Augmentative e diminutive in Portuguese

Posted on 12. Nov, 2015 by in Brazilian Profile, False Friends, Grammar, Learning, Online Learning, Slang, Spelling, Vocabulary

Olá, galerinha. Tudo certinho? (Hey, you guys, everything all right?)

You may have noticed while trying to learn Portuguese or chatting with Brazilians that we really enjoy using the augmentative and the diminutive forms. It’s very common and we use it on a regular basis, so it’s important to learn how it works. The augmentative is used to indicate a larger size, to exaggerate, show intensity or place emphasis. On the other hand, the diminutive conveys a smaller size –or that something is insignificant, expresses affection, cuteness or as terms of endearment. Sometimes both can be used for the purpose of irony.

There are two ways to use the augmentative and the diminutive. In the first one, you simply add adjectives like minúsculo, pequeno, grande, enorme, imenso before the noun or word, as in the examples below:

  • Esse vestido minúsculo não vai servir em mim. (This tiny dress won’t fit me)
  • Que porções pequenas! Vou continuar com fome (Such small portions! I’m still goint to be hungry)
  • Minha patroa mora em uma casa enorme perto do parque (My boss lives in a huge house near the park)

Another way to employ this structure is to modify the word by dropping the last vowel and including a suffix.  In general, it goes: ão, ona (for the aumentative, in the masculine and feminine form respectively) and inho, inha (for the diminutive, in the masculine and feminine form respectively). Remember that the tilde “ ~ “ represents the nasal sound. Take a look at the following examples:

  • Faz um tempão que eu não te vejo! (It’s been a long time that I haven’t seen you!)
  • Tem uma filona para pagar as contas no banco (There’s a big line at the bank to pay the bills)
  • O irmão da Maíra é bonitão/ Aquela atriz é bonitona (Maíra’s brother is very handsome/ That actress is really pretty)
  • Temos que acordar amanhã cedinho (We have to Wake up very early tomorrow)
  • Esse livrão não vai caber na minha estante (There’s no room for this large book in my shelf)
  • Venha nadar com a gente! A água está quentinha! (Come swim with us! The water is really warm!)
  • José acabou de comprar uma BMW. É um carrão (José just bought a BMW. It’s a great car)
  • Vamos comprar essa televisão? Está baratinha! (Let’s buy this TV? It’s very cheap!)
  • Espera um pouquinho, estou quase pronta! (Wait a little, I’m almost ready!)
  • Me dá um pedacinho da sua torta? (Can I have a little bite of your pie?)
  • Minha família vem de uma cidadezinha do interior (My family comes from a small town in the countryside)
Meu gatinho está doente (My kitty is sick)

Meu gatinho está doente (My kitty is sick)

It also works for names:

Meu filho passou a tarde na casa do Pedrinho (My son spent the afternoon in Pedrinho’s house – “Pedrinho” is short for Pedro)

Passa no salão da Glorinha que ela arruma seu cabelo (Stop by Glorinha’s beauty parlor and she’ll fix your hair – “Glorinha” is short for Glória)

Aninha é uma ótima cozinheira (Aninha is a great cook)

Aninha é uma ótima cozinheira (Aninha is a great cook)

Here are some more examples for you to take a look at and practice. Some words don’t work so well in both forms and sound better either only in the diminutive or augmentative:

  • Amigo (friend) – amiguinho, amigão
  • Favor (favor) – favorzinho, favorzão
  • Boca (mouth) – boquinha, bocão
  • Peixe (fish) – peixinho, peixão
  • Gato (cat) – gatinho, gatão
  • Filho (son/daughter) – filhinho, filhão/ filhinha, filhona
  • Beijo (kiss) – beijinho, beijão
  • Pé (foot) – pézinho, pézão
  • começo (beginning) – comecinho
  • praça (square) – pracinha
  • preço (price) – precinho
  • rapaz (boy) – rapazinho
  • vaso (vase) – vasinho
  • café (coffee)- cafezinho
  • lanche (snack) – lanchinho
  • mão (hand) – mãozinha
  • cabelo (hair) – cabelão
  • pai (father) – paizão
Vamos tomar um cházinho? (Let's have some tea?)

Vamos tomar um cházinho? (Let’s have some tea?)

Attention! Some words may end in “ão” or “inho/a” but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are in the augmentative or diminutive form, such as: melão (melon), coração (heart), paixão (passion), irmão (brother), balão (balloon), vizinho (neighbor), madrinha (godmother), cozinha (kitchen)

E aí, acharam facinho? (So, did you think it was very easy?) Beijinhos e até mais! (Kisses and see you later!)

Acentuação gráfica – accents em Português

Posted on 10. Nov, 2015 by in Grammar, Vocabulary



  1. Acento agudo (acute accent): It is always used above any vowel to indicate this vowel is part of the stressed syllable. It also indicates that the vowel sound is an open sound.


