Saturday, July 2, 2016


Image (See those hills over there!) by Craig Sunter (CC BY 2.0)
"AQUI", "CÁ", "ALI", "LÁ", "AÍ"... If you have questions about using these adverbs that indicate place I hope this article can be useful for you.

I have a friend, his name is Joel. Joel lives in Wales and his native language is English. He is on advanced level in Portuguese learning, so he loves practice conversation with his friends in Brazil using Skype.

On these conversations Joel always says: "Como está o tempo no Brasil?". No! This is not right!

The phrase in itself is not wrong. But in this context "LÁ" is not the right word. Joel should say: "Como está o tempo no Brasil?". Let's try to understand the case...

ATENTION: If you speak Spanish as second language or even as your native language, you need to pay even more attention because "ALÍ" and "AÍ" in Portuguese are "false friends" cases.

#1: Let's remember some concepts that can be helpful

"AQUI", "CÁ", "ALI", "LÁ" and "AÍ" are adverbs that indicate place. They indicate where something happens.

But in order to understand the meaning of these words you need to understand very well the concepts about demonstrative pronouns "ESTE", "ESSE" e "AQUELE". If you don't remember about them, please see the image bellow:

Image 1:
"ESTE/ESTA" refer to the object near the person that speaks (THIS).

Image 2:
"ESSE/ESSA" refer to the object near the person to who she is speaking (THAT).

Image 3:
"AQUELE/AQUELA" refer to the object far from both (THAT).

#2: Let's see these words' meaning

Now you need to understand exactly what these words mean: "AQUI", "CÁ", "ALI", "LÁ", "AÍ". Let's see:

"AQUI" and "CÁ" mean "in this place" (EM + ESTE = NESTE).
- "Aqui dentro está muito quente."
- "Carlos, estou na festa. Venha pra cá você também!"

"AÍ" indicates “in that place” (EM + ESSE = NESSE).
- "Maria, olhe na sua mochila, o livro deve estar aí com você."

"ALI" and "LÁ" mean “in that place” (EM + AQUELE = NAQUELE). But “ALI” indicates something that everyone in the conversation can see and "LÁ" indicates something that no one in the conversation can see.
- "O João está dando uma festa na casa dele. Vamos pra lá!"
- "Olha aquele cisne alí no lago!"

#3 Now, let's understand Joel's case

- Joel is in Wales.
- Paulo is in Brazil.


Joel says to Paulo:
"Como está o tempo no Brasil?"

Paulo says to Joel:
"O tempo aqui no Brasil está bom. E como está o tempo no País de Gales?"

Joel says to Paulo:
"O tempo aqui no País de Gales também está bom. Como estará o tempo no Japão?"

Paulo says to Joel:
"Deve estar igual ao tempo na Nova Zelândia."

Well, I hope these suggestions can be useful for you. If you have any questions, please share in the comments.

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