By Teacher Claudia
Dear readers, today we’ll see a delicate topic, the regularity of verbs in Portuguese. When my first Australian student asked me about that, I wasn’t prepared to answer. He and his question were the first sparks to guide me in a new and challenging journey: the study and comprehension of my mother-tongue, in order to be a real teacher. His doubt made me a student again, learning about my work, my teaching and my goals. He changed my life.

If I may give you a tip, this is it: ask. Ask teachers, friends, family, co-workers. Ask everyone, all questions you may have. Who knows, you might change someone’s life, too.

Activity 1
Read a piece of the song Poder”, by Arnaldo Antunes.

“Pode ser loucura, pode ser razão;
Pode ser sim, pode ser não;
Pode ser amor, pode ser prisão;
Pode ser inverno, pode ser verão.

Só não sei porque eu e voc não pode não.
Eu só não sei porque eu e voc não pode não.

Pode ser reforma, pode ser revoluão;
Pode ser conselho, pode ser lião;
Pode ser antes, pode ser então.

Só não sei porque eu e voc não pode não.
Eu só não sei porque eu e voc não pode não.”

(“Might”

It may be madness, it may be sense;
It may be yes, it may be no;
It may be love, it may be prison;
It may be winter, it may be summer.

I just don’t know why it may not be you and I.
I just don’t know why it may not be you and I.

It may be reform, it may be revolution,
It may be advice, it may be lesson;
It may be before, it may be then.

I just don’t know why it may not be you and me.
I just don’t know why it may not be you and me.)

Activity 2 – Context
The word “Poder” in Portuguese works as a noun and also as a verb, depending on the context.
As a noun, it can mean power or possibility. As a verb, it can mean to be able to and the modal verbs can, may and might. “Poder” is a very important term in Portuguese, and one of the hardest examples of Irregular Verbs.

As you may remember, there are three families, or three endings for verbs in my language:

  • “ar”, or First Conjugation, for ex. “chegar”, “trabalhar”;
  • “er”, or Second Conjugation, for ex. “poder”, “conhecer”;
  • “ir” or Third Conjugation, for ex. “sair”, “dormir”.

    Activity 3 – Regularity of Verbs
    A regular verb is the one which doesn’t have its root altered and which endings follow the model of its conjugation, or “family”, for instance “cantar”.
    The endings in bold are regular ones, or the model for the first conjugation.

    Presente do Indicativo (simple present) Pretrito perfeito do Indicativo (simple past)
    Eu canto Cantei
    Voc, ele, ela canta Cantou
    Nós cantamos Cantamos
    Vocs, eles, elas cantam Cantaram

    Now, an irregular verb is the one which root, endings or both are altered. It follows no model, as the verb “poder”.

    Presente do Indicativo (simple present) Pretrito perfeito do Indicativo (simple past)
    Eu posso Pude
    Voc, ele, ela pode Pde
    Nós podemos Pudemos
    Vocs, eles, elas podem Puderam

    The simple present of “poder” might fool you, making you think it’s regular. But take a look at it again; the first person is completely different from the others. That’s why we must know the verb’s simple present and simple past, to double-check it. The “Presente” and “Pretrito perfeito” are the fundamental verb tenses, so we can only know the regularity of a verb by remembering (and practicing) them.

    Activity 4 – Practice
    Dear reader, you need to exercise your verbs. Practice these verbs, in the simple present and simple past:

    1. Amar – Dar
    2. Comer – Querer – Por
    3. Sair – Ir

    Next class we’ll only study verbal exceptions.

    See you!

    Teacher Claudia is available for private classes in São Paulo. She can be contacted at claudiafmla@uol.com.brTo read previous articles by Teacher Claudia click below:Brazil: A Day in São PauloWhy Not? (Or on Brazilian Indians)Portuguese Tip: Infinitives and Gerunds Part 1Brazil: Portuguese Tip – Ningum X NenhumBrazil: Portuguese Tip – Tudo vs. TodoBrazil’s Independence DayBrazil: Portuguese Tips – DenialsBrazil: Portuguese Tips – Não and NemPortuguese Tip: If Clauses Part 1Portuguese Tip: If Clauses Part 1Portuguese Tip: The X Doubts Part 2Portuguese Tip: The X DoubtsBrazil: To Tell or Not to TellBrazil: Ipiranga MuseumPortuguese Tip: Odd wordsPortuguese Tip: Interjections and ExpressionsA Brazilian Holiday: October 12thPortuguese Tip: SoundsPortuguese Tip: Verb TensesPortuguese Tip: The Mystery of Seu, SuaPortuguese Tip: Interjections and ExpressionsPortuguese Tips: Plurals – Part 2A Brazilian custom: Kissing the CheekPortuguese Tips: Regular Verbs – Simple Past Portuguese Tips: Plurals – Part 1Portuguese Tips: Regular Verbs – Simple PresentPortuguese TipsPortuguese Tips: Adverbs in PortuguesePortuguese Tips: Comparative and SuperlativeForeigners Through Brazilian Eyes

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