Um, Dois, Três: Portuguese Numbers
Whether you’re expressing your age, asking for that special someone’s phone number, remembering a birthday, mailing a letter, or keeping track of your weight, you’ll need to know numbers! If you’re studying Portuguese and plan on visiting or moving to Portugal or Brazil, you probably have an idea how important numbers are in everyday situations.
If you are starting to learn Portuguese, I’m sure you’ve already come across um-dois-três. But if you need a little more help and a bit of vocabulary to add to your library, this article is perfect for you. By the time you finish reading, you’ll learn Portuguese numbers, and how to apply them to a number (no pun intended) of situations (date, time, counting, and so on). Let’s go!
Cardinal numbers (1-20)
First things first, do you know how to count to twenty in Portuguese? No? Then let me show you.
Below, you can see how the numbers are written in Portuguese and, in brackets, you can read their pronunciation (try reading them outloud, not only in your head):
0 – zero (zeh-ro)
1 – um (oon) or uma (oon-mah)
2 – dois (doy-z) or duas (doo-ahs)
3 – três (treh-z)
4 – quatro (kwah-troh)
5 – cinco (seen-koh)
6 – seis (say-z)
7 – sete (seh-chee)
8 – oito (oy-toh)
9 – nove (noh-veh)
10 – dez (deh-z)
11 – onze (ohn-zeh)
12 – doze (doh-zeh)
13 – treze (treh-zeh)
14 – catorze (kwah-tor-zeh)
15 – quinze (keen-zeh)
16 – dezesseis (deh-zeh-say-z)
17 – dezessete (deh-zeh-sai-teh)
18 – dezoito (deh-zoy-toh)
19 – dezenove (deh-zeh-noh-veh)
20 – vinte (veen-teh)
Heads-up! Although the numbers ending with the letter E should be pronounced with the ‘eh’ sound, most native speakers end up pronouncing them with the ‘ee’ sound.
Have you ever notice that the round numbers in English, from 20 to 90, all end with “ty”? The same happens in Portuguese, but for the round numbers 30 to 90. Also, instead of ending with a “ty”, they end with a “ta”.
30 – trinta (treen-tah)
40 – quarenta (kwah-ren-tah)
50 – cinquenta (seen-kwen-tah)
60 – sessenta (seh-sen-tah)
70 – setenta (seh-ten-tah)
80 – oitenta (oy-ten-tah)
90 – noventa (noh-ven-tah)
100 – cem (say-m) or cento (sen-toh)
Easy, right? What if you want to say the numbers in between, such as 23, 54, 78 or 139? Well, it’s simple: all you have to do is put together the numbers you’ve already learned with the word “e”, which means “and”.
This is how it’s done:
23 – vinte e três
54 – cinquenta e quatro
78 – setenta e oito
139 – cento e trinta e nove
In Portuguese, we don’t use a word like hundred, which is a bit tricky to get used to. The good news is that all you there’s a bit of a pattern you can still follow, as seen below:
200 – duzentos (doo-zen-tohs)
300 – trezentos (treh-zen-tohs)
400 – quatrocentos (kwah-troh-sen-tohs)
500 – quinhentos (kee-nyen-tohs)
600 – seiscentos (say-sen-tohs)
700 – setecentos (seh-teh-sen-tohs)
800 – oitocentos (oy-toh-sen-tohs)
900 – novecentos (noh-veh-sen-tohs)
Thousand and million, on the other hand, are easier. Mil and milhão. (they are pronounced ‘meal’ and ‘mee-lyee-aung’). Keep in mind that milhão, unlike it’s English counterpart, million, has a plural form. Check this out:
1,000 – um mil
2,000 – dois mil
3,000 – três mil
1,000,000 – um milhão
2,000,000 – dois milhões
3,000,000 – três milhões
Need to talk about the days of the month or find out which bus leaves first to the destination you want to go to? Then you’ll need to know Portuguese ordinal numbers. Here they are:
1st – primeiro (pree-mey-roh)
2nd – segundo (seh-goon-doh)
3rd – terceiro (ter-sey-roh)
4th – quarto (kwar-toh)
5th – quinto (keen-toh)
6th – sexto (say-eesh-toh)
7th – sétimo (seh-tee-moh)
8th – oitavo (oy-tah-voh)
9th – nono (noh-noh)
10th – décimo (deh-see-moh)
Since we are on the topic of numbers, how about we also learn how to tell the time and the dates? Let’s start with the time.
Que horas são? – What time is it?
To answer, all you have to do is read the numbers you see on the clock, adding them together by saying “e” in between.
Just remember that in Portuguese, the hour is a feminine noun.
São… – It’s…
9 o’clock – 9 horas
10:30 – dez e trinta
1:15 – uma e quinze
2:45 – duas e quarenta e cinco
6:20 – seis e vinte
8:50 – oito e cinquenta
A few useful tips regarding the time:
During noon, we say meio-dia and for midnight we say meia-noite.
It’s common to use the 24-hour format, since Portuguese doesn’t use AM and PM. One o’clock in the afternoon is 13 horas, two o’clock in the afternoon is 14 horas, and so on.
Whether it’s 7:55 or 10:50, you can say five to eight or ten to eleven, cinco pras oito or dez pras onze
Now, let’s talk about the dates. First of all, this is how you ask the date:
Que dia é hoje? – What’s the date today?
In Portuguese, we say the dates like the British do: day-month-year. We use the word “de”, which means of, to link all three into one sentence. For example:
May 1, 2017 – primeiro de maio de dois mil e dezessete
July 15, 2009 – quinze de julho de dois mil e nove
November 20, 1992 – vinte de novembro de mil novecentos e noventa e dois
And so on and so forth 🙂
Learn Portuguese on LingQ
If you’re serious about learning Portuguese and want to learn more than just numbers, then I’ve got some good news for you.
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LingQ’s beginner lessons have been professionally transcribed and recorded by native speakers, so you can learn from authentic content and hear how the words are properly pronounced. There’s so much more to LingQ and that’s why I recommend you check out this post on importing your own content into the app and turning it into a lesson.
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Ivy do Carmo is a Brazilian content writer and translator whose passion has always been learning and teaching the English language.