the (masculine singular)o
the (masculine plural)os
the (feminine singular)a
the (feminine plural)as

Note: The use of the definite article in Portuguese largely corresponds to the use of ‘the’ in English, although there are a number of important differences.

  • With nouns used in a general sense
  • With the names of languages, except after verbs closely associated with languages, such as falar ‘speak’, entender ‘understand’, aprender ‘learn’, estudar ‘study’, etc.
  • With the names of most countri
  • With titles when accompanied by a proper name
  • With proper names,
  • In numerical expressions,
  • With the names of meals and seasons,
  • With the names of companies, shops, bars, restaurants, streets, TV networks and channels, computer programs, sports teams, etc.
  • Before the possessive adjectives (meu, teu, seu, nosso, etc.)


a or an (masculine)um
some (masculine plural)um
a or an (feminine)uma
some (feminine)umas

The indefinite article (English ‘a’, ‘an’) also has distinct forms for masculine and feminine in Portuguese. Unlike English, the indefinite article also has plural forms corresponding to English ‘some’, is used to designate non-specific nouns, with which it agrees in gender and number.

Note: Although uns and umas can be considered the plural of the indefinite article, the true plural of a noun + indefinite article in Portuguese is that noun in its plural form, standing alone. Uns and umas actually convey the meaning of ‘some’ or alguns/algumas.

Contractions of the definite articles with prepositions

The definite article can be contracted with the prepositions a (to), e (of, from), em (at, in, on) and por (by, for, through) as follows

Preposition de + article, meaning ‘in’, ‘’s’, ’, ‘of’, ‘from’

  • de + o = do > O melhor do mundo! The best in the world!
  • de + a = da > O livro da Manuela Manuela’s book
  • de + os = dos > O teor dos discursos… The content of the speeches…
  • de + as = das > Ela é das Ilhas Gregas. She is from the Greek islands.

Preposition em + article, meaning ‘on’, ‘at’, ‘about’, ‘of’, ‘in’, ‘into’:

  • em + o = no > O saco está no banco. The bag is on the bench.
  • em + a = na > Eu ando na universidade. I am at university.
  • em + os = nos > Ele pensa sempre nos filhos. He always thinks of/about his children.
  • em + as = nas > Já viste nas gavetas? Have you checked in the drawers?

Preposition a + article, meaning ‘on’, ‘to’, ‘at’:

  • a + o = ao > Ele está ao telefone. He is on the phone.
  • a + a = à > A minha avó vai à missa todos os domingos. My grandmother goes to mass every Sunday.
  • a + os = aos > Já enviámos as encomendas aos clientes. We have already sent the parcels to our clients.
  • a + as = às > O jantar de gala é às nove da noite. The gala dinner is at 9 p.m.

Contractions of the indefinite articles with prepositions

Preposition em + indefinite article, meaning ‘on a’, ‘in a’, ‘into such’:

  • em + um = num > Ele sentou-se num banco. He sat on a bench.
  • em + uma = numa > Ponha o bolo numa caixa, por favor. Put the cake in a box, please.
  • em + uns = nuns > O artigo usa-se nuns casos e omite-se noutros. The article is used in some cases and omitted in others.0
  • em + umas = numas > Meti-me numas embrulhadas! I got into such trouble!