Hello everybody! If you are following the series of articles for beginners, at this time you already know some vocabulary and affirmative phrases structures. Now I will show you basic topics about Portuguese interrogative phrases.
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You already know about the structure for simple sentences in Portuguese. For interrogative sentences, the structure is the same, you just need to change the "." for the "?" ("ponto de interrogação" in Portuguese):
[subject pronoun] + verb + complement + ?
Você gosta de gatos? [Do you like cats?]
Você prefere maçãs ou bananas? [Do you prefer apples or bananas?]
Not a big deal right? Now let's see some interrogative words that are very common on our interrogative prhases. They work like in English, see:
por quê* [why]
quanto* [how much]
Let's see some examples:
Quem fez o almoço? [Who prepared the lunch?]
Qual das frutas preferes? [Which fruit do you prefer?]
Quantas pessoas estão na festa? [How many people are at the party?]
Quando posso te ver? [When can I see you?]
Você sabe como tudo aconteceu? [Do you know how it all happened?]
I Know what you thought when you saw the asterisks in the list above: "Lota of exeptions huh?"... This time I have no exception for you, but i have some observations:
I guess you noticed that sometimes people write "por que", "porque", "por quê" and "porquê". It's a long history... So I recommend this article for you: The Important Differences Between POR QUE, POR QUÊ, PORQUE and PORQUÊ
"Quanto" and "Qual" must vary according to the number and gender of the nouns that they are follwing.
See these examples:
Qual é a vantagem deste trabalho? [What is the benefit of this work?]
Quais são as vantagens deste trabalho? [What are the benefits of this work?]
Quanto dinheiro será necessário? [How much money will be needed?]
Quanta mão de obra será necessária? [How much labor will be needed?]
Quantos empregados serão necessários? [How many male employees will be needed?]
Quantas empregadas serão necessárias? [How many female employees will be needed?]
Another important consideration is about "Que". For example, a correct phrase would be: "Que comeremos agora?" [What we are going to eat now?]. This phrase is very common in Portugal, but in Brazil people use to say "O que comeremos agora?". This second form is grammatically wrong, but people talk like this all the time. And things are not so easy... in some situations people don't use this article "O" when use "Que" interrogatives. For example phrases like "Que comunicado ele pretende fazer?" [What communication does he intend to make?] is widely used in Brazil.