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The verbs ‘acostumar’ and ‘costumar’ in Portuguese Posted by on Oct 25, 2017 in Customs, Grammar, Idioms, Learning, Vocabulary

Ei, pessoal! Hi, guys!

Vocês costumam estudar Português com frequência? Do you usually study Portuguese often?

Today we will learn about two verbs that are frequently used in Portuguese: acostumar e costumar. Although they look practically the same and have very similar functions, they actually have slightly different meaning, in addition to being used in different constructions

But first, check out their conjugation in the present tense:


eu costumo

você costuma

ele costuma

nós costumamos

vocês  costumam

eles costumam



eu acostumo

você acostuma

ele acostuma

nós acostumamos

vocês acostumam

eles acostumam

Both derive from the word costume, meaning custom. So, we use acostumar and costumar to talk about our habits. And there is also the collocation ‘estar acostumado’ (to be used to). The distinction is that acostumar refers to a habit that we progressively acquire, something that we obtain over time whereas costumar is a constant practice, a repetitive action that is part of our routine. Therefore:

ACOSTUMAR-SE – to acquire a habit over time

COSTUMAR – an already established habit

So take a look at the difference:

  1. Minha mãe costuma ler o jornal todas as manhãs | My mom usually reads the newspaper every morning
  2. Minha mãe acostumou-se a ler o jornal todas as manhãs | My mom got used to reading the newspaper every morning

In the first example, I am affirming that my mother is – and has been, for a long period of time – in the habit of reading the newspaper. In the second sentence, however, I am saying that my mother didn’t have this habit, but gained it over time.

So, the most appropriate translation for each verb would normally be the structure be/get used to for acostumar and the adverb usually to express costumar in the present.

And how do we form sentences with acostumar and costumar? Look:

COSTUMAR + verb in the infinitive

ACOSTUMAR + a/ com

See the examples below:

  • Meus pais estão acostumados a acordar cedo | My parents are used to waking up early
  • O bebê já se acostumou a dormir durante a noite | The baby is already used to sleeping at night
  • Não consigo me acostumar com esse calor | I can’t get used to this hot weather
  • Ela já está acostumada com o barulho do trem que passa ao lado de sua casa | She is already used to the noise of the train that runs next to her house
  • Não costuma chover tanto essa época | It doesn’t usually rain at this time of the year
  • Meu cachorro costuma fazer xixi no jornal | My dog usually pees in the newspaper
  • Eles costumam ir ao cinema aos fins-de-semana | They usually go to the movies on weekends
  • Muitas famílias costumam ir à praia no verão | Many families usually go to the beach in the summar
  • Meu aparelho novo está me incomodando, mas o dentista disse que vou me acostumar logo | My new braces are bothering me, but the dentist said I’ll get used to them soon
  • Nós costumávamos ir naquele bar todas as noites antes dele fechar | We used to go to that bar every night before it closed down
  • Meu pai tentou se acostumar à nova dieta, mas não conseguiu | My father tried to get used to the new diet, but he couldn’t
  • Quais aplicativos você costuma usar? | Which apps do you usually use?
  • Corujas costumam caçar à noite | Owls usually hunt at night
  • Eu até me acostumei bem rápido ao leite de soja | I actually got used to soy milk really fast

Daylight savings time
It will take 10 thousand years for me to get used to it and, when I do, it will be over

“With time you will get used to waking up early”
“Yeah, right”

Foi difícil? Não se preocupem, vocês se acostumam rapidinho! Was it difficult? Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it in no time!

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