Tudo vs Todo
Do these two words confuse you? Do you stop and scratch your head when these words come up? If you do, don’t worry! You are definitely not alone. A lot of people get confused between these two words (and understandably so since they look so close and have similar meanings.)
Well today we are going to clear it up so you can choose your words with confidence!
Tudo means “everything” or “all”.
Pronunciation is like “to do” with the stress on the first syllable “to”.
It is a noun or indefinite pronoun. Unlike todo, it does not change its form. For example, there is no tuda, tudos, tudas – these do NOT exist- just tudo. So just remember that anytime in English where you would or could say “everything”, you will choose tudo.
Let’s look at some examples:
Eu comi tudo. – I ate everything.
Familia é tudo para mim. – Family is everything to me.
Tudo que eu quero é viajar pelo mundo. – All I want is to travel the world.
Tudo bem. – Everything’s fine or All is well.
Todo means “all” or “every”.
Pronunciation is like “toe do” with the stressed syllable on “toe”.
Todo functions as an adjective, and it does change form (gender and plurality) based on the noun it is modifying – Todo, toda, todos, todas.
These are some common and important word combinations to know.
Todo mundo = everyone or everybody
Todo mundo deve aprender a falar português! – Everyone should learn to speak Portuguese!
Toda vez = every time
Eu choro toda vez que eu assisto este filme. – I cry every time I watch this movie.
Todo lugar = everywhere
Que nojo! Tem insetos em todo lugar. – How gross! There are insects everywhere.
Todo dia or Todos os dias = every day
Eu falo com minha mãe todo dia – I talk to my mom every day.
But wait! Tudo and Todo both mean “all”? How do I know which one to choose?
The very important distinction comes back to the fact that “tudo” functions as a noun or pronoun and “todo” functions as an adjective. In English, the word “all” is very diverse. It can function as a noun, pronoun, adjective, or adverb. As such, it is important to be able to distinguish HOW you are using “all” in your sentence. Are you modifying a noun? A verb? Or are you using it all by itself?
Now you may be saying, “But teacher! I am not good at English grammar. When I speak, I don’t know which part of speech I am using. I just know that I need to say ‘all’.”
I get it! Not everyone is a natural grammar whiz, and you usually don’t have time to analyze your sentence when you are in the moment of speaking. So here’s a hack that will work most of the time. (Do you like hacks? I love them!)
Hack: If you can substitute the word “all” with “everything”, and your sentence still makes sense, then it is functioning as a noun/pronoun and you will need to choose TUDO!
Example 1: This is the greatest song of all time. – Isto é a melhor música de ______ tempo.
Can you say “This is the greatest song of everything time”? No, you can’t. So you definitely need to use “todo”.
Isto é a melhor música de todo tempo.
Example 2: I gave my all. – Eu dei meu _____.
Can you say “I gave my everything”? Yes, you can! So we will need to choose “tudo.”
Eu dei meu tudo.
Make sense?! I hope so!
As with everything, it will take some getting used to, but the more you are practice and observe, the more you will start to become comfortable with which one to use.
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