  • Ela é uma menina amável. (She is a lovely girl)
  • Esse não é um assunto típico da aula de física. (This is not a typical subject for a physics class)
  • O ar hoje está húmido. (the air is humid today)
  • Eu tomo o meu chá com açúcar. (I drink my tea with sugar)
  • Eu gosto de café em . (I like powder coffee)
  • Meu está (My foot hurts)


  1. Acento circunflexo (circumflex accent): it is always used above the vowels a, e and o to indicate the stressed syllable. It also indicates a closed vowel sound.


  • Hugo faz aniversário este mês. (Hugo’s birthday is this month)
  • O inglês do Lucas é muito bom. (Luca’s English is very good)
  • O meu avô é viúvo. (My grandfather is a widower)
  • O fotografo comprou uma câmera (The photographer bought a new camera)


  1. Acento grave (grave accent): also known as crase, it is used when you need the use the preposition a followed by the article a. It is a fusion of the two.

Exemplo: Take a look at the two examples below and if you need more information on this, there is a different post about verbs that always need preposition: click here.

  • Eu não fui à festa ontem. (I didn’t go to the party yesterday)

(ir a + a festa = à festa)

  • Eu respondi sim àquele rapaz. (I answered yes to that guy)

(responder a + aquele = responder àquele)


  1. Til (tilde): it is used above the vowels a or o to indicate a nasal sound.


  • Eu comprei uma camisa de bem quente. (I bought a very warm wool shirt)
  • Suzana come maçã todos os dias. (Suzana eats apples every day)
  • Meu coração está batendo rápido. (My heart is beating fast)
  • Minha mãe comprou 3 melões no supermercado. (My mother bought 3 melons at the supermarket)


Even though the accents should always be used, many Brazilians still have some difficulty remembering them from time to time. So don’t be too hard on youself if it takes some time for you to get used to them. Remember: the more you read, the more you will learn!

É isso por hoje, pessoal. Tenham uma boa semana!

That’s it for today guys. Have a good week!

Brazilian Literature

Posted on 05. Nov, 2015 by in Brazilian Profile, Culture, Customs, Entertainment, Literature, Movies, Vocabulary

Oi, gente! (Hey guys!)

Reading texts in a foreign language is a great exercise for achieving fluency. Literature then, has a significant role on that regard, because it helps on the process of enriching vocabulary and developing reading comprehension skills.

Today’s post will talk about Brazilian literature or, more specifically, about the prize-winning escritora (writer) Clarice Lispector. The reason why eu a escolhi (I chose her) is because not only is she one of the most talented authors in our country’s literary history, but also because Lispector has reached a canonical status and her work was therefore translated into English by publishers like New Directions and Penguin Books.

Os livros dela (Her books) estão disponíveis (are available) worldwide and podem ser comprados (can be purchased) both in English and Portuguese at online livrarias (bookstores) such as Amazon, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble. Readers can conduct a comparative reading between the original and its version in English to practice their language skills – or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can just buy a copy in Portuguese and embark on a literary journey.

Clarice Lispector nasceu (was born) in 1920 Ukraine, but veio ao (came to) Brazil at a very early age and foi criada (was brought up) in Recife, in the northeastern region of the country. In her teen years, ela se mudou (she moved) to Rio de Janeiro, started law school and published her primeiro romance (first novel) at the age of vinte e três (twenty three). Lispector’s writing is haunting and intense, and her critically-acclaimed style is innovative, sometimes fragmented. Clarice Lispector’s fiction was, therefore, hugely important to Brazilian literature.

The list below contains a short summary of three major novels by Clarice, all of which podem ser encontrados (can be found) in both languages.

Perto do Coração Selvagem (Near to the Wild Heart) -1943

Lispector’s first novel, the plot is about uma mulher chamada (a woman named) Joana and her recollections from her infância (childhood) to her adulthood. The unconventional narrative about memory takes us through different stages in her life, from her school days as a girl to her failed casamento (marriage). As the protagonist looks back on her life, she compares her experiences, contrasting past and present.

coração selvagem

A Paixão Segundo G.H. (Passion According to G.H.) – 1964

Marked by a stream-of-consciousness style, Passion According to G.H. narrates the story of a famous and prosperous Rio de Janeiro-based sculptress, identified only by her initials. She entra (goes into) her maid’s vacant room para limpar (to clean it up), spots uma barata (a cockroach) and crushes it in a nervous fit, after which she starts facing an identity crisis. Both repelled and absorbed by the sight of the oozing insect, the incident leads to a spiritual experience that culminates in a shockingly disturbing twist no final (in the end), one the book’s most memorable scenes.

paixão gh

A Hora da Estrela (Hour of the Star) – 1977

Widely regarded as her one of her greatest novels, Hour of the Star centers on the misfortunes of Macabéa, an uneducated, simple-minded and mild-tempered typewriter who migrates from the Northeast of Brazil to Rio (located in the more urban and cosmopolitan Southeast). Penniless, romantic and innocent, the heroine leads a simple life as a movie-lover and an avid Coca-Cola drinker. After the end of her relationship with her despicable boyfriend and being diagnosed with tuberculosis, she decides to visit a fortune teller, which provides a revealing moment in the story. The novel has been adapted into a motion picture in 1985.

hora estrela

Gostaram? (Did you like it?)

Boa leitura a todos! (Good reading for you all!)