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[Most common mistakes in Portuguese] – Part 1 Posted by on Jun 28, 2017 in Brazilian Profile, Culture, False Friends, Grammar, Grammar, Idioms, Learning, Online Learning, Spelling, Vocabulary

[Os erros mais comuns em Português]

Olá a todos! Hey, all!

If you’re studying Portuguese for a while, you know the language has a lot of rules that can be tricky sometimes. And don’t feel frustrated, even native speakers find it confusing every now and then and it is normal to make mistakes in some situations. Today, we are going to take a look at a list of the most typical mix ups and learn how to understand how to distinguish the difference between some words in Portuguese that might seem too similar. Remember that the best way to avoid these mistakes is always to read a lot and keep yourself informed!

Por que/Porque

They work like the “why/because” pair. We use “Por que” (why) to ask questions (implicit or explicit) and “Porque” (because) for answers. Look:

  • Por que ele ainda não chegou? – Why is he not here yet?
  • Ela não sabe por que veio aqui – She doesn’t know why she came here
  • Marcos não foi trabalhar porque estava doente – Marcos didn’t come to work because he was sick

Note: “porque” can always be replaced by the word “pois” (Não fui à festa porque não quis/ Não fui à festa pois não quis (I didn’t go to the party because I didn’t want to)


“Mal” can be an adverb or a noun. It is the opposite of “well”. “Mau” (bad/evil) is an adjective. It is the opposite of “bom” (good)

  • Vou embora, estou me sentindo mal – I’m leaving, I’m feeling bad
  • Meu pai dirige mal – My father drives badly
  • Sempre acordo de mau humor – I always wake up in a bad mood
  • O ditador foi um homem mau – The dictator was an evil man


“Mas” (but) is a conjunction used to suggest contrast and “mais” is an adverb thar means “more” and is the opposite of “less”. Therefore, “mas” indicates opposition and “mais” indicates quantity.

  • Mais cerveja, por favor – More beer, please
  • Quanto mais eu converso com ela, mais me apaixono – The more I speak to her, the more I fall in love
  • Clara deu o melhor de si, mas não conseguiu o emprego – Clara did her best, but she didn’t get the job
  • Quero viajar mas não tenho dinheiro – I want to travel but I don’t have money


The verb “haver” (“there is”, in the sense of existence) has no plural form. So, we can say:

  • Havia só uma pessoa no bar – There was only one person at the bar

But if we are referring to a larger quantity, the verb remains in the singular:

  • Havia trinta pessoas na reunião – There were 30 people at the meeting
  • Há várias maneiras de dizer “eu te amo” – There are many ways to say “I love you”
  • Haverá mudanças no sistema – There will be changes in the system


This one is simple, but still a lot of people can slip up sometimes. In Portuguese, women say “obrigada” and men say “obrigado”. Take a look:

  • Parabéns pelo trabalho, Suzana! – Obrigada! | Congratulations on your work, Suzana! – Thank you!
  • Aqui está seu troco, senhor. – Obrigado. | Here is your change, sir. – Thank you.

Por hoje é só! Continuem assim !

This is it for today! Keep up the good work!


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