Grammar and Spelling
Section One - Grammar and Spelling
1. Gender: Nouns are of two genders: masculine and feminine. Nouns that can be preceded by the articles 'o', 'os' 'um' or 'uns' and male persons and animals are masculine (such as living beings of the male sex). Nouns that can be preceded by the articles 'a', 'as' or 'uma', 'umas' are feminine. Most nouns ending in 'o' are masculine (o carro = the car) and most nouns ending in 'a' are feminine (a casa = the house). As a general rule, nouns ending in a, ã, ade, ção are feminine and all others are masculine.
2. Plurals: Plural forms always have a final 's' whatever way the plural was formed from the singular. Another way of identifying the plural of nouns is by the articles or pronouns preceding it, which will also have a final 's' (os meus pais = my parents).
3. One-letter words: There are several one-letter words in Portuguese, such as: a, o, e ('the' feminine, 'the' masculine, 'and').
4. Cases: There are no cases in Portuguese.
5. Accents: Graphic accents are used in the singular to make words easier to read, and shows whether vowels are open or closed, or the difference between two similar words, as in 'pára' and 'para', 'pôr' and 'por', 'notámos' and 'notamos'.
There are three graphic accents:
The til (~) is not exactly a graphic accent and serves to indicate nasal vowels (as in 'irmã') or nasal diphthongs ('irmãos'). When it coincides with the tonic accent it is also a graphic accent. It is used over vowels 'a' and 'o'.
6. Capitalisation: Words are capitalised:
Text titles are not capitalised, only when stylistically required.
Section Two - Punctuation
Punctuation is similar to English. It does have some exceptions, however, such as:
1. Headings of letters: In headings of letters, instead of the usual English comma - Dear Sir, - in Portuguese the colons or an exclamation point are used - Exmo. Senhor:
2. Full stops: These are not normally used in headings or titles. In bullet points, the first words are in lower case, also with exception of capitalised words, and each bullet point ends with a semi-colon; at the end of the last point, a full stop is used. (After colons and semi-colons, lower case is always used, with the exception of capitalised words.)
Full stops are generally used at the end of a sentence and with abbreviations. (e.g. "Sr." (Sir), "Dr." (Doctor))
3. Commas: Commas are not normally used before conjunctions such as 'e' (and) and 'ou' (or). Commas are used on enumeration and repetition ofwords from the same nature, or with the same function, when they are not connected by conjunctions 'e' (and), "nem" (nor) and "ou" (or).
They are also used in the following instances:
-To separate the vocative and the appositive.
4. Semi-colons: These are used to separate clause sentences of the same nature which are part of a long enumeration, and that already have commas.
5. Colons: These are used to introduce the speech in direct speech, in quoting, to start an enumeration or explanation.
6. Question marks: are used in questions and direct interrogations.
7. Exclamation marks: are used with exclamatory words and sentences, to express feelings like admiration, enthusiasm, irony, doubt, pain&
Note: Sometimes exclamation marks and question marks can be used together to express interrogation and exclamation at the same time. (generally in dialogue)
8. Dashes: are used in direct speech, to introduce the speech and to separate it from the words of the intercalated indirect speech. They are also used to separate any detached or highlighted clause sentence, expression or word.
9. Omission points: These indicate that something is incomplete, that something is missing. This suspension can represent hesitation, doubt, bitterness, irony or other feelings.
10. Parenthesis (or Brackets): These are used to isolate, as an aside, an element of a sentence or the entire sentence.
11. Inverted commas: These are placed at the beginning and at the end of sentences, or words that are quotations from other contexts.
12. Italics: are used to point out foreign words or artwork titles. Sometimes they are used to highlight words or sentences.
13. Speech marks: These are used in the following way:
14. Apostrophes: These are used to quote popular or colloquial language. Apostrophes are used to indicate the omission of the "e" ("and", the letter "e") and of the preposition "de" ("of", "from"). E.g. "galinha-d’angola" (angola’s chicken).
Section Three - Measurements and Abbreviations
1. Measurements: Metric is the official form of measurement, except when referring to screen sizes, where inches (polegadas) are used. Imperial measurements such as miles (milhas), lbs (libras), however, are also recognised and used in a foreign text context, but usually after the metric measurements and between brackets, for reference only.
Times: 10 a.m. = 10 h or 10:00, 4 p.m. = 16 h or 16:00, 11 p.m. = 23 h or 23:00
The decimal separator is the comma: e.g. 3,7 mm (note the space between the number and measurement)
Numbers over 1000 are separated either by a space or a dot (a space being more common) (e.g. 16 000 or 16.000).
Currencies: distinguished by the international 3-letter identifier before the number or by the full description after it (e.g. GBP 3,50 or 3,50 libras esterlinas; DEM 3,50 or 3,50 marcos alemães; FRF 3,50 or 3,50 francos franceses; USD 3,50 or 3,50 dólares americanos, etc.).
Section Four - Hyphenation
1. Hyphenation: Hyphenation is widely used, in:
2. End-of-line hyphenation: This is similar to English, except the rule to hyphenate between two consonants does not always apply in Portuguese (fe-cha-mos, cri-ar, Lon-dres).
An additional rule in Portuguese is that if a word is hyphenated to start with
(deixe-me) and you have to split it
in two because of an end of line, then it
should have two hyphens, one at the end of
the line and the other at the beginning of
the next line (deixe-
Section Five - Geographic Distribution
Portuguese derives from Latin and makes part of the Romanic languages.
The Portuguese speaking (lusófono) world is estimated nowadays to consist of about 170 to 210 million people. Portuguese, the eighth most spoken language on the planet (third among the occidental languages, after English and Castillian), is the official language in eight countries: Angola (10,3 million inhabitants), Brazil (151 million), Cape Verde (346 thousand), Guinea Bissau (1 million), Mozambique (15,3 million), Portugal (11 million), São Tomé e Príncipe (126 thousand) and East Timor (750 thousand), besides being spoken in former colonies such as Macao and Goa, Damão and Diu (India).
Portuguese has been one of the official languages of the European Union since 1986.
In the wide and discontinuous area in which it is spoken, Portuguese is, as any other living language, internally differentiated in varieties that diverge in a more or less accentuated way as to pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. Such differentiation, however, does not compromise the unity of the language: despite the eventful history of its expansion in Europe and, mostly, out of it, the Portuguese language has managed to maintain until today an appreciable cohesion among its varieties.
Section Six – Character Set
[ ] = Alt key codes
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