Portuguese Tip: The Mystery of Seu, Sua

By Prof. Claudia
Many of my students complain about the usage of the possessive adjectives in Portuguese. That’s probably because in English, identifying the owner is half the problem. The other half is relating to it properly.
In Portuguese, the owner doesn’t matter so much.
Therefore, my students are right when they say the words seu, sua, seus, suas” are a little confusing.

Activity 1
Read part of a song, “Como vai voc?”, performed by Roberto Carlos.

“Como vai voc
Eu preciso saber da sua vida
Peo a algum pra me contar sobre os seus dias
Anoiteceu e eu preciso só saber
(…)
Vem que a sede de te amar me faz melhor
Eu quero amanhecer ao seu redor
Preciso tanto me fazer feliz”

(How are you?
I need to know about you
I ask someone to tell me about your days
Night has fallen and I just need to know
Come because the thirst to love you makes me better
I want to wake up beside you
I do need to be happy)



Activity 2
Identify it.
If you’ve paid attention to the verses above, you saw three underlined words: sua, seus, and seu.
Now, the tip: the key is the owned object.
As you know, nouns in Portuguese may vary, according to number and gender.
Take a look: “vida” is a feminine word and it’s in the singular form; “dias” is masculine and plural; “redor” is masculine and singular.
So, the phrases are: “sua vida”, “seus dias”, and “seu redor”.


Activity 3
Understand it.
Summarize activity 2 in order to understand the topic.
Just to make sure, I’ll show you my summary:
Find what’s owned first.
Check its gender and number.
Apply the correct possessive adjective.


Activity 4
Remember it.
Most possessive adjectives follow the personal pronoun, for instance, “eu – meu, minha, meus, minhas” or “nós – nosso, nossa, nossos, nossas”.
But “seu, sua, seus suas” have a number of possibilities, so we must know what they mean (and that doesn’t change):
“Seu” is always used with a masculine, singular word, while “seus” is its plural.
“Sua” is always used with a feminine, singular word, and “suas” is its plural.
And these four possessive adjectives can be connected to voc, ele, ela, vocs, eles, elas.


Activity 5
Explore your knowledge.
Now read a tiny piece of another song, “Nem um dia”, by Djavan, and answer my questions.
What is the word “suas” relating to? And why is it suas, not sua?

“Longe da felicidade
E todas as suas luzes
Te desejo como ao ar
Mais que tudo)

(Far from happiness
And all its lights
I want you as the air
More than everything)



Activity 6
Expand your vocabulary.
Complete the text below with: seu, seus, sua, suas:
Bianca e o irmão em ………………….. apartamento no Brasil.
Tom e ……. paixão pelo futebol.
Ben e ……………………. reformas em Paraty.
Shayne e Lu em ………………….. casa na Austrlia.
Robert e …………………. cinco sobrinhas.
Michael e ……. ombro dolorido.

(Answers: seu, sua, suas, sua, suas, seu)


See you next class!
Teacher Cludia


To read previous articles by Prof. Claudia click below:

Portuguese Tip: Interjections and Expressions
Portuguese Tips: Plurals – Part 2
A Brazilian custom: Kissing the Cheek
Portuguese Tips: Regular Verbs – Simple Past
Portuguese Tips: Plurals – Part 1
Portuguese Tips: Regular Verbs – Simple Present
Portuguese Tips
Portuguese Tips: Adverbs in Portuguese
Portuguese Tips: Comparative and Superlative
Foreigners Through Brazilian Eyes

Prof. Claudia is available for private classes in São Paulo. She can be contacted at claudiafmla@uol.com.br

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