Portuguese Language and Culture
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for Marlene
Portuguese for Everyone - An Interactive Portuguese Course for Students and Teachers
Lesson 1: Getting Started

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The verb 'estar' (to be)

You will now be surprised to hear that the Portuguese have two distinct verbs, which can both be translated into English with 'to be'. The first such verb you already got to know from the previous page. The second verb is 'estar'.

'Estar' and 'ser' are not interchangeable. As you already know, 'ser' is always used, when you talk about someone's nationality or country of origin or a person's characteristics or even job. The verb 'estar' on the other hand is used, when you want to indicate the location of somebody or something.

Rio de Janeiro

Mônica está aqui de férias.Monica is on vacation here.
Ela está na praia.She is on the beach.
Tomás e Mônica estão no Rio de Janeiro.Thomas and Monica are in Rio de Janeiro.
Eles estão no Brasil.They are in Brasil.

Here are in detail the forms of the verb 'estar'. Please note that we replaced the pronouns ele/ela as well as eles/elas by você and vocês simply for a change. Again, for you to repeat: The verb forms of all verbs in Portuguese are identical for ele (he), ela (she) and você (you, formal address), as well as for eles/elas (they) and vocês (you, plural, formal address).

1steu estou
(I am)
nós estamos
(we are)
2ndtu estás
(you are)
vós estais
(you are)
3rdvocê está
(you are, formal)
vocês estão
(you are, formal)

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