In today’s blogpost let’s learn about these words that may confuse your mind: the demonstrative pronouns in portuguese. Learning this subject in English was a simple task for you, right? After all, there are only four words that summarize this matter for english native speakers (this, that, these and those). But now, let’s face the challenge of applying this knowledge in the Portuguese language. I hope you enjoy it!
So, let’s begin with the difference between este and esta. Basically, they are used in the same situations, but este is used for masculine gender words (which usually end with “o”) and esta is used for feminine gender words (which usually end with “a”). Knowing that, we may talk about how these words are used in three different ways: situations related to space, time and discourse.
Este and Esta are used when what is being demonstrated is close to the person speaking.
“Este livro é do João.”
“This is João’s book.”
“Esta gatinha está ferida.”
“This kitten is injured.”
Imagine that the woman holding the kitten is saying: “Esta gatinha está machucada.”
Este and Esta are used when what is being demonstrated is in the present tense in relation to the person speaking.
“Este é o momento certo para correr.”
“This is the right time to run.”
Este and Esta are used here to refer to something that will be mentioned in the speech, but has not yet been.
“O problema é este: ninguém gosta do que você fala.”
“The problem is this: no one likes what you say.”
Similar to the previous pronouns the word Esse is used for masculine gender words and Essa is used for feminine ones. These expressions also have three previous uses: space, time and discourse. Let’s check it out.
Esse and Essa are used when what is being demonstrated is far away from the person speaking and close to the person being spoken to.
“Essa maçã aí é minha!”
“That’s my apple right there!”
“Que livro é esse que você está lendo?”
“What is that book you’re reading?”
Imagine that you’re asking the woman: “Que livro é esse que você está lendo?”
Esse and Essa are used when what is being demonstrated is in the past or future tense in relation to the person speaking.
“Esse foi o ano em que fui pai.”
“That was the year I became a father”
“Essa semana irei a Las Vegas.”
“This Week I’ll go to Las Vegas.”
Esse and Essa are used for referring to information previously mentioned in the text.
“Ele disse que nós não estávamos prestando atenção. Esse comentário foi incorreto.”
“He said that we were not paying attention. That comment was incorrect.”
Aquele, Aquela and Aquilo
These three words also differ with respect to the gender of use (Aquele for masculine words and Aquela for feminine words) and they are used for space and time situations. Aquele and Aquela are used when what is being demonstrated is far away from the person speaking and the person being spoken to. They’re used to refer to a distant past too.
“Aquele livro ali é nosso.” (Space)
“That book there is ours.”
“Aquele foi o melhor ano de sua infância.” (Time)
“That was the best year of his childhood.”
An important point to note is that the word Aquilo is most often used just in situations that are applied for locating things in space. But not in time-related situations.Furthermore, “Aquilo” appears a lot in contexts where we don’t know the genre of what we are talking about and also to refer to previously spoken ideas.
“Aquilo ali é assustador.”
“That’s scary over there.”
“Aquilo que ela me disse me causou calafrios.”
“What she said gave me chills.”
Isso and Isto
These two words are most often used to refer to ideas or phrases already said earlier in the text (Isso) or that’ll still be expressed (Isto).
“A guerra prejudica muitos inocentes. Isso é um absurdo!”
“War harms many innocent people. This is absurd!”
“Eu quero que saiba isto: que amo você.”
“”I want you to know this: that I love you.”