August 2, 2020

O, A, OS, AS

With Portuguese nouns and adjectives, gender is also at stake when it comes to articles. When applying articles in Portuguese you need to know that "o" is used for masculine nouns, and "a" for feminine nouns.





O [oo]

A [ah]


o livro

a amizade

o prato limpo

a cama grande

Brazilians use the word in front of nouns much more often than people in English. When you want to say that "books are fun", they say "Os livros são divertidos" or "O Brasil é grande" which would be "Brazil is big".

Brazilians always use the article before a person's name: A Paula, O Marcos, A Maria, O José.


It is important to know that in some cases there is no need to place a definite article before a person's name, it is:

1. When someone is really famous as writers, presidents, ministers, popes, etc., for example, "Leonardo Dicaprio é um grande ator".

2. When you are calling someone. For example:

Bruno, vem aqui, por favor!

Bianca, não faça isso!

In the latter case you will not need to use the definite article because you are using the vocative, or in other words, you are catching someone's attention.

You must also not use a definite article:

3. With Portuguese-speaking countries, except Brazil (for example, Angola é grande - Angola é grande).

4. With most city names (for example, Chicago é grande - Chicago é grande).

The plural of Definite Articles

If a noun is plural, use "os" if the noun is masculine and "as" for the feminine noun.

os alunos

as bicicletas

os sapatos limpo

as cadeiras azuis

Therefore, for the correct use of articles defined in the Portuguese language, besides giving gender to words, you also need to assign a number to them. That is, it is necessary to define the nouns, with an article defined in Portuguese, if the words are singular or plural. We then know that "a lista" is different from "as listas".

The definite articles are as follows:




O [oo]

A [ah]


Os [oosh]EU


As [ash]EU


Definite articles are also important because in most cases they correspond with the end of a word, for example, a casa, o prato, as camas, os meninos.

In other words, gender refers to nouns, such as objects, ideas or names of people, which can be feminine or masculine. Although objects in English are generally neutral, neither male nor female, some of them have a gender. For example, if you talk about the Titanic, you would say "She was a great ship". By saying "she", you are giving the ship Titanic a gender - you are saying that Titanic is a "she".

So to apply the article correctly just imagine that you always have to give a gender to each object, idea or person. And it's that simple!

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About the author 

Jaimi Saunders

J’aimi has worked in the education industry for over 20 years, gaining experience in teaching, mentoring, and coaching. As a seasoned educator he is passionate about advancing teaching excellence and student motivation. In addition to working in the education industry, he is also involved in continuing his personal education and improvement. Outside of the office, J’aimi enjoys, antique vehicles, motorcycles, and travelling to new destinations.

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