Portuguese Language Blog

What does ‘custar’ mean in Portuguese? Posted by on Aug 24, 2020 in Culture, Learning, Vocabulary

Olá, amigos leitores! Hello to my dear readers! Não custa nada (it never hurts) to remember that learning a new language has its tricky moments, since some words might have different meanings that vary according to their use and context. And this is no different when it comes to Portuguese! And with that in mind, our text today will be dedicated to a term that is quite typical for us speakers, but whose meaning can change significantly: the verb custar. Let’s learn a bit more about it?

Before moving on to some practical examples, it is worth mentioning that one of its meanings is that of cost, which is used to express the price of something. But custar goes beyond that and it covers at least two other main ideas: the first is related to time, more specifically to the idea of delay or something that is time-consuming; and the other for a sense of difficulty and struggle, of something being a hassle. So let’s go over some sample sentences for extra clarification:

Custar no sentido de ter um preço | as in cost

  • Quanto custa um final de semana na praia com hotel incluído? | How much does a weekend at the beach cost with accommodation included?
  • Eu parei de comprar naquele supermercado, tudo está custando muito mais caro | I stopped shopping at that supermarket, prices have risen a lot
  • Qual o melhor custo-benefício nos restaurantes de sua cidade? | What is the best value for money in restaurants in your city?
  • As casas naquele bairro custam muito caro | The houses in that neighborhood are very expensive
  • A imprudência do presidente tem custado a vida de milhares de pessoas | The president’s recklessness has claimed the lives of thousands of people

Custar no sentido de demorar | as in take a long time

  • Eu custei a entender a história que ele me contou, nada fazia sentido! | It took me a while to understand the story he told me, it made no sense to me!
  • A caminhada foi muito longa, nós custamos a chegar no topo da serra | The walk was very long, it took us too long to reach to the top of the mountain
  • Trabalhava e estudava ao mesmo tempo, então custei a me formar na universidade | I worked and studied at the same time, so it took me some time to graduate from the university
  • Ele custou a chegar na festa, ficou preso em um engarrafamento a tarde toda | It took him too long to get to the party, he was stuck in a traffic jam all afternoon
  • O luto custa a passar quando alguém muito querido morre | Grief takes a while to overcome when someone dear to you dies

Custar no sentido de ser difícil ou trabalhoso | as in being difficult or troublesome

  • Aquele livro é muito complicado, acho que os alunos vão custar a ler ele todo | That book is very complicated, I think students might struggle to read it 
  • Não custa nada ser gentil com os outros | It never hurts to be kind to others
  • Não acho que vou conseguir aquele emprego, mas não custa nada tentar | I don’t think I’m going to get that job, but it never hurts to try.
  • Mesmo com muita força de vontade as pessoas custam parar de fumar| Even with a lot of willpower people struggle to quit smoking 
  • Custei a me adaptar, nem sempre é fácil mudar para um novo lugar | I struggled to adapt, it is not always easy to move to a new place

Para vocês, quanto custa aprender uma nova língua? For you, what does it take to learn a new language? I hope this has been useful and if you can come up with any use for the verb custar, let us know. Até a próxima! See you next time!

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