Appendix:Portuguese verbs

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Main category: Portuguese verbs

This appendix describes Portuguese verbs: Portuguese words that indicate actions, occurrences or states.

Portuguese verbs, being derived from Classical and Vulgar Latin verbs, resemble them in their structure. The first main issue in conjugating Portuguese verbs is determining to what conjugation group the verb belongs. As in Latin and in other modern Romance languages, there are patterns that the verb must strictly follow (if it is a regular verb, morpho-phonetical changes aside) or follow with some changes in its stem (if it is an irregular verb).

There are three patterns in Portuguese: 1st conjugation (verbs with infinitive ending in -ar), 2nd conjugation (verbs with infinitive ending in -er), and 3rd conjugation (verbs with infinitive ending in -ir). Verbs with infinitives ending in -or are still considered as 2nd conjugation by the Brazilian and the Lusitan Academies for the Portuguese Language, rather than a 4th conjugation. This is due to the history of these verbs (they were written with the -er ending centuries ago—for further information, see Appendix:Portuguese verbs in -or.

In practice, there are just two patterns of conjugation: one for the verbs ending with -ar, and another for the verbs ending with -er and -ir (with minor differences in their conjugation).

The second main issue concerning conjugating verbs in Portuguese is the structure of the verb. As with any other Portuguese word, Portuguese verbs can be divided into morphemes, in this order: prefixes + main stem + suffixes, thematic vowel, tense-mood desinence and number-person desinence.

The thematic vowel goes just after the stem and indicates to which conjugation the verb belongs. -a is used for the 1st conjugation, -e is the 2nd conjugation, and -i is the 3rd conjugation. During conjugation, the thematic vowel can be zeroed and, in irregular verbs, may change.

Tense and mood[edit]

The tense-mood desinence indicates which mood and which tense the verb belongs to. In Portuguese, as in most Indo-European languages, there are three moods: Indicative Mood, that expresses actions that certainly happened or will happen (with the exception of the Conditional tense); Subjunctive Mood, that expresses actions that are not certain to happen, or states a hypothesis (also expresses certain actions in subordinated clauses); and the Imperative Mood, that expresses requests, orders, and so on.

Also this desinence indicates when the action takes place. The main tenses are past, present and future; but other components can be added to form other tenses; there is even a notion of aspect joined with the tenses. This will be explained in more detail later in this article.

Grammatical number and person[edit]

The number-person desinence indicates who is the verb subject. In Portuguese, there are six categories of subject that can be expressed by the verb itself (first-person singular eu, second-person singular tu or você, third-person singular ele or ela, or any noun in the singular; and first-person plural nós or a gente, second-person plural vós or vocês, and third-person plural eles or elas, or any noun in the plural.

In the evolution of the Portuguese language new pronouns evolved, and their usage is not like that of other Romance languages. In the second person, the speaker may choose between tu and você for the singular, and vós and vocês for the plural. Tu and vós are more used in Portugal and Africa, and their origin and conjugation is similar to other Romance languages (they govern the second person in verbs, as one can see in the charts in the Appendix:Portuguese verb conjugation). Você and vocês are more used in Brazil and they derive from the pronouns of respect vossa mercê and vossas mercês. As with other pronouns of respect in Portuguese, they govern the third-person conjugation. All four of these words are used in informal speech nowadays (their structure resembles the and usted and vosotros and ustedes of Spanish, but the context in which these pronouns are used is very different from the Portuguese.

Grammatical voice[edit]

The Portuguese verbs may also vary in terms of voice. As with English and other Indo-European languages, there is an active voice, where the agent or the doer is the subject of the verb, and a passive voice, where the patient is the verb subject. In Portuguese, the passive voice is made with compound verbs (the verb ser + the past participle of main verb). There is also a reflexive voice, as in other Romance languages. This voice identifies the agent of a verb as the patient of the same verb. In Portuguese, this voice is made using the verbs in the active voice and using the objects in the reflexive form (the direct objective pronouns in Portuguese—see Appendix:Portuguese pronouns).

Pronunciation[edit]

Certain verb forms have pronunciation intricacies:

  • In Brazil, verb forms ending in -ar, -er and -ir have the -r dropped. This phenomenon is widespread and no longer considered nonstandard, though the -r is often kept in careful pronunciation.
  • Verb forms ending in -am are often pronounced as if they ended in -ão (IPA(key):.) In the past they were spelled with <ão> as well.
  • In Brazil, verb forms ending in -s sometimes have that -s dropped. This phenomenon is not as widespread as -r dropping and is considered nonstandard.
  • In Portugal, the first-person plural present is distinguished from the perfect in first conjugation verbs, the former ending in -amos (IPA(key): /ˈɐ.muʃ/) and the latter in -ámos (IPA(key): /ˈa.muʃ/). In Brazil, both forms end in -amos (IPA(key): /ˈɐ.mu(s)/.)
  • In the northeastern Brazilian dialect, and to a small extent in the Paulista dialect, the gerund is pronounced with IPA(key): /-ɐnu/, /-enu/, /-inu/, instead of IPA(key): /-ɐ̃du/, /-ẽdu/, /-ĩdu/.
  • Due to the commonness of /ˈow/ becoming /ˈo/ in Brazilian Portuguese, the inflected forms some verbs containing <ou> are pronounced as if the lemma had <o> instead. Thus, estoura may be pronounced IPA(key): /is.ˈtɔ.ɾɐ/ instead of the correct IPA(key): /is.ˈto(w).ɾɐ/. This phenomenon is considered non-standard.

Otherwise they are pronounced as expected from the spelling.

Origin[edit]

The different inflected forms of Portuguese verbs have the following origins (shift in aspect, tense or mood is boldened):