I’ve been a teacher for over 20 years (please don’t do the math!) and every year both my English and Portuguese students have the same problem: the Present Perfect.
The Present Perfect, in English, happens in sentences like:
I’ve spoken to him many times.
Have you ever done this?
I haven’t seen him yet.
In Portuguese it can be translated in so many ways, but today we’re going to focus on the continuous form. First, let’s learn how to say “for” and “since” in Portuguese.
For = por, há, faz. It indicates how long an activity has been going on – it started in the past and it still continues.
for many years = por muitos anos, há muitos anos, faz muitos anos
for three months = por três meses, há três meses, faz três meses
When do we use por, há and faz? It all depends on context, there’s no fixed rule.
Since = desde. It shows when an activity started and it still continues.
since 1998 = desde 1998
since I was a kid = desde que eu era criança
Now, Adir, how do you say “I’ve been doing” in Portuguese?
Well, you can translate it as the Present Continuous, the Simple Past or the Simple Present:
I’ve been running all morning. – Estou correndo a manhã toda. / Estive correndo a manhã toda.
You’ve been working here for a long time. – Você está trabalhando / trabalha aqui faz um bom tempo.
He’s been talking to her about it. – Ele está/anda falando com ela sobre isso.
She’s been looking for you everywhere. – Ela está te procurando por todos os lugares.
It’s been raining for two hours. – Está chovendo há/faz duas horas.
We’ve been watching TV all day. – Estamos assistindo TV o dia todo.
They’ve been playing tenning since they were kids. – Eles jogam tênis desde que eram crianças.
So it’s kind of tricky to translate this verb tense into Portuguese – you’ll have to analyze the context. Don’t worry, Brazilians have the same problem learning the perfect tenses in English. So my piece of advice is: pay closer attention to what you listen to and read and try to understand the situation where it happens so you’ll know how to say that in English.
Take care and see you next time!
Want more free resources to learn Portuguese? Check out the other goodies we offer to help make your language learning efforts a daily habit.