Our lesson today is about the Verb Ir which means to go. You will learn:
- How to conjugate this power verb in the present tense
- How to correctly use the verb
- 5 Street smart tips that will make your Portuguese better and more natural
Before we start, I’d like to tell you about Street Smart Brazil’s flashcard app for Android devices. Imagine a simple-to-use app that could help you practice verb conjugation while building vocabulary. Our flashcards will do just that for you! There are 4 sets available. Set 1 is free and covers the present indicative tense of four power verbs: Ser, Estar, Ter, and Ir.
Get your app at the Google Play Store!
Verb Ir in the Present Tense
Ir = to go.
The present indicative (simple present tense) conjugation goes like this:
A gente vai
- Not sure how to use “A gente?” Watch this lesson.
How to Correctly Use the Verb Ir in Portuguese
Observe the use of 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.
Ir a or Ir 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 “Ir a” and “Ir para: 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.
Ir à or Ir ao?
It is not difficult. It is a question of using it with a feminine or a masculine noun. Observe:
- 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 and the second “a” is an article.
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 “a” 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 and the article contract into “ao”.
- Eu nunca vou ao cinema sozinha.
These contractions are not optional when you have definite articles in your sentence.
5 Street Smart Tips
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 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 wrong 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.