The verb form shown in dictionaries is the infinitive, e.g. falar corresponding to English ‘to speak’. The infinitive of virtually all Portuguese verbs ends in either -ar, -er or -ir. This ending immediately shows which conjugation (category of verb) the verb belongs to and which conjugation pattern it follows.

A number of verbs cannot be classified according to the above categorization and are irregular in their conjugation.

1. Conjugation
verbs ending in -ar Falar (to speak)
verbs ending in -er Beber (to drink)
Verbs ending in -ir Assistir (to Watch)
2. Moods
Indicative sed to express a sure fact.
Subjunctive used to express an unsure or possible fact, a wish, expresses doubts and hypotheses. It is also linked to the idea of commands, wishing, feeling and necessity. It normally appears in subordinate or dependent clauses.
Imperative used to express a command, a wish or an advice.
3. Tenses
In Portuguese, a tense can be called simple tense or compound tense. A simple tense consists of only one verb, that is, the main verb while a compound tense consists of two verbs, that is, an auxiliary verb and the main verb.
The main auxiliary verbs used in Portuguese to form compound tenses are estar (to be, used to form continuous tenses); ir (to go, used to form the future tense); ter (to have, used to form perfect tenses) and ser (to be, used to form the passive voice).
To form the simple tenses of regular verbs, remove (-) or add (+) the ending of the Infinitive (-ar, -er, -ir). Add the endings shown below to the stem of the verb.
  1. Eu
  2. Ele/Ela/Você
  3. Nós
  4. Eles/Elas/Vocês
-ar ending verb-er ending verb-ir ending verb
Present IndicativeMeanings: Action in the present
Imperfect IndicativeMeanings: (a) Past action of a certain duration; (b) Frequency or habit; (c) Two simultaneous actions; (d) When describing background action and an incident; (e) Polite request (in the sense of ‘would’ or ‘could’); (f) Replacing the Conditional tense
Preterite IndicativeMeanings: (a) Completed action in the past; (b) When describing background action and an incident, the Preterite is always used to express the incident
Present SubjunctiveMeanings: (a) Actions referring to a present situation; (b) Actions referring to a future situation
Imperfect SubjunctiveImperfect Subjunctive Note: The Imperfect Subjunctive is always used in subordinate or dependent clauses.
Meanings: (a) actions referring to a present or future situation, or even to a habitual situation in the past; (b) actions referring to a past situation
Future SubjunctiveMeanings: Eventuality of a future action
FutureMeanings: (a) Future action, either definite or most probable; (b) Uncertainty about present facts, usually expressed through a question
ConditionalMeanings: (a) Uncertainty about past facts; (b) Polite request implying wishing; (c) Condition of a fact that probably will not happen
-ar ending Verbs: -ado -er Verbs: -ido -ir Verbs: -ido
Present Perfect: Present tense “Ter” + Past participle main verb
Pluperfect: Imperfect tense “Ter” + Past participle main verb
Future Perfect: Future tense “Ter” + Past participle main verb
Conditional Perfect: Imperfect tense “Ter” + Past participle main verb