Today you will learn how to use the verb Ir in Portuguese and how to avoid common mistakes. You will learn:
- How to conjugate this power verb in the present tense
- How to correctly use the verb Ir in Portuguese
- 5 street smart tips that will make your Portuguese better and more natural
Present tense conjugation of the verb Ir in Portuguese
Ir = to go.
The present indicative (simple present tense) of the verb Ir in Portuguese conjugation goes like this:
A gente vai
- Not sure how to use “A gente?” Watch this lesson.
You will find the conjugation of the verb Ir in Portuguese in all verb tenses on O Conjugador.
How to Use the Verb Ir in Portuguese
Observe the prepositions that we use with the verb Ir in the following examples.
Eu vou à praia nos fins de semana.
= I go to the beach on the weekends.
Eu nunca vou ao cinema sozinha.
= I never go to the movies by myself.
- Watch the lesson: Three different ways to use the word Nunca in Portuguese
Ana vai para o Brasil.
= Ana is going to Brazil.
Está tarde. Vou pra casa.
It is late. I am going home.
What preposition to use with the verb Ir: A or PARA?
Did you notice that I used the verb Ir with the preposition “a” in examples 1 and 2, and I used the preposition “para” in examples 3 and 4?
You are probably wondering if it is all the same. The answer is yes and no.
According to the grammar, you should use “Ir a” when you are going somewhere for a short amount of time. This is the case with most things in our lives, such as when we go to the beach, the movies, school, supermarket, restaurants, etc.
You should use “ir para” when you are going somewhere for a relatively long time. This is the case if you are moving somewhere and also when you are going home, since that is your base location.
However in Brazil we use the verb Ir with both prepositions interchangeably. In fact, In Brazil, “para” is the most commonly used preposition with the verb Ir. With that said, if you are going to write for work or school, I recommend that you choose your prepositions correctly according to the grammar.
How to use the contractions À and AO
Use “à” with feminine nouns and use “ao” with masculine nouns.
- I go to the beach on the weekends.
If we translate this literally to Portuguese, word by word:
- Eu vou a a praia nos fins de semana.
The first “a” is a preposition; it means “to”. The second “a” is an article; it means “the”.
These two contract into “à”.
- Eu vou à praia nos fins de semana.
The pronunciation is the same for the preposition “a”, the article “a”, and the “à” which is the contraction of preposition and article.
- I never go to the movies by myself.
Literally, word by word:
- Eu nunca vou a o cinema sozinha.
The preposition “a” and the article “o” contract into “ao”.
- Eu nunca vou ao cinema sozinha.
These contractions are not optional.
5 Tips to use the verb Ir in Portuguese
Tip # 1
In spoken Brazilian Portuguese, we usually say:
- “pra”, instead of “para” and “para a”: Eu vou pra praia
- “pro”, instead of “para o”: Eu vou pro cinema.
This is informal and very common in Brazil. We also use it in written informal communication, such as on Facebook or when emailing friends.
Tip # 2
To say that someone is going home, always use the preposition “para” and do not use an article before the word “casa”. In English you would not say that you are going “to the home”. You just say that you are “going home”. The same is true in Portuguese.
- Eu vou para casa.
- Ana e Carlos vão para casa.
Tip # 3
Did you notice that in examples 3 and 4 I used the verb Ir in the present tense conjugation to indicate an immediate future action? Yes, we do that with the verb Ir.
- Eu vou para casa. = I am going home.
- Ana vai para o Brasil = Ana is going to Brasil.
Tip # 4
Do not say: “Eu vou ir à praia.”
We don’t use the verb Ir twice like that. Just say: Eu vou à praia.
Tip # 5
You will hear people saying “Eu vou na praia.” It is grammatically incorrect to use the preposition “em” or one of its contractions (na, no, nas, nos) with the verb Ir. However, this use is so common in Brazil that some grammarians now consider it acceptable. So use with care.
Fui na padaria
Fui NA padaria
We use that “na” or “no” all the time, right? But it is grammatically wrong. Just recently a few grammars started accepting it since it is so common throughout the country.
It’s my understand that all of the Portuguese Countries are trying to adapt a unified written standard for Portuguese Grammar and I would be curious to see if ir na and ir no is made part of this formal standard now or in the future.
About 6 years ago (can’t remember the year now) we had new Portuguese rules take effect as part of this effort to unify the written Portuguese language. The preposition that goes with the verb Ir was not contemplated in the changes. The changes were mostly about spelling, including graphic accents. But you have a good point. The preposition “em” and its contractions (no, na, nos, nas) are so commonly used with Ir in Brazil that it wouldn’t be a total surprise if one day it became accepted as correct grammar.