The definite article in Portuguese differs in singular and plural as well as in masculine and feminine nouns. In addition, the ending of the noun can change.
With masculine nouns
If a noun is masculine, you need the article o in the singular and os in the plural.
- o filho – os filhos (the son – the sons)
- o artigo – os artigos (the article – the articles)
- o dedo – os dedos (the finger – the fingers)
Moreover, the endings of the nouns help you to recognise them as masculine:
- -o – o carro (the car)
- -or – o motor (the engine)
- -s – o país (the country)
- -l – o sol (the sun)
- -az – o cartaz (the poster)
- -ão – o cão (the dog)
With feminine nouns
You use the article a in the singular and as in the plural when the noun is feminine.
- a filha – as filhas (the daughter – the daughters)
- a semana – as semanas (the week – the weeks)
- a mesa – as mesas (the table – the tables)
Just like masculine words, feminine nouns also have clear endings so you can easily recognise them:
- -a – a casa (the house)
- -ã – a manhã (the morning)
- -gem – a garagem (the garage)
- -iz – a atriz (the actress)
- -(ç) ão – a nação (the nation)
But be careful: the definite article in Portuguese
If you are learning Portuguese, you will definitely notice that the definite article is used a lot more frequently.
Thus, the definite article precedes names, unless it is a direct form of address.
- É o Pedro. (This is Pedro.)
- Sou a Clara. (I’m Clara.)
You also need the definite article if you are talking about continents, countries, languages or rivers. The same applies to islands or mountains.
- a Ásia / a Europa / a Austrália
- a Alemanha / a Espanha / a Noruega (Exception: Portugal is without an article!)
- o português / o inglês (Exception: After some verbs – for example falar or saber – there is no definite article!)
- O Tamisa / O Nilo
- a Sardenha / a Maiorca
- o Matterhorn / o Corcovado
The definite article also precedes the noun in the case of days of the week, holidays and seasons.
- Encontramos no domingo. (We meet on Sunday.)
- No Natal estamos no casa. (We’re home for Christmas.)
- No verão comemos no jardim. (In the summer we eat in the garden.)
How to learn the definite article in Portuguese
The definite article in Portuguese is based on rules that help you learn. Our app supports you in this because it shows you each noun with the corresponding article. This makes it easier for you to deal with the topic of the article right from the start.
Do you have questions about the definite article in Portuguese?