun video lesson on Similar words that can get you into trouble 🙂
Practice with your instructor
- Describe a girlfriend or a woman in your family
- Describe a guy friend or a man in your family
- Describe yourself.
- Describe your home.
Don’t have an instructor? Book a Trial Lesson with Street Smart Brazil today! See for yourself the positive difference that a professional instructor will make in your ability to communicate effectively in Portuguese.